It was a banner year for HBO, a breakthrough moment for Game of Thrones and a long-delayed victory for Jon Hamm. But, above all, the 67th Primetime Emmys, handed out last night, September 20, in Los Angeles, was a landmark moment for women, especially African American women, so often underrepresented or typecast on TV (and movies).
With eight Creative and four Primetime Emmys – including the top prize of Best Drama Series for Game of Thrones – HBO established a new record, surpassing The West Wing’s nine Emmys collected in a single year. Not counting acting and directing trophies, HBO took home Emmys in all key categories: best drama series, Game of Thrones; best comedy series, Veep; best limited series, Olive Kitteridge; best TV movie, Bessie.
With its old opponent Breaking Bad out of the way, Game of Thrones bagged not only the top award, but also Emmys for supporting actor (and Golden Globe winner) Peter Dinklage (his second); writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss; and director David Nutter. Likewise, thrice Golden Globe nominee Veep took the top Emmy in the comedy department, adding trophies for lead actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus; supporting actor Tony Hale; and writers Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche. Golden Globe nominee Olive Kitteridge won through and through, with the whole top cast, plus writer Jane Anderson and director Lisa Cholodenko winning Emmys.
In two of the night’s most emotional moments, Jon Hamm finally took home the Emmy that had eluded him since the first season of the multiple Emmy and Golden Winner Mad Men. In his emotional acceptance speech, Hamm thanked “the people to whom I owe this incredible debt. Families – who have chosen for some reason to take me in and be nice to me along this strange, strange road." Hamm dedicated his Emmy to ex-girlfriend Jennifer Westfeld and their dog Cora.
Moments later, fan favorite Viola Davis walked on stage to collect her lead actress, drama Emmy for How to Get Away with Murder, becoming the first African American woman to win in that category. In her passionate acceptance speech Davis drove home the point of underrepresentation of women, especially women of color, in the entertainment industry: “Let me tell you something: the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity”, she said. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
The night would come to an end with an admirable string of victories by women of color and women-centric titles: from Bessie to Olive Kitteridge; from Inside Amy Schumer, best variety sketch series, to Veep, best comedy series; from Golden Globe nominee Uzo Aduba, best supporting actress, drama series, for Orange Is the New Black to Regina King, best supporting actress, limited series or movie, for American Crime.
Could the times be changing, moving towards more diversity and inclusiveness in the industry? Let’s hope so.
Ana Maria Bahiana
Emmy Winners, 2015/ Main Categories
LIMITED SERIES: Olive Kitteridge
VARIETY TALK SERIES: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
VARIETY SKETCH SERIES: Inside Amy Schumer
LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY: Allison Janney, Mom
SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY: Tony Hale, Veep
LEAD ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE: Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
LEAD ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE: Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE: Regina King, American Crime
SUPPORTING ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE: Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge
WRITING FOR A VARIETY SERIES: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for Game Of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy”
WRITING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL: Jane Anderson for Olive Kitteridge
DIRECTING FOR A VARIETY SERIES: Chuck O’Neil for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, “Show 20103”
DIRECTING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL: Lisa Cholodenko for Olive Kitteridge
DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES: Jill Soloway for Transparent, “Best New Girl”
WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES: Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche for Veep, “Election Night”
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES: Game of Thrones
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES: Veep
LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA: Jon Hamm, Mad Men
LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA: Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
TELEVISION MOVIE: Bessie
SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA: Peter Dinklage, Game Of Thrones
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA: Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES: David Nutter for Game Of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy”
Viola Davis in How to Get Away with Murder
Jon Hamm in Mad Men
Peter Dinklage in Game Of Thrones
Uzo Aduba in Orange Is the New Black
Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge
Amy Schumer in Inside Amy Schumer
John Hale and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep
Frances McDormand in Olive Kitteridge
Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent
Allison Janey in Mom
Regina King in American Crime