Still got it
Welcome back to TV's biggest night: the Primetime Emmys! For the first time since 2003, the Emmys went host-less. The format seemed to work for other award shows (the 2019 Oscars come to mind), but did it work with the Emmys? (Two former hosts say nope!) Did Julia Louis-Dreyfus continue her domination and set a record for the most Emmy wins of any performer? (We now have our answer: No.) Many expected "Game of Thrones" to rule the show, but did it? (Not exactly, though it did take home the best drama prize at the end of the night.) Plus, what fashion trends did we see this year? (Answer: An unexpectedly popular color combo ruled the red carpet.) Wonderwall.com has the rundown on what was buzzing at the 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 22, 2019, starting with a comedy star who's still got it at 90… Bob Newhart is alive and well, in case you forgot. The Emmys tried to flex its comedy muscles a bit when Ben Stiller spoke about different eras of TV, fawning over wax figures of icons George Burns and Lucille Ball. He then approached Bob Newhart (the real one) and said, "You wonder what he would think of TV today." Bob let Ben know that he's not dead. "I know that," Ben said. Bob shot back, "I don't think so. You put me with George and Lucy in this weird wax museum." The back and forth was fun, but Bob makes everything fun! He's a legend! He also got the last laugh, telling Ben, "I hated you, by the way, in 'Tropic Thunder.'"
The huge triumph that was also a major upset
It was a major triumph that was also a major upset: Phoebe Waller-Bridge was this year's Emmys darling: The lauded British actress, writer and producer won her first Emmy — and her second — in the show's first hour. By the end of the night, she was shouting, "Now this is just getting ridiculous!" as she accepted Emmy No. 3 for best comedy series. "Look at her!" Phoebe said as she was handed the gold trophy for outstanding writing for a comedy series for her work penning the dark comedy "Fleabag." Minutes later — after "Fleabag" director Harry Bradbeer won an Emmy for best directing — Phoebe was on stage again, this time to accept the best actress in a comedy award. That prize was particularly notable as the victory ended "Veep" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus's winning streak in the category (had she earned it, she'd have gone seven-for-seven for her acting work on "Veep"). Phoebe's win over Julia also means that the "Seinfeld" alum did not surpass Cloris Leachman — they're currently tied with eight acting Emmys each — as the most honored Emmy performer in history. (At least not this year!)
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"Game of Thrones" wins big, ties own record
HBO's "Game of Thrones" led the Emmys with a record-breaking 32 nominations this year (the most nods in a single year for any comedy or drama) for its eighth and final season. It won 12 of those including 10 technical awards (such as best costume design and sound editing) at the previous week's Creative Arts Emmys. But it only took home two awards during the Primetime Emmys telecast itself on Sept. 22 — best supporting actor for Peter Dinklage, and best drama series. Some might call it a disappointment, but the series did tie its own record for most Emmys won by a series in a single season — not exactly a bad way to end its reign.
Felicity Huffman wasn't at the Emmys, but she was the butt of an Emmys joke. As part of the show, comedian Thomas Lennon offered commentary before commercial breaks and after wins were announced. About an hour into the show, he made reference to the actress, who was sentenced to 14 days in prison for her role in a college admissions bribery scandal. "The producers have asked me to give a special shout-out to our previous lead actress winners who are watching from prison. Keep your chin up," he said, adding, "Hopefully those two weeks are going to fly right by." Twitter had mixed reactions about the "Reno 911" star's jokes in general. Many of his barbs were sharp and witty, while others seemed tone deaf (he joked after winner Patricia Arquette honored her late sister, Alexis Arquette, in her speech, for example).
Red-and-pink dresses rule the red carpet
Hallmark Valentine's Day display or Emmys red carpet? Several stars donned red-and-pink looks as they arrived at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on Sept. 22, delivering one of the night's biggest and most unexpected trends. Susan Kelechi Watson, Marisa Tomei, Mandy Moore (in custom Brandon Maxwell) and Taraji P. Henson are among those who donned the love-ly color combo.
