Jimmy Kimmel Opens the Show
This year’s host, Jimmy Kimmel, opened the night with a monologue that called out annual no-show Maggie Smith (“She’s Downton absent is what she is”) and poked fun at Hollywood’s diversity problem (“Here in Hollywood, the only thing we value more than diversity is congratulating ourselves on how much we value diversity”) — but he had to make it to the show first. Before he took the stage of the Microsoft Theater and kicked off the ceremony, we saw a pre-taped sequence in which Kimmel traveled to the show by hitching a ride with Modern Family’s Dunphys, Veep’s Selina Meyer’s presidential motorcade (chauffeured by none other than Jeb Bush), and James Corden, who belted “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” with Kimmel before kicking the Emmy host out of his car as punishment for his unforgivably bad carpool karaoke-ing. After Kimmel said a prayer to the great TV goddess (Oprah), Game of Thrones’ Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen swooped down on one of her dragons and transported him the rest of the way (but not before scorching Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet).
Kate McKinnon's Emotional Win
Saturday Night Live star and Ghostbusters breakout Kate McKinnon won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her various hilarious roles on SNL. An emotional McKinnon, in a bright red dress, shook as she accepted the award: “I am really crying,” she said, “I’m not making it up.” She thanked Ellen DeGeneres and Hillary Clinton (both of whom she impersonates on SNL), and the Democratic presidential nominee tweeted her congratulations. “On a personal note, thank you to my beautiful and hilarious mother and sister,” McKinnon concluded, “and to my father, who’s not with us anymore, but he made me start watching SNL when I was 12. I miss you, Pop.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus Continues Her Hot Streak
To no one’s surprise, Julia Louis-Dreyfus won the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the fifth year in a row — yes, you read that right, she has won five consecutive Emmys for her hilarious work on Veep. Louis-Dreyfus thanked the Academy, HBO, and the various people who work on the show — many of whom she says she “tricked” into it. “I’d also like to take this opportunity to personally apologize for the current political climate,” she added. “I think that Veep has torn down the wall between comedy and politics. Our show started out as a political satire, but it now feels like a sobering documentary. So I certainly do promise to rebuild that wall — and make Mexico pay for it.” Then the actress dedicated the award to her father, who passed away on Friday. “I’m so glad that he liked Veep,” she said, visibly emotional, “because his opinion was the one that really mattered.”
Jill Soloway's Powerful Speech
Transparent creator Jill Soloway won the Emmy for Directing a Comedy Series for the second year in a row, and delivered a powerful acceptance speech that ended with the rallying cry to “topple the patriarchy!” She called her career as a director “a privilege, and it also creates privilege when you take women, people of color, trans people, queer people and you put them at the center of a story, the subjects instead of the objects. You change the world, we found out.” She thanked the trans community “for your lived lives,” and called for an end to violence against trans women. After Soloway had left the stage, Kimmel came back out and mused, “I’m trying to figure out if ‘topple the patriarchy’ is a good thing for me or not…I don’t think it is.”
Jeffrey Tambor's Important Message
For the second year in a row, Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor took home the trophy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy for his performance as Maura Pfefferman on the Amazon series. “May I be very, very clear about something?” the two-time winner began. “There is no best actor.” He thanked creator (and fellow Emmy winner) Jill Soloway, telling her, “You changed my life, you changed my career, and you changed everything.” Then he echoed some of Soloway’s sentiments from her passionate speech that celebrated the trans community. “Please give transgender talent a chance. Give them auditions. Give them their stories,” he said, concluding, “I would be happy if I were the last cisgender male to play a transgender female.”
A Special Delivery From the Stranger Things Kids
Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Kimmel sees your Oscars pizza and raises you homemade sandwiches with sweet notes. Kimmel Skyped in his mom, who told him she had made 7,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the audience. Assisted by the kids from Stranger Things, Kimmel passed them out in brown paper bags. “Raise your hand if you have a gluten allergy!” Kimmel said as he distributed the PB&Js. “I just want America to see which of their favorite celebrities are the most annoying.” Later, he followed up by handing out juice boxes, pausing at The People v. O.J. Simpson star David Schwimmer’s seat to offer him multiples — “David? Juice? Juice? Juice?” — and revealed that there were personal messages in some of the bags. Kimmel’s mom loved Cuba Gooding Jr. in Snow Dogs (didn’t we all?) and Amy Schumer got the rave: “Dear Amy, You’re the funniest woman on television. I wish you were hosting the Emmys this year. I’m your #1 fan. Bring back Parks and Rec.” Oops! Wrong Amy, Mrs. Kimmel.
