‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ finds the Emmy Awards marvelous
LOS ANGELES — Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” became the first streaming series to win top Emmy comedy honors and HBO’s “Game of Thrones” recaptured the best drama series award Monday at a ceremony that largely slighted its most ethnically diverse field of nominees ever.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Amazon’s freshman sitcom about an unhappy 1950s homemaker liberated by stand-up comedy, earned best actress honors for star Rachel Brosnahan.
Castmate Alex Borstein earned the supporting actress trophy, and series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino nabbed writing and directing awards.
Claire Foy of “The Crown” and Matthew Rhys of “The Americans” won top drama acting Emmys, their first trophies for the roles and last chance to claim them, with Foy’s role as Queen Elizabeth II going to another actress and Rhys’ show wrapped.
The field bested by Foy included last year’s winner Elisabeth Moss for “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Sandra Oh of “Killing Eve,” who would have been the first actor of Asian descent to get a top drama award.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen,” a startled Foy said.
“Game of Thrones,” which sat out last year’s Emmys because of scheduling, won despite competition from defending champ “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
“Thank you for letting us take care of your people,” ‘’Game of Thrones” producer D.B. Weiss said to George R.R. Martin, whose novels fuel the drama.
In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most ethnically diverse field of nominees ever, the early awards all went to whites.
“Let’s get it trending: #EmmysSoWhite,” presenter James Corden joked at the midway point, riffing off an earlier tribute to Betty White.
“I want to say six awards, all white winners, and nobody has thanked Jesus yet,” co-host Michael Che said, referring to his earlier joke that only African-American and Republican winners do.
Then Regina King broke the string, with a best actress trophy in a limited series or movie for “Seven Seconds,” which tracks the fallout from a white police officer’s traffic accident involving a black teenager.
She was followed by Darren Criss, who won the lead acting award for the miniseries “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” and who is of Filipino descent.
Thandie Newton won best supporting drama actress for “Westworld,” and Peter Dinklage added a third trophy to his collection for “Game of Thrones.”
Brosnahan used her acceptance speech to give a shout-out to her comedy’s celebration of women power.
“It’s about a woman who’s finding her voice anew, and it’s one of the things that’s happening all over the country now,” she said. She urged the audience to exercise that power by voting.
Bill Hader collected the best comedy actor award for “Barry,” a dark comedy about a hired killer who stumbles into a possible acting career.
Henry Winkler, aka “The Fonz,” won a supporting actor award — his first Emmy — for “Barry,” four decades after gaining fame for his role in “Happy Days.”
“If you stay at the table long enough, the chips come to you. Tonight, I got to clear the table,” an ebullient Winkler said, with an equally delighted auditorium audience rising to give him a standing ovation. To his grown children, he said: “You can go to bed now; daddy won!”
The biggest award won by a broadcast network was best variety sketch series to NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
The Emmys had a real-life dramatic moment when winning director Glenn Weiss, noting his mother had died two weeks ago, proposed to his girlfriend, Jan Svendsen.
“You wonder why I don’t want to call you my girlfriend? It’s because I want to call you my wife,” Weiss said. She said yes; he put his mother’s ring on her finger and the crowd whooped and cheered.
John Oliver, in picking up the trophy for best variety talk-show award for “Last Week Tonight,” thanked Weiss’ girlfriend for giving the right answer or, he joked, the whole ceremony could have gone south.
The Emmys kicked off with a song, “We Solved It,” a celebration to the diversity of nominees sung by stars including Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson. The tune included a mention that Oh could become the first woman of Asian descent to win an Emmy. “There were none, now there’s one, so we’re done,” the comedians sang.
Oh played along from her seat: “Thank you, but it’s an honor just to be Asian,” said the Korean-Canadian actress.
“Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels, producing his second Emmy telecast in 30 years, was tasked with turning viewership around after the 2017 show’s audience of 11.4 million narrowly avoided the embarrassment of setting a new low.
The ceremony clearly bore his stamp, with Che and Jost as hosts and familiar “SNL” faces, including Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin, as presenters and nominees. The long-running NBC sketch show, already the top Emmy winner ever with 71, won again for best variety sketch series.
The pressure’s on Michaels because NBC and other broadcasters are increasingly reliant on awards and other live events to draw viewers distracted by streaming and more 21st- century options. The networks, which air the Emmy telecast on a rotating basis, are so eager for the ad dollars it generates and its promotional value for fall shows that they endure online competitors sharing the stage.
The complete list of 2018 Emmy Award winners
Outstanding drama series: “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Outstanding comedy series: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
Outstanding lead actress in a drama series:Claire Foy, “The Crown” (Netflix)
Outstanding lead actor in a drama series: Matthew Rhys, “The Americans” (FX)
Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series: Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series: Bill Hader, “Barry” (HBO)
Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series: Thandie Newton, “Westworld” (HBO)
Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series: Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series: Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series: Henry Winkler, “Barry” (Netflix)
Outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie: Regina King, “Seven Seconds” (Netflix)
Outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie: Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” (FX)
Outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie: Merritt Wever, “Godless” (Netflix)
Outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie: Jeff Daniels, “Godless” (Netflix)
Outstanding limited series: “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” (FX)
Outstanding variety talk series: “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)
Outstanding variety sketch series: “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
Outstanding reality-competition program: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (Logo)
Outstanding writing for a drama series: Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, “The Americans” for the episode “Start” (FX)
Outstanding directing for a drama series: Stephen Daldry, “The Crown” (Netflix)
Outstanding writing for a comedy series: Amy Sherman-Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
Outstanding directing for a comedy series: Amy Sherman-Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
Outstanding writing for a limited series, movie or dramatic special: William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, “Black Mirror: USS Callister” (Netflix)
Outstanding directing for a limited series, movie or dramatic special: Ryan Murphy, “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace” (FX)
Outstanding writing for a variety special: “John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous At Radio City” (Netflix)
Outstanding directing for a variety special: Glenn Weiss, “The Oscars” (ABC)