Jason Sudeikis

Jason Sudeikis with his Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Ted Lasso.

Phil McCarten/Invision/AP Images
September 19, 2021
Awards News

Streams Come True at 73rd Emmy Awards

For the first time in Emmy history, streaming platforms sweep the three main series categories. Netflix takes outstanding drama for The Crown and outstanding limited series for The Queen's Gambit; Apple TV+ scores outstanding comedy for Ted Lasso. Netflix leads all winners with 10, HBO/HBO Max is next with nine. Apple TV+ follows with four.

Kathleen O'Steen

The midnight oil was burning brightly in London on Sunday as The Crown, the Netflix drama about England's royal family, took top honors in seven categories at the 73rd Emmy Awards, including outstanding drama series. Those wins helped propel Netflix past all the competition as the streaming service picked up 10 awards during the night, narrowly beating out HBO/HBO Max, which received nine.

In third place was Apple TV+, which captured four Emmys, including outstanding comedy series for its feel-good soccer-themed ensemble Ted Lasso. The U.K.-set series also picked up statuettes for lead actor (Jason Sudeikis), supporting actress (Hannah Waddingham) and supporting actor (Brett Goldstein).

By evening's end, Netflix came out on top in another competitive show category — outstanding limited or anthology series — with a win for The Queen's Gambit, the acclaimed drama about a chess prodigy grappling with addiction on her way to the highest levels of international competition. In addition, Scott Frank, who adapted The Queen's Gambit from the novel by Walter Tevis, prevailed as outstanding director for a limited or anthology series.

The series wins were significant because they marked the first time that streaming services nabbed all three major program categories in the same year.

Sunday's telecast, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, was a decidedly different affair from last year, which was an all-remote production due to Covid-19. This year's ceremony, held on the Event Deck at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles, marked a return to a live audience — albeit limited in number due to ongoing precautions.

"I just want to acknowledge my fellow nominees," said an emotional Kate Winslet as she picked up her Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a limited or anthology series or movie for Mare of Easttown, the HBO drama about a murder investigation in a small Pennsylvania community. "In this decade that has to be about women having each other's backs, I support you. I salute you. I'm proud of all of you. Mare of Easttown was this cultural moment that brought people together and gave them something to talk about other than a global pandemic."

The series also won for supporting actor (Evan Peters) and supporting actress (Julianne Nicholson).

HBO Max, the streaming extension of HBO, celebrated its first Emmys ever with three wins for the freshman comedy Hacks: writing (Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, Jen Statsky), directing (Aniello) and outstanding lead actress, which went to Jean Smart as a veteran Las Vegas comedian whose manager pairs her with a millennial writer, played by Hannah Einbinder, in an effort to bring a contemporary perspective to her act.

As Smart, who received a rousing standing ovation as she walked to the stage, began her acceptance speech, she immediately made it personal. "I have to acknowledge my late husband, Richard Gilliland, who passed away six months ago," she said. "I would not be here if not for him." Gilliland was among those featured in the In Memoriam segment later in the evening.

With the exception of Josh O'Connor — winner for outstanding lead actor in a drama, who was at the L.A. ceremony — most of the other winners for The Crown — Olivia Colman (lead actress in a drama), Gillian Anderson (supporting actress in a drama), Peter Morgan (writing for a drama) and Jessica Hobbs (directing for a drama), in addition to outstanding drama — accepted their Emmys in the wee hours of the morning via Zoom, from a restaurant in London. (Tobias Menzies, winner for supporting actor in a drama, did not attend either gathering.)

The London group mentioned that they were expected at work in just a few hours. "I'd have put money on that not happening," noted a startled Colman, who then dedicated her win to her father, whom she lost during Covid.

While NBC's iconic comedy franchise Saturday Night Live picked up an Emmy for outstanding variety sketch series, other variety awards went to HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver — which received two awards (outstanding variety talk series, outstanding writing) — and to Showtime's Stephen Colbert's Election Night 2020: Democracy's Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020, which picked up the award for outstanding live variety special. Colbert, whose remarks included praise for his writers, dryly thanked "Ted Lasso for not being in this category."

RuPaul's Drag Race, from VH1, continued its dominance in the outstanding competition program category, for which it has won the gold for the past four years.

Other winners of the evening included Ewan McGregor, who took lead actor in a limited or anthology series movie for his performance in the title role of Netflix's Halston; Michaela Coel, for writing for a limited or anthology series or movie, for HBO's I May Destroy You (which she also starred in, co-produced and co-directed); and, for Disney+, the televised version of the Broadway musical Hamilton, which won for pre-recorded variety special.

In addition to the programming categories, the Television Academy’s prestigious Governors Award was presented to the iconic dancer, choreographer, director, producer and philanthropist Debbie Allen.

“I’m trying not to cry and be equal to the situation because it’s been many years in the making,” said Allen, who was introduced by Ava DuVernay, Michael Douglas, Jada Pinkett Smith and Ellen Pompeo. “It takes a lot of courage to be the only woman in the room most of the time. A lot of courage and creativity and fight and faith to believe that I could keep going, and I have, and I brought a whole lot of people with me.”

It was the third Emmy of the season for Allen — during the Creative Arts weekend, she won an award for outstanding television movie as a producer of Netflix’s Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square and for outstanding choreography for scripted programming, also for Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square.

When combined with results of the three Creative Arts ceremonies held the previous weekend, Netflix led all platforms with 44 Emmys for the year, followed by HBO/HBO Max with 19, Disney+ with 14 and Apple TV+ with 10.

NBC led the broadcast networks with eight.

Others with multiple wins included VH1 with six; ABC and FX Networks with three each; and two each for Adult Swim, CNN, Fox, National Geographic and Showtime.

Single winners were Apple TV, Facebook Watch, IFC, Oculus, Paramount+, Pluto TV, Quibi and YouTube.

A complete list of Emmy winners is available here.

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