The 2016 Emmys were a big hit. You wouldn’t think that if you evaluated it on the ratings alone. However, if you actually watched, you’d come away feeling like it was a great ceremony. The speeches were heartfelt, the pacing was spot-on, and the jokes didn’t fall flat as they sometimes do. More importantly, the banter between the presenters was kept to a minimum and when it was used, it was extremely effective. This was the most enjoyable Emmys in quite some time. Jordan and I complied our thoughts below on the show.
Jimmy Kimmel was, overall, a great host. His jokes hit the right note and weren’t too cheesy or non-PC. One of Kimmel’s funnier moments was he had to go back on stage after losing best late night TV host and Matt Damon came on to rag him about the loss. For those of you don’t know, Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon have a running joke on his show ,where Jimmy ends it saying apologies for not having time for Matt Damon’s interview. They’ve expanded upon it over the years in different variations, and this banter was a great example.Plus, movie star Damon showed up at the Emmys just for this bit, which made the moment even better.
The 2016 acceptance speeches were amongst the better ones than previous year. Not only were the speeches to the point (sometimes the award winners get long winded), but also spoke to broader social themes that the television industry need to address. Two winners from Transparent- Jeffrey Tambor and director Jill Soloway- took the time to address importance of bringing transgender issues to television. Tambor in particular called for television writers to give transgender actors more opportunities to audition. The focus on diversity in television rightly discusses racial and gender inequalities, but also should bring encompass transgender issues as well. Tambor’s speech was effective moving when he said he hoped he would be that cis male to play a transgender. There’s still a long way to go, but with the inclusion of trans actress Laverne Cox echoing Tambor’s statement, let’s hope the executives in the room took some notes.
In addition, Rami Malek, in accepting his award for Mr Robot, said that we all have a little bit of Elliot in ourselves in feeling alienated. Malek’s character, Elliott, suffers from depression and sees psychologists to help him while also feeling like he’s alone in the process. Many of us suffer from depression and to see it so beautifully portrayed on screen can only help those thinking about seeking help.
Source: The Guardian
Speaking of speeches, Julia Louis-Drefyus’s speech was the most heartbreaking to watch. Viewers could tell from the time Julia started speaking that something was wrong. She wasn’t as joyful as she usually is and her hands were shaking reading. When she broke down at the end while dedicating her award to her late father, we felt her pain and had tears in our eyes. She was really brave coming to the ceremony after such a devastating loss. Grief itself is hard. Grieving in front of millions and millions of people is even harder. Kudos to Julia and her bravery. Her father would have been proud.
Master of None speech didn’t get the time it deserved. The show (in particular, Alan Yang and Aziz Ansari) won for best writing . This win was really groundbreaking for the Asian-American community, who struggle to get roles in Hollywood beyond just the “supporting friend,” or set up for a joke. Master of None is one of the few shows that put Asian Americans in the lead roles. Therefore, this win was momentous and deserved the attention. While Alan Yang was able to speak to this issue on Asian American representation and joke about Asian parents’ encouraging kids to pick up a camera, Aziz Ansari was broken off right before he was able to speak. This caused confusion and Aziz Ansari eventually leaving the stage. Considering that Aziz Ansari was also a co-writer, the Emmy producers should have used discretion when playing the music.
One of the best parts of the speeches though came towards the second half of the ceremony. Sterling K Brown (who won supporting Actor for playing Chris Darden in The People VS OJ ) ended his speech by saying (to his wife)” I got the hottest chick in the game rocking my chain.” Other award winners used the same line afterwards, with one of them blundering it. It was sweet and funny at the same time
The banter wasn’t as bad and cheesy as it usually was, and we even got some notable presentations. One of them was the reunion of NYPD actors Dennis Franz and Jimmy Smitts. They presented at the end of the show. Nothing like a good tv reunion and throwback to the 90s!
Another memorable one was Larry David’s solo presentation. His monologue was so natural and funny at the same time. He commented how presenters had to learn two things: opening the envelope and pretending to care. He then goes into how he employs the ‘pretending to care’ on dates. Really funny.
However, the hands down for the best overall presentation goes to Andy Samberg and Kit Harrington. Their bit was to say out random sound bites to be included in the Emmy promotions next year. Usually, presenter banter is the worst, with lame filler dialogue. However, Samberg and Harrington had a creative and funny spin on it and kept it natural. Not only was their chemistry great, but also they nailed it on how Emmy promotions used random stuff out of context for commercials. I particularly loved their Kyle Chandler bit:
Andy: No, I won’t kiss you Kyle Chandler.
Kit: Yes, I will kiss you Kyle Chandler
We love that Andy always includes Kyle in his bits (last year, after Jon Hamm finally won, Andy jokingly says he was rooting for Kyle). It’s really clear Andy has a man crush on Kyle.
The People VS OJ won it big year, with five awards (including Best Miniseries.) These wins showed the power the OJ Simpson still has to captivate the American public. I particularly appreciated Sarah Paulson’s speech, as she noted how people had created negative images of Marcia Clark during the original trial, dehumanizing her rather than appreciating her hard work. This miniseries is good y’all. Go watch it now.
Veep won both Best Comedy and Best Actress. While I love the show, I do think it is time that other actresses be acknowledged for their excellent work. Julia Louis is a great actresss; however, since she’s already won several times, it’s time for another actress to also be acknowledged.
One win that was probably refreshing to a lot of fans was Tatiana Maslany for Orphan Black (YESSSS!). The show has gotten great reviews for years but never broke through in an award category. Her win finally gave the show the credit it deserves.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Ben Mendhelson win for Bloodline. While I would have liked him to have won last year – where is performance was more phenomenal-I’ll pretend the award goes for both seasons.
Other Notable Moments
- The In Memorium portion is always difficult to watch as you are reminded of the lost talent and the work that brought joy to many. This year was harder than usual as it seems many were unexpected and had a large role in shaping entertainment history. It was sad to see all the talent was lost. However, the most notable exclusion from this year’s talent was that of Christina Grimmie. She was contestant on The Voice and more of a TV personality than notable musicians Merle Haggard, Glenn Frey, and David Bowie. In a year that has been riddled with tough times, her omission seemed particularly glaring.
- The reunion photo of Coach and Tami Taylor (Kyle Chandler, Connie Briton) together. All the FNL Fans’ hearts collectively swelled upon learning they were at the Emmys together (for different shows this time) and were rewarded the next day with a pic.
Source: Connie Britton (Instagram Account)
- The cast and crew group hugging the Veep show runner after the show’s win. Very sweet. Also, when JLD tripped and Tony Hale went to catch her was the most Selina and Gary moment ever.
- Seeing two actresses that were the epitome of teenage movies in the 1990s- Anna Chlumsky and Gabby Hoffman- both nominated in the best actress category. In fact, seeing so many “older” women (by Hollywood standards) nominated was terrific.