Netflix dom-topped the Emmys last night
Who won what, the biggest snubs and Michaela Coel’s moving speech.
It’s hard to believe but not long ago, the streaming giant Netflix was the underdog at the Emmys; the smaller, brattier sister to the makers of “real” television like HBO, the prestige network behind shows like The Sopranos and The Wire. But in the past decade, all that has changed. They’ve racked up more than 600 nominations, 160 of which were for the 2021 ceremony alone. Last night, they snagged the most talked-about and esteemed prizes of the night, a moment that signifies the death knell of prestige TV being something you have to “tune into” every week, and can instead binge in one sitting.
As such, it’s absolutely fair to say that Netflix dom-topped the Emmys for 2021. While other streamers, like Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime reeled out their big-hitter shows, few could match the sheer weight of one show in particular, which seemed to win in almost every category it was eligible for: The Crown. But that wasn’t without its downfalls, particularly when it came in a record year for Black talent in TV.
So what were the key takeaways from last night’s Emmys?
The Crown and The Queen’s Gambit cleaned up
It seemed The Crown had a nomination, if not multiple nominations, in every category it was eligible for. In the end, the show took home 11 total prizes, sweeping the acting categories in particular. Josh O’Connor (king!) won Best Actor for his turn as Prince Charles, Olivia Colman beat her own co-star Emma Corrin to win Best Actress, and Gillian Anderson’s wretched Thatcher won Best Supporting. It was a sweep so stunning that it momentarily raised Thatcher from the dead, as one reporter asked Gillian on the red carpet if she spoke to the former Prime Minister-slash-embodiment of evil in preparation for the role. She died eight years ago.
Elsewhere, the show won the much deserved Best Drama and multiple screenwriting and directing prizes, cementing its status as one of the most compulsive and beautiful series of the last few years.
The Queen’s Gambit was another expected big hitter on the night, winning 11 of its 18 nominations including Best Limited or Anthology Series. No prize for Anya Taylor-Joy, but with multiple projects in the pipeline she’s bound to be on that podium soon.
Michaela Coel won, but deserved more
It was expected to be a bigger night for Michaela Coel, whose work on I May Destroy You saw her nominated across the acting, directing, screenwriting and producing prizes. In the end, the BBC/HBO show won for its writing, beating out Mare of Easttown, WandaVision and The Queen’s Gambit. In a moving prize, Michaela dedicated her speech to survivors of sexual assault, using the opportunity to speak directly to writers too: “Write the tale that scares you,” she said.
The fashion was immaculate
She may have been pipped at the post by her co-star Olivia Colman, but the outfit of the evening was clearly Emma Corrin’s custom Miu Miu look; something like a hybrid of Catwoman and The Crucible. Fellow star of The Crown Josh O’Connor wore a custom Loewe look -- both of them styled by Harry Lambert.
Following her Balenciaga look at the Met Gala, Michaela Coel wore a fluro yellow gown by American designer Christopher John Rogers. Cynthia Erivo wore a feather-festooned Louis Vuitton look.
But perhaps our favourite moment was Elizabeth Olsen -- sister of Mary Kate and Ashley -- rocking up to rep WandaVision dressed in a gown by The Row. Keep it in the family!
Black actors were slept on
There was a measurable uptick in the number of Black nominees at this year’s Emmy awards, with actors from Bridgerton (Regé-Jean Page), Lovecraft Country (Jurnee Smollett), Pose (Billy Porter), I May Destroy You (Paapa Essiedu) and Black-ish (Tracee Ellis-Ross) recognised for their contributions to their respective shows over the past year. But instead, all of the major acting prizes went to white actors instead. What’s more, the Television Academy failed to make an even greater statement by awarding MJ Rodriguez -- the first trans woman to get a Best Actress in a Drama Series nomination -- for her work in Pose over the past three seasons. On the night, Michaela, RuPaul, Lovecraft Country’s Courtney B. Vance and SNL’s Dave Chappelle and Maya Rudolph went home with awards.