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Aziz Ansari & Lena Waithe, winners at the Emmys | © Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock
Aziz Ansari & Lena Waithe, winners at the Emmys | © Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock
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Emmys Champion Diversity and Diss Trump

Picture of Graham Fuller
Film Editor
Updated: 20 September 2017
The mood of one half of America was summed up by CBS’s Emmys telecast. The big winners were Saturday Night Live, Big Little Lies, and The Handmaid’s Tale. The big loser was Donald Trump.

Nine Emmy wins (including technical awards) for SNL, eight for Big Little Lies, and five for The Handmaids Tale told their own story at Sunday’s Emmy Awards. SNL‘s giddy (and occasionally barbed) political satire and especially The Handmaid Tale‘s dystopian drama of female oppression and resistance constitute a big fat “Just say no!” to Donald Trump’s Presidency.

Comments from host Stephen Colbert and various presenters echoed this sentiment, though no one went for the jugular. Where is Chris Rock when you need him?

Acknowledging the ham-fistedness of the current administration, the awards even sprang one of the great post-modern moments in recent television history. When former White House press secretary Sean Spicer made an appearance on the show, he wheeled on his own podium, paying tribute to Melissa McCarthy’s SNL spoof of him as a hectoring bully with a sort of mini-armored car. (Spicer’s Emmys parody was reportedly suggested by Colbert.)

Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss | Photo by Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

The former Trump spokesman’s mocking of his own inflated rhetoric has not been well received in all quarters, however, given his passive-aggressive contribution to Trump’s embattled Presidency.

The Handmaid’s Tale’s winsincluding Best Drama and Best Actress for Elisabeth Moss—are fully merited. As a missile from the zeitgeist, though, the Margaret Atwood adaptation resounds in the context of the President’s unrepentant sexism. Big Little Lies, which addressed domestic abuse and other gender-related issues, was no less disturbing than The Handmaid’s Tale for being set in the world of wealthy white women and their families.

The Emmys were pro-active in recognizing diversity and differences in sexual orientation. Sterling K. Brown of This Is Us became the first black actor to win the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series since 1998; it wasn’t great that his acceptance speech was rudely cut short. Brown’s performance in The People v. O.J. Simpson had won him last year’s Outstanding Supporting Actor Award in a Limited Series or Movie.

Director Reed Morano with her award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for The Handmaid’s Tale
Director Reed Morano with her award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for The Handmaid’s Tale | Photo by Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror that won Charlie Brooker’s San Junipero the Emmys for Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series hinges on a mixed-race romantic relationship between two women (Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis).

Riz Ahmed became the first man of Asian and Muslim descent to win an acting Emmy. He was honored for Outstanding Acting in a Limited Series for his work in HBO’s The Night Of.

Lena Waithe was honored as the first African-American woman to win for comedy-writing (specifically for her and Aziz Ansari’s ‘Thanksgiving’ episode of Master of None). Donald Glover became the first black director to win for comedy (specifically the “B.A.N.” episode of Atlanta). Glover also won the Emmy for lead actor in a comedy.

“The things that make us different—those are our superpowers,” Waithe said during her emotional acceptance speech.

Here’s a list of the Emmy nominations with the winners marked in bold:

Outstanding drama series

Better Call Saul
The Crown
The Handmaid’s Tale
House of Cards
Stranger Things
This Is Us
Westworld

Outstanding comedy series

Atlanta
Black-ish
Master of None
Modern Family
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Veep

Outstanding lead actor in a drama series

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Anthony Hopkins, Westworld
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

Outstanding lead actress in a drama series

Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Claire Foy, The Crown
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Keri Russell, The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ron Cephas Jonas, This Is Us
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
John Lithgow , The Crown
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Jeffrey Wright , Westworld

Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series

Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Chrissy Metz , This Is Us
Thandie Newton, Westworld

Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Zach Galifianakis, Baskets
Donald Glover, Atlanta
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series

Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
Allison Janney, Mom
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series

Louie Anderson, Baskets
Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tony Hale, Veep
Matt Walsh, Veep

Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series

Vanessa Bayer, Saturday Night Live
Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Kathryn Hahn, Transparent
Judith Light, Transparent
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Outstanding limited series

Big Little Lies
Fargo
Feud: Bette and Joan
The Night Of
Genius

Outstanding lead actor in a limited series

Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Lying Detective
Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Ewan McGregor, Fargo
Geoffrey Rush, Genius
John Turturro, The Night Of

Outstanding lead actress in a limited series

Carrie Coon, Fargo
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

Outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie

Judy Davis, Feud: Bette and Joan
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Jackie Hoffman, Feud: Bette and Joan
Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard of Lies
Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies

Outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie

Bill Camp, The Night Of
Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette and Joan
Alexander Skarsgård, Big Little Lies
David Thewlis, Fargo
Stanley Tucci, Feud: Bette and Joan
Michael Kenneth Williams, The Night Of

Outstanding variety talk series

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
The Late Late Show With James Corden
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Real Time With Bill Maher

Outstanding reality-competition program

The Amazing Race
American Ninja Warrior
Project Runway
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Top Chef
The Voice

Outstanding directing for a comedy series

Jamie Babbit, Silicon Valley
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Mike Judge, Silicon Valley
David Mandel, Veep
Morgan Sackett, Veep
Dale Stern, Veep

Outstanding writing for a drama series

The Duffer Brothers, Stranger Things
Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, Westworld
Peter Morgan, The Crown
Bruce Miller, The Handmaid’s Tale
Gordon Smith, Better Call Saul
Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, The Americans

Outstanding writing for a comedy series

Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe, Master of None
Alec Berg, Silicon Valley
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Stephen Glover, Atlanta
Billy Kimball, Veep
David Mandel, Veep

Outstanding directing for a drama series

Stephen Daldry The Crown
Kate Dennis, The Handmaid’s Tale
The Duffer Brothers, Stranger Things
Vince Gilligan, Better Call Saul
Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland
Reed Morano, The Handmaid’s Tale
Jonathan Nolan, Westworld