Sunday night’s 2019 Emmys on Fox might have been its lowest-rated ever, but that didn’t stop the memorable moments from happening. Trying to follow in the Oscars stead of going hostless, the awards show decline continues with a 5.7 rating and a 10 share in the overnight market ratings. This brings it down 23 percent from last year’s Monday night show on NBC and 30 percent lower than the 2017 Sunday night edition on CBS.
Some of the biggest snubs landed for Julia Louis-Dreyfuss’ “Veep,” Ava DuVernay, “Schitt’s Creek” while surprises came for “Killing Eve’s” Jodie Comer (who beat her co-star Sandra Oh), “Fleabag’s” Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jharrel Jerome, Julia Garner, Jason Bateman and “Succession’s” Jesse Armstrong.
“Game of Thrones” Iron Throne rose again to dominate Sunday’s Emmy ceremony, ruling as top drama on a night of surprises in which “Pose” star Billy Porter made history and the comedy series “Fleabag” led a British invasion that overturned expectations.
“This all started in the demented mind of George R.R. Martin,” said “Game of Thrones” producer David Benioff, thanking the author whose novels were the basis of HBO’s fantasy saga.
Porter, who stars in the FX drama set in the LGBTQ ball scene of the late 20th century, became the first openly gay man to win a best drama series acting Emmy.
“God bless you all. The category is love, you all, love. I’m so overjoyed and so overwhelmed to have lived to see this day,” said an exuberant Porter, resplendent in a sparkling suit and swooping hat.
Amazon’s “Fleabag,” a dark comedy about a dysfunctional woman, was honored as best comedy and earned writing and top acting honors for its British creator and star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, as well as a best director trophy.
“This is getting ridiculous,” Waller-Bridge said in her third trip to the stage to collect the top trophy.
Her acting win blocked “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus from setting a record as the most-honored performer in Emmy history. “Fleabag’s” showing denied a fond farewell for its final season.
“Nooooo!” a shocked-looking Waller-Bridge said as Louis-Dreyfus smiled for the cameras. “Oh, my God, no. Thank you. I find acting really hard and really painful. But it’s all about this,” she said, her acting trophy firmly in hand.
In accepting the writing award earlier, she called the Emmy recognition proof that “a dirty, pervy, messed-up woman can make it to the Emmys.”
Porter, a Tony and Grammy Award winning performer, relished his groundbreaking moment. Quoting the late writer James Baldwin, he said it took him many years to believe he has the right to exist.
“I have the right, you have the right, we all have the right,” he said.
English actress Jodie Comer was honored as best drama actress for “Killing Eve.” She competed with co-star Sandra Oh, who received a Golden Globe for her role and would have been the first actress of Asian descent to win an Emmy in the category.
“My mum and dad are in Liverpool (England) and I didn’t invite them because I didn’t think this was going to be my time. One, I’m sorry, two I love you,” Comer said after saluting Oh.
Bill Hader won his second consecutive best comedy actor award for the hit man comedy “Barry.”
Peter Dinklage, named best supporting actor for “Game of Thrones,” set a record for most wins for the same role, four, breaking a tie with Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad.”
“I count myself so fortunate to be a member of a community that is about nothing but tolerance and diversity, because in no other place I could be standing on a stage like this,” said Dinklage, who is a dwarf.
“Ozark” star Julia Garner won the best supporting drama actress trophy against a field including four actresses from “Game of Thrones.”
The auditorium erupted in cheers when Jharrel Jerome of “When They See Us,” about the Central Park Five case, won the best actor award for a limited series movie.
“Most important, this is for the men that we know as the Exonerated Five,” said Jerome, naming the five wrongly convicted men who were in the audience. They stood and saluted the actor as the crowd applauded them.
It was the only honor for the acclaimed Netflix series of the evening; “Chernobyl” won the best limited series honor.
The ceremony was brisk but, without a host, was overly reliant on the hit-and-miss jokes of presenters. It was ultimately the surprising wins such as Comer’s and the meaningful selections of Porter and Jerome that made the show.