First-time Emmy winners
Some major names nabbed their very first Emmys, and they did it in some major categories (some on their first try!) at the 2019 show. "Pose" star Billy Porter made history as the first openly gay black man to win an Emmy for best lead actor in a drama — and he did it on his first nomination. Jason Bateman won for best directing for a drama series for his work on "Ozark" (it was his seventh Emmy nod in various categories). "Ozark" actress Julia Garner won her first Emmy — for best supporting actress in a drama series – in just one nomination. Michelle Williams took home her first piece of Emmy hardware too, for her work on "Fosse/Verdon." Young Jharrel Jerome was a first-time winner for his work on "When They See Us." Ben Whishaw took home his first Emmy — for best supporting actor in a limited series or movie for "A Very English Scandal" — after just a single nomination. And British actress Jodie Comer earned her first Emmy — for best lead actress in a drama — and was about as shocked as anyone. She apologized to her mum and dad while accepting her award: "I'd like to thank my parents who I didn't invite because I didn't think it was my time."
So, is this an official reconciliation? Ben Stiller and wife Christine Taylor split in 2017 but over the last several months there have been murmurs of a possible reconciliation, especially after they were spotted holding hands in April at a performance of "Pretty Woman: The Musical" in New York City. Adding fuel to the fire, the two attended the Emmys together on Sept. 22. So, are you officially back on, guys?
Pay parity callback
Michelle Williams = Emmy winner. It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? The actress took home her first Emmy — for lead actress in a limited series or movie for her performance on "Fosse/Verdon." Her speech resonated with the audience. "I see this as an example of what's possible when a woman is trusted and feels safe enough to voice her needs and is respected enough to be heard," she said. "Thank you so much to FX for paying me equally. Because they understood that when you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value. And where do they put that value? They put it into their work. The next time a woman, especially a woman of color, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterparts, tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her. Believe her. Because one day, she might stand in front of you and say thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it." She dedicated her new hardware to her 13-year-old daughter with late actor Heath Ledger: "Matilda," she said, "this is for you, like everything else." Michelle's comments on pay parity come more than a year and a half after it was revealed that the four-time Oscar nominee was paid eight times less than co-star Mark Wahlberg for her work on "All the Money in the World."
Purple is the new… red? TV's biggest stars (like Emmy nominee Laverne Cox, pictured) usually walk a red carpet at the Emmy Awards, but this year's rug was a different shade on the color wheel — purple! That wasn't by mistake. According to "Good Day L.A." anchor Rita Garcia, the Television Academy chose the color specifically to evoke a royalty vibe this year. "What do you think of when you think of that color?" Rita said on her show's Twitter account. "It's royalty. They're honoring this year's Hollywood and television royalty. That's what this is all about."
Hating on the no-host Emmys
The hosts fight back! Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel are not fans of a no-host Emmys. The late night TV hosts — who've both emceed the EMmys in recent years — took to the stage to let their feelings be known (all in good fun). "How's that no-host thing going for you," Stephen said. Jimmy added, "What a dumb idea… You know who has a host? Applebee's, Applebee's has a host." Back to Stephen: "This show sucks." The faux anger was fun, and it worked. "If we let this slide, next thing they'll do is have Alexa announce the nominees," Stephen said. And guess what happened? Yep. Alexa chimed in and read the nominees and the winner for best lead actress in a comedy series (that would be Phoebe Waller-Bridge).
All the feels. While Halsey sang a stripped-down version of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," the TV community remembered those they lost over the past year, images of John Singleton, Doris Day, Kristoff St. John, Luke Perry, Penny Marshall, Valerie Harper, Cameron Boyce, Rip Torn, Tim Conway, Peter Fonda, Stan Lee and dozens more flashing across the screen. So long, old friends. All gone, but certainly not forgotten.
He's baaaaa-aaack! For the first time in years, Billy Bush is back at the Emmys. Billy, of course, was almost radioactive after that infamous interview with Donald Trump went viral in 2016 (you know, the "grab 'em by the p—- tape) — he lost his job on the "Today" show. Billy, though, has rebounded and is now the new host of "Extra." There's huge buzz about Billy's return to the red carpet. Billy, by the way, told Variety that he thought he'd be back on the red carpet eventually. "I put my head down and came back and went hard at work," he said, adding that the response to his TV return has been "fantastic."
Patricia Arquette gave a touching tribute to her late sister, Alexis Arquette, while accepting the Emmy for best supporting actress in a limited series or movie for her work on "The Act." Though thrilled to win the award — "I just have to say I'm grateful to be working at 50 and to be getting the best parts of my life," she said — Patricia was also struggling with her emotions. "In my heart, I'm so sad," she said while fighting back tears. "I lost my sister, Alexis. And that trans people are still being persecuted. And I'm in mourning every day of my life, Alexis. And I will be for the rest of my life, for you, until we change the world so that trans people are not persecuted." She continued, "Give them jobs. They're human beings. Let's give them jobs. Let's get rid of the bias that we have everywhere."
