By Prashalan Govender
The highly anticipated 2019 Emmys took at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles Sunday night and while the event left much to be desired but the event had a few redeemable moments. Sunday nights’ Emmys had been garnering interest for months now due to one of the nominees being the juggernaut TV series, Game of Thrones, which returned for it’s eighth and final season after taking a hiatus last year to focus on the show’s final season post-production.
Game of Thrones aside, there was not much that this years’ Emmys had got viewers excited for due to the weak nominees in incredibly strong categories. Multiple highly acclaimed shows such as Stranger Things, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Crown and Westworld did not qualify for this years’ Emmys as they did not meet the submission deadline. Additionally, there was no host- a decision that is completely incomprehensible- considering that the funniest entertainers are on TV.
However, the Emmys still had a chance to generate buzz but dismally failed to seize the opportunity. Veep, for example, premiered it’s hilarious final season this year after taking a year off so that star Julia Louis-Dreyfus could receive chemotherapy. If Julia had won, a win which would have been incredibly well deserved, it would have been a history breaking win as it would have marked her as the only performer to have earned nine Emmys for acting . The show continued with the surprises when Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) beat fan favourites Sandra Oh ( Killing Eve) and Viola Davis ( How to get away with murder) for lead actress in a drama. Also Ava DuVerney’s When They See Us losing the award for direction to HBO’s Chernobyl.
However, there were moments in the show that made the avid award show fan, the critic and the regular television viewer proud to have witnessed the 2019 Emmys. One such moment came when the entire cast of Game of Thrones walked on stage with the shows iconic theme playing in the background to present an award. As the cast entered the stage, the audience gave an emotional standing ovation and a deafening applause. The moment perfectly encapsulated the reason that many eagerly watch Emmys - fierce appreciation for the shows that enter our lives, become part of it and then became part of us. The second redeemable moment came when Halsey delivered a heartfelt rendition of “Time after Time” during the in memoriam part of the show.
History was made when Billy Porter became the first openly gay black man to win for lead actor in a drama series for his work on Pose. Jharrel Jerome won for lead actor in a limited series/TV movie for his raw portrayal of “the exonerated five” member, Korey Wise in the Netflix hit, When They See Us . This victory also earned Jerome a place in the history books by becoming the first Afro-Latina to win an Emmy.
Finally, Michelle Williams absolutely owned the show with a raw, powerful and political acceptance speech for her lead actress in limited series/ TV movie win for Fosse/ Verdon. Michelle Williams blasted pay disparity (a topic which she is sadly all too familiar with) between men and women and called out white privilege in her speech, “… so the next time a women, especially women of colour, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterpart tells you what she needs in order to do her job listen to her… one day she may stand in front of you and say thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it.” Williams then dedicated the award to her daughter, Matilda, and received a standing ovation after she finished her speech.
Big wins of the night :
Drama series- Game of Thrones
Lead Actress in a drama series- Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)
Lead Actor in a drama series- Billy Porter ( Pose)
Comedy series- Fleabag
Lead actress in a comedy series- Phoebe Waller- Bridge (Fleabag)
Lead actor in a comedy series- Bill Harder (Barry)
Limited series/ movie- Chernobyl
Lead actress in a limited series/movie- Michelle Williams ( Fosse/Verdon )
Lead actor in a limited series/movie- Jharrel Jerome ( When They See Us)