HBO retained its durable front-runner status with the help of “Game of Thrones’” record-tying 12 wins. The channel had a total of 34 awards from Sunday and last weekend’s creative arts ceremony.
But streaming hit new Emmy heights, powered by Amazon Prime winners “Fleabag,” ″The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “A Very English Scandal,” and Netflix’s “Bandersnatch (Black Mirror),” honored as best movie. Netflix collected 27 awards and Amazon nabbed 15.
Michelle Williams, honored as best actress for her portrayal of dancer Gwen Verdon in FX’s limited series “Fosse/Verdon,” issued a call to arms for gender and ethnic equality.
She thanked the network and studio behind the project for “paying me equally because they understood … when you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value. And where do they put that value, they put it into their work.
“And so the next time a woman and, especially a woman of color, 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,” Williams said.
Patricia Arquette won the trophy best supporting limited-series or movie actress for “The Act.” She paid emotional tribute to her late trans sister, Alexis Arquette, and called for an end to prejudice against trans people, including in the workplace.
Ben Whishaw took the category’s supporting actor trophy for “A Very English Scandal,” admitting in charming British fashion to a hangover.
Alex Borstein and Tony Shalhoub of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won best comedy supporting acting awards.
“I want to dedicate this to the strength of a woman, to (series creator) Amy Sherman-Palladino, to every woman on the ‘Maisel’ cast and crew,” Borstein said, and to her mother and grandmother. Her grandmother survived because she was courageous enough to step out of a line that, Borstein intimated, would have led to her death at the hands of Nazi Germany.
“She stepped out of line. And for that, I am here and my children are here, so step out of line, ladies. Step out of line,” said Borstein, who also won the award last year.
Shalhoub added to his three Emmys which he earned for his signature role in “Monk.”
The awards opened without a host as promised, with an early exchange pitting Ben Stiller against Bob Newhart.
“I’m still alive,” Newhart told Stiller, who introduced him as part of a wax museum comedy hall of fame that included Lucille Ball and George Burns.
Kim Kardashian West and Kendall Jenner drew some mocking laughter in the audience when they presented the reality competition award after Kardashian West said their family “knows firsthand how truly compelling television comes from real people just being themselves.”
An animated Homer Simpson made a brief appearance on stage until he was abruptly crushed, with Anderson of “black-ish” rushing in to, as he vowed, rescue the evening. He called “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston on stage to tout the power of television from its beginning to the current golden age.
“Television has never been bigger. Television has never mattered more. And television has never been this damn good,” Cranston said.
Top 2019 Emmy Moments
Emmy night is always a chaotic mix of the humorous, the emotional and the inspirational, mixed with some major sequins and glitter. And on this Emmy night, all those elements came together in one glorious moment: Billy Porter’s win as best actor in a drama for “Pose,” the first openly gay actor to win the award.
But Porter’s speech wasn’t the only knock-your-socks-off moment. Michelle Williams gave the audience an eloquent and impassioned lesson on the importance of equal pay for women, especially women of color.
And Patricia Arquette paid tearful tribute to her late transgender sister, issuing a rousing call for better treatment of transgender people.
Top Moments From Emmys 2019:
If you didn’t know Phoebe Waller-Bridge before, well, you certainly do now.
First, the British writer-actress of “Fleabag” won for writing on a comedy series, telling the crowd that she found writing “really hard and painful” — but that she did it for the awards. She got to repeat the joke when she won best actress in a comedy, a huge upset over prohibitive favorite Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the last season of “Veep.”
And then Waller-Bridge, 34, made it up to the stage yet again when her show won for outstanding comedy series, again besting “Veep.”
“This is getting ridiculous!” she exulted. In true Britspeak, she called her show’s journey to success “absolutely mental.” She was pretty entertaining when she presented an award with funnyman Bill Hader, too — all in all, a massive night, as the Brits would say.
A MEMORY BOTH POWERFUL AND EMPOWERING
Alex Borstein, winning her second consecutive Emmy for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” started out in predictably humorous mode, making a racy underwear joke.
