Sunday night’s 69th Emmy Awards may go down as the most political in show history. From a Sean Spicer cameo, to Stephen Colbert’s opening monologue and acceptance speeches with subtle impeachment jokes, the evening did not disappoint.
Although the Emmys occasionally felt more like a President Trump mock-a-thon than a program highlighting television’s achievements, the audience loved it, at least in the moment. And, despite reports of one of the lowest Emmy ratings in history, television still managed to shine. Here are the biggest upsets and triumphs of the night.
After another great season, HBO’s Veep took home the gold for Outstanding Comedy Series, while Julia Louis Dreyfus won her sixth consecutive award for her role as Selina Meyer in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category. This historic win makes Dreyfus’ streak the new Emmy record to beat.
Game of Thrones’ absence in the drama categories, due to its unusually late premiere date, opened spots for one of the night’s biggest winners, The Handmaid’s Tale. Taking home eight Emmy awards including three within the acting categories and one for Outstanding Drama Series, The Handmaid’s Tale, makes Hulu the streaming champion of last night — meaning Amazon and Netflix were two of the biggest losers of the night.
In light of the Trump-themed evening, Saturday Night Live‘s politically charged season earned the series 22 Emmy nods. The long-running sketch series took home nine awards including best Variety Sketch Series, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, which Kate McKinnon won presumably for impersonation of Hillary Clinton, and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, which Alec Baldwin won for his portrayal of Trump. Dave Chappelle won a guest actor award, as did Melissa McCarthy for her portrayal of Sean Spicer.
Despite the absence of their biggest Emmy contender, HBO shined not only with Veep but also Big Little Lies and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Big Little Lies took home awards for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series and numerous acting accolades, while Last Week Tonight won awards for Best Variety Talk Series and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series.
For the first time in 19 years, a black actor took home the win for Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Sterling K. Brown from This is Us. Donald Glover also had a historic win for Best Comedy Director and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. This is the first time in history that a black actor has won the Best Comedy Director award.
Lena Waithe became the first black woman to win the award for Best Comedy Writing for her work with Aziz Ansari on Master of None, while Riz Ahmed of The Night Of became the first Muslim and Asian actor to win an acting Emmy.
Besides Trump and the Emmy Awards Show ratings, some of the biggest losers of the night included Westworld, FX and Black-ish, among others. However, political humor and recognition of shows that highlighted both women and diversity made this year’s Emmy Awards a milestone.