2023 Emmy awards: Historic Wins for Actors of Colour

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The acclaimed HBO drama, Succession, crafted by Jesse Armstrong, secured six prestigious awards. Among them were accolades for the talented actors Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, and Matthew Macfadyen. Notably, the show clinched the grandest honor of the night, the best drama series award.

Jeremy Allen White, recognized as the outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for “The Bear,” gracefully posed in the press room during the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Armstrong expressed gratitude, acknowledging the initial challenges in commissioning the show. He thanked HBO for their belief in the series, emphasizing its exploration of family dynamics intertwined with partisan news coverage and divisive right-wing politics. Armstrong humorously noted that in the real world, such issues had now been “resolved.”

Snook, recipient of the lead actress in a drama award, dedicated her win to her child, whom she carried through the final season. She jestingly remarked on the ease of acting during pregnancy due to raging hormones. Macfadyen, victorious for supporting actor, paid homage to his on-screen wife, Sarah Snook, and his “other” on-screen wife, Nicholas Braun, expressing gratitude for the enriching experience of acting with them.

The inaugural season of The Bear also garnered significant recognition, securing six awards, including those for the comedy series and lead actor Jeremy Allen White. Ayo Edebiri and Ebon Moss-Bachrach both received supporting awards for their roles in the show.

In a groundbreaking achievement, with Edebiri’s triumph and Abbott Elementary’s Quinta Brunson winning the lead actress in a comedy series award, Black women achieved a historic double in these categories for the first time in the same year.

Host Anthony Anderson, acknowledging the numerous Black actors receiving awards, quipped, “Everyone having fun at the chocolate Emmys? We are killing it tonight!”

The Netflix sensation Beef dominated the limited or anthology series categories, securing five awards. Notably, actors Steven Yeun and Ali Wong were recognized, with Wong making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win a lead acting Emmy. Creator Lee Sung Jin commended the cast for their ability to “love so unconditionally” while incorporating personal narratives of suicidal ideation, a prominent theme in the show.

Jennifer Coolidge earned the title of best supporting actress in a drama for her role in the second season of HBO’s The White Lotus, her second Emmy for the performance after winning for the first season. In her speech, she humorously thanked “all the evil gays.”

The delayed ceremony, a consequence of striking writers and actors, ensures that the next Emmys will occur in the same calendar year.

Niecy Nash-Betts won the supporting actress in a limited or anthology series award for her role in Ryan Murphy’s Dahmer series on Netflix. In an emotional speech, she dedicated the award to “every Black and brown woman who has gone unheard but over-policed,” mentioning names such as Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor.

Accepting the award for competition program, RuPaul emphasized the importance of listening to drag queens, asserting that knowledge is power. He warned against attempts to restrict access to power, framing it as an attempt to induce fear.

A special governors award was bestowed upon the non-profit LGBTQ+ advocacy organization Glaad for their consultancy on shows and TV movies featuring queer and trans characters. Presenter Colman Domingo praised Glaad for ensuring that off-screen realities are authentically represented on screen. Glaad’s CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, stressed the urgent need for culture-changing stories about transgender people amid the prevalence of “cruel and harmful lies” about the community.

Other notable winners included Paul Walter Hauser for supporting actor in a limited or anthology series in Black Bird, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver for scripted variety series, and Elton John’s Farewell from Dodger Stadium for best variety special (live), securing Egot status for the singer.

Due to a knee injury, John couldn’t attend but released a statement expressing humility and gratitude for joining the esteemed group of EGOT winners.

Anderson initiated the ceremony with a nostalgic homage to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, recounting his personal television journey from childhood onwards. The 75th edition of the Emmys featured on-stage reunions for iconic shows such as The Sopranos, Cheers, Ally McBeal, All in the Family, and Grey’s Anatomy.

Noteworthy is the absence of awards for shows like Ted Lasso, The Crown, The Last of Us, and Wednesday. Better Call Saul holds the dubious distinction of being the most snubbed show in Emmys history, securing zero awards from 53 nominations throughout its run.

This event follows the Golden Globes of the preceding weekend, which also celebrated significant victories for Succession, Beef, and The Bear.

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