Then she made a dramatic pivot to a poignant and harrowing memory about her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, who during the war had been in line “to be shot into a pit.”
She said her grandmother had asked a guard, “What happens if I step out of line?” and the guard had replied that he didn’t have the heart to shoot her, “but somebody will.”
She did — and they didn’t. “And for that, I am here,” Borstein said. “And for that, my children are here.”
“So step out of line, ladies!” she told the crowd, to cheers.
FAR FROM THE BRONX
When Jharrel Jerome won his Emmy for “When They See Us,” he said he felt like he “should just be back home in the Bronx right now chilling, waiting for my mom’s cooking or something.” But, said the 21-year-old, “I’m here in front of my inspirations.”
He thanked, of course, director Ava DuVernay, and his “beautiful mother,” who actively cheered him on from the audience. But he saved his most important thanks “for the men we know as the Exonerated Five.” And all five stood up and cheered from their seats: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, the man Jerome played onscreen.
The four-part Netflix series tells story of the Central Park Five, black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were coerced into confessing to a rape they didn’t commit.
A SISTER REMEMBERED
When Patricia Arquette won an Oscar in 2015, she made a plea for pay equality. On this Emmy night, rights for transgender people was on her mind, and for a very personal reason.
Accepting her award for “The Act,” Arquette said she was still in mourning over the death of her sister, Alexis Arquette, who died at age of 47 in 2016.
Alexis, who was transgender, died from a heart attack and battled HIV for 29 years, according to her death certificate.
“I’m so sad that I lost my sister Alexis, and that trans people are still being persecuted,” she said. “Let’s get rid of this bias that we have everywhere. They’re human beings and let’s give them jobs.”
In the audience, transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox stood and cheered. Cox was carrying a purse that bore a message: “Oct. 8, Title VII, Supreme Court,” it said, referring to an upcoming court decision on workplace discrimination and LGBTQ rights.
PASSIONATE ABOUT EQUAL PAY
It was actress Michelle Williams who raised the flag for equal pay, with an eloquent speech that was one of the most effective of the night.
Accepting the award for “Fosse/Verdon,” she called the honor “an acknowledgment of what is possible when a woman is trusted to discern her own needs, feel safe enough to voice them, and respected enough that they’ll be heard.”
She explained that when she’d needed anything to help her better play dancer Gwen Verdon — more dance classes, more voice lessons, a different wig — she heard “yes,” not “no,” even though they cost money.
She also thanked the FX network and Fox 21 studios “for paying me equally, because they understood that when you put value into a person it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value.”
“And then where do they put that value? They put it into their work,” she continued, pointing out that a woman of color makes 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, male counterpart.
So when that woman “tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her, believe her,” Williams said. “Because one day she might 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.”
The remarks won cheers not only in the room, but on social media. “Michelle Williams just took us to the church of women’s equality,” wrote actress Kerry Washington on Twitter.
It was obvious that it was Billy Porter’s night the moment he sauntered into the Emmy Awards in a huge, lopsided black cowboy hat, a sparkling striped black-and-silver suit, and platform shoes.
Porter has emerged as a huge red carpet star of late. But this time, the “Pose” actor matched his carpet prowess with a huge Emmy victory, becoming the first openly gay actor to win best actor in a drama.
“The category is love, y’all!” he crowed to the audience upon arriving onstage.
He then met the historical moment by quoting James Baldwin. “It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and halfway believed before I could walk around this Earth like I had a right to be here,” went the powerful quote. “I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right!”
As he did years ago when his won his Tony, Porter paid tribute to his mother, Clorinda, saying “there’s no stronger, more resilient woman who has graced this earth.”
He also thanked his show’s co-creator, Ryan Murphy: “Ryan Murphy, you saw me! You believed in us.”
He added that “We as artists are the people that get to change the molecular structure of the hearts and minds of the people who live on this planet. Please don’t ever stop doing that.”
