March 24, 2023

Emmys Briefing: Emmys 2018: ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Win Big Awards

HBO and Netflix tied for the total number of Emmys won, with 23 awards each, including the statuettes given out at the Creative Emmy Awards earlier this month.

“Game of Thrones” had the biggest haul, with nine total awards, just ahead of Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and NBC’s enduring sketch series “Saturday Night Live,” which won eight apiece.

For Netflix, the 2018 Emmys represented a triumph. But the result came as a relief to HBO, which can now say that it has technically finished in first place among all broadcast and cable networks for 17 years running.

The rest of HBO’s awards were spread among several shows in acting categories, including wins for Henry Winkler (“Barry”), Bill Hader (“Barry”), Thandie Newton (“Westworld”) and Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”).

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Dinklage called out the show’s creators, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, saying: “Thank you Dave and Dan for changing my life. I cannot walk down the street anymore.”

“The Americans,” the FX spy drama that concluded earlier this year, won two awards, including best actor in a drama for Matthew Rhys. The FX drama had won only two Emmys across its previous five seasons, but voters decided to give it some love on its way out, as they had with “The Sopranos” and “Breaking Bad.”

Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth on “The Crown,” won for best lead actress in a drama, her last chance to win for that role before ceding it to Olivia Colman as the show moves deeper into the 1960s. Earlier this month, “The Crown” won best cast in a drama at the Creative Arts Emmys.


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Netflix spent handsomely on Emmy campaigning this year, opening a space in Hollywood to showcase its fare and advertising on billboards along the Sunset Strip. But it wasn’t the only company to hype its wares. So-called For Your Consideration events — panel discussions where voters have access to stars, canapés and booze — filled the schedules of the more than 23,000 members of the Television Academy in the run-up to the ceremony.

Last year, there were 61 academy-sanctioned events in Los Angeles and New York during Emmy campaigning season. This year, that number ballooned to 116, according to a spokesman for the academy.

[Where to stream the 2018 Emmy winning shows]

Lorne Michaels and the ‘S.N.L.’ Effect

Colin Jost and Michael Che, the anchors of Weekend Update on “Saturday Night Live,” hosted the show. Credit Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Lorne Michaels, the 73-year-old impresario behind “Saturday Night Live” and NBC’s late-night lineup, also had a big night. Not only did he leave the Microsoft Theater with the Emmy for best variety sketch series, he also produced the broadcast for NBC. It was his second time at the helm, having last overseen the Emmys broadcast in 1988, when the “Dynasty” star John Forsythe was the host.

NBC hoped that the hosts, Colin Jost and Michael Che, the anchors of Weekend Update on “S.N.L.,” would help reverse a trend of plummeting awards show ratings.

In addition to giving the hosting job to Mr. Jost and Mr. Che, Mr. Michaels recruited a number of current and former “S.N.L.” cast members. The show began with a satirical musical number on Hollywood’s diversity problem, led by two stalwarts of the show, Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon.

From left, Kristen Bell, Tituss Burgess and Kate McKinnon performing the opening number. Credit Kevin Winter/Getty Images

“Yup, we solved it!” Mr. Thompson exclaimed.

Andy Samberg and RuPaul joined in, along with a group of Broadway-style hoofers identified as the One of Each Dancers.

Mr. Che and Mr. Jost followed the musical segment. In their opening remarks, they made only veiled references to the Trump presidency, which had been a staple of onstage remarks at the last Emmys ceremony, and to the #MeToo movement.

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In a taped segment midway through the broadcast, the show returned to diversity as a theme, with Mr. Che handing out “reparations Emmys” to black actors from past shows, including Jimmie Walker and John Witherspoon.

The focus on diversity became ironic as the night wore on, with one white person after another delivering acceptance speeches. Before the ceremony was done, there were victories for actors and performers of color — including Regina King, for the Netflix limited series “Seven Seconds”; Ms. Newton, for her work on HBO’s “Westworld”; and RuPaul, of VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” — but the great majority of winners did not reflect the night’s theme.