Sarah Paulson Nabs Her First Emmy
Six-time nominee Sarah Paulson took home her first Emmy for her performance as Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Taking the stage after an enthusiastic standing ovation, Paulson thanked her castmates and the People v. O.J. Simpson crew, but gave special recognition to the real Marcia Clark, whom Paulson had brought with her to the ceremony. “The responsibility of playing a real person is an enormous one. You want to get it right, not for you but for them,” she began. Addressing Clark, she said, “I, along with the rest of the world, had been superficial and careless in my judgment, and I’m here today to tell you: I’m sorry.” Before leaving the stage, she thanked Ryan Murphy, telling the TV auteur, “I owe you everything,” and gave a shoutout to her partner Holland Taylor, saying, “Holland Taylor, I love you.”
Leslie Jones' Revenge
The Emmys subverted our expectations this year by making the presentation of the Ernst & Young accountants, historically the most boring part of the show, one of its liveliest moments. Leslie Jones joined the accountants this year, and the Ghostbusters star and noted Olympic tweeter turned lemons into sweet Emmy lemonade with self-deprecating jokes about getting hacked and harassed on social media. “Since you’re good at keeping things safe, I got a job for you: My Twitter account!” the actress said. “Y’all over here using your skills to protect Best Voiceover in a French Sitcom,” she joked. “Meanwhile, I’m butt-naked on CNN! I just wanted to feel beautiful, y’all! Can’t a sister feel beautiful?”
Matt Damon Takes His Feud With Jimmy Kimmel to the Emmys Stage
Immediately after John Oliver won the Emmy for Variety Talk Series, for which Jimmy Kimmel was also nominated, Kimmel took the stage to resume hosting duties and was soon joined by his arch-nemesis, Matt Damon, who strolled onstage munching on an apple. “I missed the last category,” Damon said. “Did you win?” Upon learning that Kimmel had, in fact, lost, he gloated, “It makes a lot of sense, but you must be really bummed out. So you’re not going to get a trophy?” Then, realizing how awkward poor Kimmel must have felt, Damon proved what a nice guy he is: “This is so humiliating, I’m sorry,” he said. “You lost, and now you gotta stand out here for the rest of the night when you probably just want to go home and curl up and cry.” As he walked offstage, Damon turned around, holding up the apple he’d been eating, and said to Kimmel, “Tell your mom I like them apples!”
Rami Malek's Stunned Acceptance
First-time nominee Rami Malek took home the gold for his revelatory turn in the first season of USA Network’s Mr. Robot. Shocked, Malek paused at the microphone before saying, “Please tell me you’re seeing this too.” He thanked his family, his co-stars, and Mr. Robot’s “pure visionary” showrunner Sam Esmail, finishing his speech with a shoutout to the character who made his win possible. “I play a young man who I think, like so many of us, is profoundly alienated,” Malek said. “And the unfortunate thing is, I’m not so sure how many of us would want to hang out with a guy like Elliot. But I want to honor all the Elliots, because there’s a little bit of Elliot in all of us, isn’t there?”
Tatiana Maslany Finally Gets Gold
After going unrecognized for the first two seasons of Orphan Black, in which she plays a whole cast of clones, Tatiana Maslany picked up her first Emmy nomination for her work on the show last year — and finally took home the gold for Best Actress in a Drama at this year’s show. In a short but sweet acceptance speech, she thanked the Academy and the Orphan Black cast and crew, finally adding, “I feel so lucky to be on a show that puts women at the center.”
Veep and Game of Thrones Win Big
The biggest winners of the night were Outstanding Comedy Series Veep and Drama Series Game of Thrones, both of which picked up other awards and led nomination count for their respective genres. Accepting the award for Veep for the second consecutive year, executive producer and showrunner David Mandel said “Holy crap. I have a 9:30 a.m. library shift for my son’s school tomorrow morning — if anyone is willing to trade with me, email me,” to a big laugh. Game of Thrones’ drama series win was the last award of the night, and the prize that pushed the HBO drama into history-making territory: With its three trophies this year, Thrones now has more Emmys than any other show in television history.