2019 Complete Emmy’s Winners List
“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO) (WINNER)
“Killing Eve” (AMC/BBC America)
“This Is Us” (NBC)
“Fleabag” (Amazon Prime) (WINNER)
“The Good Place” (NBC)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime)
“Russian Doll” (Netflix)
“Schitt’s Creek” (Pop)
“Chernobyl” (HBO) (WINNER)
“Escape at Dannemora” (Showtime)
“Sharp Objects” (HBO)
“When They See Us” (Netflix)
“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” (Netflix) (WINNER)
“Deadwood: The Movie” (HBO)
“King Lear” (Amazon Prime)
“My Dinner with Hervé” (HBO)
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”)
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
Billy Porter (“Pose”) (WINNER)
Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”)
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”)
Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”) (WINNER)
Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”)
Laura Linney (“Ozark”)
Mandy Moore (“This Is Us”)
Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”)
Robin Wright (“House of Cards”)
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”)
Don Cheadle (“Black Monday”)
Ted Danson (“The Good Place”)
Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”)
Bill Hader (“Barry”) (WINNER)
Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”)
Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”)
Natasha Lyonne (“Russian Doll”)
Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”) (WINNER)
Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Jharrel Jerome (“When They See Us”) (WINNER)
Mahershala Ali (“True Detective”)
Benicio Del Toro (“Escape at Dannemora”)
Hugh Grant (“A Very English Scandal”)
Jared Harris (“Chernobyl”)
Sam Rockwell (“Fosse/Verdon”)
Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Amy Adams (“Sharp Objects”)
Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora”)
Aunjanue Ellis (“When They See Us”)
Joey King (“The Act”)
Niecy Nash (“When They See Us”)
Michelle Williams (“Fosse/Verdon”) (WINNER)
“The Amazing Race” (CBS)
“American Ninja Warrior” (NBC)
“Nailed It” (Netflix)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1) (WINNER)
“Top Chef” (Bravo)
“The Voice” (NBC)
Variety Sketch Series
“At Home With Amy Sedaris” (truTV)
“Documentary Now!” (IFC)
“Drunk History” (Comedy Central)
“I Love You, America, With Sarah Silverman” (Hulu)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC) (WINNER)
“Who Is America?” (Showtime)
Variety Talk Series
“The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)
“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” (TBS)
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC)
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” (HBO) (WINNER)
“The Late Late Show With James Corden” (CBS)
“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (CBS)
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Gwendoline Christie (“Game of Thrones”)
Julia Garner (“Ozark”) (WINNER)
Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”)
Fiona Shaw (“Killing Eve”)
Sophie Turner (“Game of Thrones”)
Maisie Williams (“Game of Thrones”)
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Alfie Allen (“Game of Thrones”)
Jonathan Banks (“Better Call Saul”)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau (“Game of Thrones”)
Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”) (WINNER)
Giancarlo Esposito (“Better Call Saul”)
Michael Kelly (“House of Cards”)
Chris Sullivan (“This Is Us”)
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) (WINNER)
Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”)
Sian Clifford (“Fleabag”)
Olivia Colman (“Fleabag”)
Betty Gilpin (“GLOW”)
Sarah Goldberg (“Barry”)
Marin Hinkle (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”)
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Alan Arkin (“The Kominsky Method”)
Anthony Carrigan (“Barry”)
Tony Hale (“Veep”)
Stephen Root (“Barry”)
Tony Shalhoub (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) (WINNER)
