Emmy Awards fall flat without host, make history with award winners



The 2019 Emmy Awards had a diverse winner pool, which included the cast of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” The popular drama became the most decorated fictional series of all time.

Margaret Dougherty, Contributing Writer

The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards were held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and premiered live on Fox on Sept. 22. Following the trend set by the Oscars, the network chose not to have a host for the evening.

The 20 minutes usually devoted to an opening monologue were used to celebrate popular shows that aired their final seasons. The casts of “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” took the stage and watched a farewell video that also paid tribute to “Broad City,” “House of Cards” and “The Big Bang Theory.”

Without the structure provided by a host, the show had multiple missteps and awkward moments. Nick Cannon and Ken Jeong partnered up for an uncomfortable shtick about the app Tik-Tok. There were inconsistent musical cues without an orchestra, and comedian Thomas Lennon’s snarky commentary was a bizarre addition.

Although Fox missed the mark on certain aspects of the show, the “biggest night in television” still celebrated the outstanding talent in the industry and provided several historic moments.

As expected, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” had a big night after its eighth and final season, winning best drama series and outstanding supporting actor for Peter Dinklage. In addition, the show picked up ten more awards at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, securing its place as the most decorated fictional series of all time.

HBO had multiple other notable winners, including “Chernobyl” for best limited series and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” for outstanding variety series, which won for the fourth time in a row. In addition, Bill Hader achieved his second consecutive award for lead actor in a comedy series for his titular role in “Barry.”

The Amazon Original “Fleabag” and its creator and star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, had a remarkably successful night. Despite coming in as an underdog, the show won best comedy, best writing and best directing. Waller-Bridge also came away with the prize for lead actress in a comedy series, a fitting end after she announced the second season of “Fleabag” would be its last.

Netflix had a less victorious night than usual but still racked up some wins. The ground-breaking interactive film “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” won for the best television movie and  Jason Bateman won best directing for a drama series for “Ozark.”

Director Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us,” a miniseries about the conviction and exoneration of the Central Park Five, lost for best limited series. Luckily, Jharrel Jerome won for lead actor in a limited series and thanked the actual Central Park Five who were in the audience.

Billy Porter made history as the first openly gay man to win lead actor in a drama series for his work on the FX show “Pose.” He spoke about the responsibility of artists to spread love and truth through their work. Patricia Arquette, winner of lead actress in a limited series for “The Act,” provided another powerful moment when she used her acceptance speech to shine awareness on transgender rights after losing her sister Alexis, a transgender activist and actress, in 2016.

Despite the unconventional format, the 2019 Emmy Awards was an entertaining show for television fans. A diverse group of deserving winners were awarded, leaving audiences eagerly awaiting the future of such an exciting television landscape.