The 2016 Emmys brought laughs, cheers, and a lot of tears to ABC on Sunday night.
Host Jimmy Kimmel tried to keep things lively, but many of the acceptance speeches from Saturday Night Live‘s Kate McKinnon, Veep‘s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and the like were beautifully heart wrenching.
If there was a dry eye watching at home, there wasn’t by the time the in memoriam tribute reel screened: Tori Kelly covered Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” while the Emmys paid homage to Hollywood’s fallen stars.
Here are the most emotional moments from the awards ceremony.
1. Kate McKinnon’s tearful acceptance speech
After three previous Emmy nominations, Saturday Night Live comedienne Kate McKinnon finally took home a statuette for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series — and it was an overwhelming moment. “I’m really crying. I’m not making it up,” she said. “Thank you to Lorne Michaels for giving me the job of my life. Thank you to my amazing collegues, the cast and writers.”
2. Sterling K. Brown pays tribute to parents and wife
While accepting his award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series for The People v. O.J. Simpson, Sterling K. Brown teared up after thanking his parents for their support. “There’s a lot of people in St. Louis making a lot of noise right now. Mama, I can hear you. I love you,” he said. “Sterling K. Brown Jr., I changed what people called me to age 16 so I could hear your name every day of my life. I love you, daddy.”
He also thanked his wife, of course, saying, “I got the hottest chick in the game rocking my chain.”
3. Patton Oswalt honors late wife
Patton Oswalt’s wife, Michelle McNamara, died in April at the age of 46, and Oswalt paid her tribute during his acceptance speech for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series. “I want to share this with two people. My daughter Alice who is waiting at home. And the other one is waiting somewhere else, I hope,” he said.
4. Julia Louis-Dreyfus fights through tears
In the past, Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus brought out the laughs during her Emmys acceptance speeches. While she did toss in some jokes about the presidential race this year, she took a moment to mention her father, who died on Friday. Holding back tears, she said, “I’m so glad he liked Veep because his opinion was the one that really mattered.”
5. Sarah Paulson honors the real Marcia Clark
Sarah Paulson won an Emmy for her performance of Marcia Clark on The People vs. O.J. Simpson, and she took a moment to thank and apologize to the real Clark, who was sitting in the audience. The actress noted how she and “the rest of the world” were “superficial and careless” in their judgements of her. “I am glad to be able to stand here today in front of everyone and tell you I’m sorry,” she said.
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6. The in memoriam tribute
Prince, Doris Roberts, Garry Shandling, Anton Yelchin, and Muhammad Ali are some of the celebrities who died this past year. Accompanied by a tearjerking introduction from Henry Winkler and a performance from Tori Kelly, the Emmys in memoriam video paid homage to those names and more.
7. Jill Soloway and Jeffrey Tambor’s pleas
Transparent is no stranger to the Emmys, but during this year’s acceptance speeches, creator Jill Soloway and actor Jeffrey Tambor made pleas to continue the fight for LGBTQ rights and giving transgender actors a shot at roles.
“[Directing] is a privilege and it also creates privilege when you take women women, people of color, trans people, queer people and you put them at the center of a story, the subjects instead of the objects,” Soloway said, later declaring, “We need to stop violence against trans women.”
Before leaving the stage during his speech, Tambor said, “I’m not going to say this beautifully: to you people out there… please give transgender talent a chance. Give them auditions. Give them their story.”