Henry Winkler (“Barry”)
Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Patricia Arquette (“The Act”) (WINNER)
Marsha Stephanie Blake (“When They See Us”)
Patricia Clarkson (“Sharp Objects”)
Vera Farmiga (“When They See Us”)
Margaret Qualley (“Fosse/Verdon”)
Emily Watson (“Chernobyl”)
Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Ben Whishaw (“A Very English Scandal”) (WINNER)
Asante Blackk (“When They See Us”)
Paul Dano (“Escape at Dannemora”)
John Leguizamo (“When They See Us”)
Stellan Skarsgård (“Chernobyl”)
Michael K. Williams (“When They See Us”)
Directing for a Comedy Series
“Barry,” “The Audition,” HBO (Alec Berg)
“Barry,” “ronny/lily,” HBO (Alec Berg)
“Fleabag,” “Episode 1,” Prime Video (Harry Bradbeer) (WINNER)
“The Big Bang Theory,” “Stockholm Syndrome,” CBS (Mark Cendrowski)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “We’re Going to the Catskills!” Prime Video (Dan Palladino)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “All Alone,” Prime Video (Amy Sherman-Palladino)
Directing for a Drama Series
“Game of Thrones,” “The Iron Throne,” HBO (David Benioff, D.B. Weiss)
“Game of Thrones,” “The Last of the Starks,” HBO (David Nutter)
“Game of Thrones,” “The Long Night,” HBO (Miguel Sapochnik)
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Holly,” Hulu (Daina Reid)
“Killing Eve,” “Desperate Times,” BBC America (Lisa Bruhlmann)
“Ozark,” “Reparations,” Netflix (Jason Bateman) (WINNER)
Directing for a Limited Series or TV Movie
“A Very English Scandal,” Prime Video (Stephen Frears)
“Chernobyl,” HBO (Johan Renck) (WINNER)
“Escape at Dannemora,” Showtime (Ben Stiller)
“Fosse/Verdon,” “Glory,” FX Networks (Jessica Yu)
“Fosse/Version,” “Who’s Got the Pain,” FX Networks (Thomas Kail)
“When They See Us,” Netflix (Ava DuVernay)
Directing for a Variety Series
“Documentary Now!” “Waiting for the Artist,” IFC (Alex Buono, Rhys Thomas)
“Drunk History,” “Are You Afraid of the Drunk?” Comedy Central (Derek Waters)
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” “Psychics,” HBO (Paul Pennolino)
“Saturday Night Live,” “Host: Adam Sandler,” NBC (Don Roy King) (WINNER)
“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” “Live Midterm Election Show,” Jim Hoskinson
“Who Is America?” “Episode 102,” Showtime (Sacha Baron Cohen, Nathan Fielder, Daniel Gray Longino, Dan Mazer)
Writing for a Comedy Series
“Barry,” “ronny/lily,” HBO (Alec Berg, Bill Hader)
“Fleabag,” “Episode 1,” Prime Video (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) (WINNER)
“PEN15,” “Anna Ishii-Peters,” Hulu (Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle)
“Russian Doll,” “Nothing in This World Is Easy,” Netflix (Leslye Headland, Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler)
“Russian Doll,” “A Warm Body,” Netflix (Allison Silverman)
“The Good Place,” “Janet(s),” NBC (Josh Siegal, Dylan Morgan)
“Veep,” “Veep,” HBO (David Mandel)
Writing for a Drama Series
“Better Call Saul,” “Winner,” AMC (Peter Gould, Thomas Schnauz)
“Bodyguard,” “Episode 1,” Netflix (Jed Mercurio)
“Game of Thrones,” “The Iron Throne,” HBO (David Benioff, D.B. Weiss)
“Killing Eve,” “Nice And Neat,” BBC America (Emerald Fennell)
“Succession,” “Nobody Is Ever Missing,” HBO (Jesse Armstrong) (WINNER)
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Holly,” Hulu (Bruce Miller, Kira Snyder)
Writing for a Limited Series or TV Movie
“Chernobyl,” HBO (Craig Mazin) (WINNER)
“A Very English Scandal,” Prime Video (Russell T. Davies)
“Escape at Dannemora,” “Episode 6,” Showtime (Brett Johnson, Michael Tolkin)
“Fosse/Verdon,” “Providence,” FX Networks (Steven Levenson, Joel Fields)
“When They See Us,” “Part Four,” Netflix (Ava DuVernay, Michael Starrbury)
Writing for a Variety Series
“Documentary Now!,” IFC
“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” TBS
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” HBO (WINNER)
“Late Night With Seth Meyers,” NBC
“Saturday Night Live,” NBC
“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” CBS