An Emmy ceremony heralded as being one of the most diverse ever also managed to be one of the most predictable, as voters rewarded long-overdue nominees but repeatedly called the same shows to the podium.
Take, for instance, the Comedy category, for which HBO’s scathing political satire Veep took awards for series, lead actress (second-time winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus), supporting actor (last year’s repeat Tony Hale) and writing. Last year’s winner in the same category, Allison Janney, repeated her win for supporting actress in Mom. The positive surprises — and not too surprising given the competition — were the wins for best actor (Jeffrey Tambor) and best director (Jill Soloway) for Transparent, the online streaming series about a man who transitions into a woman.
The Limited Series/TV Movie category was equally predictable, even if the winning show was worthy. Olive Kitteridge, written by one lesbian (Jane Anderson) and directed by another (Lisa Cholodenko), ended up with six awards: Best limited series, best director, best writing, best lead actress (Frances McDormand), best lead actor (Richard Jenkins) and supporting actor (Bill Murray). Only American Crime‘s Regina King broke the streak with her win in supporting actress.
For Variety, perpetual winner The Daily Show repeated again, winning for writing, directing and variety/talk series. Inside Amy Schumer won the award for best variety sketch show. Best reality/competition series went to The Voice, which should indicate that reality/competition awards that don’t include RuPaul’s Drag Race only betray how sad the state of reality TV is.
In Drama, Jon Hamm finally won his first Emmy, after 16 nominations, for best leading actor as Don Draper in Mad Men. That was its only major win, as Game of Thrones took best drama series, best supporting actor (Peter Dinklage), best writing and best director.
History was made in the other two wins: Uzo Aduba, playing gay inmate Crazy Eyes on Orange is the New Black, because the first performer since Ed Asner to win an acting Emmy for playing the same character in a drama series and a comedy. The difference is, Asner won for two different series (Mary Tyler Moore and Lou Grant); Aduba won only because OITNB changed categories this year. And Viola Davis because the first African-American woman to win a leading actress in a drama series Emmy for the uber-gay potboiler How to Get Away with Murder. The only problem? She’s dreadful on that show. A much better choice would have been Taraji P. Henson as Cookie on Empire. Now that’s history we can get behind.
With its wins for best comedy series, best drama series and best limited series, HBO swept the top spots in all major categories.