"This Is Us" male stars buck sartorial tradition
Who needs a traditional black tuxedo? Not the stars of "This Is Us"! The four male leads all showed up on the Emmys red carpet wearing colorful suits instead of classic attire — Chris Sullivan in a black, white and green plaid suit with white satin lapels and matching green eyeglasses; Sterling K. Brown in a rusty red-and-black Brioni ensemble with Carrera sunglasses; and Milo Ventimiglia in a sand-colored velvet tuxedo jacket with black lapels and black tux trousers by Brunello Cucinelli; and Justin Hartley in a bold blue tuxedo. Nicely done, gentlemen.
Men of the night
Some of the biggest names of the Emmys? Five guys who were imprisoned for a crime they didn't commit. Those men are also known as the Exonerated Five (formerly known as the Central Park Five). The men who inspired Ava DuVernay's Netflix show "When They See Us" — Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana Jr., Korey Wise and Yusef Salaam — were on hand to see Jharrel Jerome win an Emmy for his portrayal of Korey in the project. Jharrel got emotional during his speech, thanking his mother, co-stars and those five men in the audience. "This is for the men that we know as the Exonerated Five," he said as the men stood up and cheered loudly. "Thank you so much. It's an honor. It's a blessing."
Who needs a host when you've got Homer Simpson, right? OK, so Homer was temporarily the 2019 Emmys host at the top of the telecast, but then he was "rescued" by Anthony Anderson. After a video showed Homer getting hit with a piano, Anthony got up from his seat to save the show. During his bit, he took jabs at "Game of Thrones" (Starbucks cup, anyone?), stole Emmys with his mom and took pictures. Then Bryan Cranston took over to speak about the state of TV… Bizarre, but it had its moments.
Third time's the charm
Milo Ventimiglia's parents are finally supporting their son at the Emmys. While chatting with Jimmy Kimmel on this late night show last month, the "This Is Us" star (and best actor in a drama series Emmy nominee for the third year in a row) said his parents declined his previous two invitations to the award show. This year, though, they agreed to join him and even walked the red carpet with their famous son. What was different this year? Jimmy basically guilted Peter and Carol Ventimiglia into attending! "You embarrassed us," Peter told Jimmy. On E!'s Emmys red carpet pre-show, Milo made it clear his folks' reluctance to go didn't mean they weren't supportive. "They've always been supportive of me," he said. Added his dad: "We are very proud."
A dirty dilemma
Rachel Brosnahan was up for best lead actress in a comedy series for her work on "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" again, and despite winning the award last year, she thought she'd be a long shot tonight. Maybe that's for the best, because she doesn't really have room for another Emmy. The trophy she won last year sits on her toilet. Yep, ON HER TOILET! "I live in New York," she told E!'s red carpet pre-show. "I don't have a lot of shelf space." Clearly, the girl is feeling flushed.
"Queer Eye" co-star is proud of Jonathan Van Ness after big reveal
Jonathan Van Ness wasn't at the Emmys but he was on the mind of his "Queer Eye" co-stars following the grooming expert's big reveal over Emmys weekend that he's HIV positive. "I am incredibly proud of him. I think it took a tremendous amount of courage and vulnerability [to go public], and he knows I'm his No. 1 fan and will continue to be," Antoni Porowski told Variety on the Emmys red carpet, which he walked with their other co-stars. After Jonathan's reveal — he writes about his HIV status as well as being a sexual abuse survivor and drug addict in new book "Over the Top," which comes out on Sept. 24 — Antoni commented on social media, "Love you proud of you."
Best or worst black-tie accessory?
And the award for the least-wanted show accessory goes to… Mario Lopez. The "Saved By The Bell" star and "Access" co-host attended the Emmys wearing a sling on his right arm, a necessity while he recovers from bicep surgery. Mario announced on Sept. 18 that he tore his bicep while sparring but called the surgery a "success." On Emmys Sunday after hitting the red carpet, Mario posted a pic on Instagram: "Busted up but I made it," he wrote, adding the hashtag #NoExcuses.