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The “S.N.L.” influence held fast throughout the night, with Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen, stars of a new Amazon show, “Forever,” appearing in a series of awkward-on-purpose sketches and an out-of-breath Will Ferrell presenting the award for best comedy series.

In a way, it was surprising to see the New York-based “S.N.L.” front and center at the Emmys. The Television Academy, the main body behind the awards, has looked askance at the show for most of its 43-year run. But that has changed, with “S.N.L.” having won half of its 62 Emmys in the past five years.

For all of Mr. Michaels’s efforts to showcase performers he has worked with, perhaps the show’s most memorable moment came thanks to Glenn Weiss, the director of the 2018 Oscars broadcast. Mr. Weiss, who won in the category of best director for a variety special, proposed to his girlfriend, Jan Svendsen, from the stage. (She said yes.)

‘Mrs. Maisel’ wins big in comedy

The cast and crew of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” onstage at the 70th Emmy Awards. Credit Kevin Winter/Getty Images

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” a series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino about a housewife who tries her luck as a comedian in 1950s New York, had a big night, taking five awards, including best comedy series.

It was the first time Amazon had won a top show award at the Emmys, and the first time a streaming service had taken the best comedy award.

Rachel Brosnahan, who plays the show’s title character, won for best actress in a comedy, the first new winner in that category in seven years. (With HBO’s “Veep” sidelined this year, Julia Louis-Dreyfus hit the pause button on her record-breaking Emmy run.) Ms. Sherman-Palladino won for directing and writing, in addition to the best comedy series award. And Alex Borstein, who plays Mrs. Maisel’s manager, took the award for best supporting actress.

The triumph of “Mrs. Maisel” was a blow to the avant-garde FX comedy “Atlanta,” a critical favorite. Donald Glover, the show’s star and creator, took the prize for best actor in a comedy last year. This time, he lost out to Mr. Hader, who plays a hit man trying to make it as an actor in “Barry.”

Slide Show

Emmys Red Carpet Photos 2018

CreditJordan Strauss/Invision, via Associated Press

In another win for “Barry,” Mr. Winkler, 72, took hold of his first Emmy, for his role as a well-intentioned but cheesy acting coach. Mr. Winkler, who attained lunchbox-level stardom in the 1970s as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli on the ABC sitcom “Happy Days,” had been nominated five times before. Before thanking his co-workers and family members, he noted that he had written his acceptance speech “43 years ago.”


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In the late-night battle, John Oliver’s weekly HBO show, “Last Week Tonight,” took the best variety talk category for a third year in a row, besting his former colleague at Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert, the host of “The Late Show” on CBS.

#MeToo Goes Missing

Hannah Gadsby presenting best director for a drama series. Credit Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

In the last year, many TV stars, including Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Louis C.K. and Mark Halperin have been forced out after facing allegations of sexual misconduct. Earlier this month, the #MeToo movement reached into the corporate side of the business when multiple accusations of sexual misconduct led to the ouster of the CBS president and chief executive Leslie Moonves.

But the issue was largely absent from this year’s ceremony, with no one mentioning Mr. Moonves from the stage.

Hannah Gadsby, the Australian comedian who created a sensation with her Netflix special “Nanette,” made jokes about men — “Nobody knows what jokes are, especially men. Am I right, fellas? That’s why I’m presenting alone.” — without directly addressing the #MeToo movement.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Che broached the topic, welcoming “the many, many talented people in Hollywood who haven’t been caught yet.”

With President Trump still deeply unpopular in Hollywood, the hosts, presenters and winners referred to him only in veiled terms, if at all, which stood in contrast to this event in each of the last two years.

Mr. Che and Mr. Jost did not invoke his name in their opening remarks. And most winners stayed away from third rail political fare.

Correction: September 18, 2018

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misidentified the actress Thandie Newton. She is British, not American.

Correction: September 18, 2018

An earlier version of this article misidentified the award presented by Will Ferrell. It was the award for best comedy series, not the final award, which was for best dramatic series.

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