‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ lives up to its name at the Emmys
The 70th annual Emmy Awards was dedicated to making amends.
Amy Sherman-Palladino, ignored by the Emmy Awards during the six years she steered “Gilmore Girls,” became the first woman to capture a “triple crown” Monday at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater. Her Amazon series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” took the award for outstanding comedy series in its rookie season, upsetting odds-on favorite “Atlanta,” while Sherman-Palladino was honored for writing and directing the pilot episode.
“My panic room is going to be so pretty,” she said while picking up her second award of the night.
The series solidified its dominance with wins for star Rachel Brosnahan and supporting actress Alex Bornstein, who was originally cast in the role of Sookie in “Gilmore Girls,” but had to drop out when Fox wouldn’t let her out of her commitment to “Mad TV.” The part ended up going to Melissa McCarthy — and you know what happened to her.
Henry Winkler also enjoyed a moment Monday. Despite creating the Fonz, one of TV’s most iconic characters, the “Happy Days” veteran had never won a prime-time Emmy until he was named comedy’s best supporting actor for his work in HBO’s “Barry.”
As with Minnesotan Louie Anderson’s win two years ago in the same category, it felt like the television academy was honoring Winkler more for his career and good spirits than for his latest role, as the self-centered acting coach to a hitman. Winkler didn’t seem to mind.
“I wrote this 43 years ago,” he said during his exuberant acceptance speech.
Not that “Barry” was purely a vehicle for Winkler’s sentimental journey. Its star and co-creator, Bill Hader, was named outstanding actor, an award many expected would go to “Atlanta’s” Donald Glover, who won last year. Hader had 10 previous nominations, but the former “Saturday Night Live” star had taken home only one trophy, as a co-producer of “South Park.”
“The Americans,” which just concluded its last season, finally got some love with trophies for lead actor Matthew Rhys and the show’s writers. In six seasons on the air, the FX espionage drama’s had won only twice, thanks both times to guest actress Margo Martindale.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” was the best reality-competition program, joining an exclusive club. Only “The Amazing Race,” “The Voice” and “Top Chef” have won this category since it was created in 2003.
Claire Foy (“The Crown”) hasn’t been around long enough to fit into the better-late-than-never storyline, but her win for best actress in a drama was the evening’s big surprise, one that kept “Handmaid’s” Elisabeth Moss from repeating.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen,” she said, choking back tears as she dedicated the award to the “next generation” of the Netflix series, which will jump forward in time next season with a largely new cast.
“Handmaid” was shut out of the major categories, but veterans weren’t completely ignored. After a year off, “Game of Thrones” was named outstanding drama for the third time and its breakout star, Peter Dinklage, also scored a three-peat. Jeff Daniels (“Godless”) and John Oliver (“Last Week Tonight”) both returned to the winner’s circle.
Ryan Murphy’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” was named best limited series. The previous installment of “Crime Story,” focusing on the O.J. Simpson trial, won two years earlier.
Network TV’s status continued to slide, with only a pair of wins. NBC warhorse “SNL” won for best variety series and its cast was front and center throughout the telecast, in large part because it was produced by “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels. Kate Mc-Kinnon, Andy Samberg and Kenan Thompson joined in a musical opener poking holes in the theory that TV has finally solved its diversity problem.
In fact, no people of color made it to the winner’s circle until late in the second hour, when Regina King was honored for “Seven Seconds” (a Netflix series hardly anybody saw) and Thandie Newton for “Westworld” (a series everyone pretended to see). “Atlanta,” poised to join “The Cosby Show” as the only outstanding-comedy winner with a predominantly black cast, went home empty-handed.
As hosts, “SNL” news anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost played it relatively safe, mostly avoiding jokes about former CBS chairman Les Moonves, who resigned after accusations of sexual misconduct. They didn’t shy away from “Roseanne,” though. Che noted that a nomination for co-star Laurie Metcalf was akin to “nominating a cop for a BET Award.”
But all the comics’ hijinks couldn’t match Glenn Weiss’ bit. While accepting an award for directing the Oscars, he beckoned his girlfriend to the stage and proposed to her, giving her a ring that belonged to his mother, who passed away two weeks ago.
Oh, she said yes.
Neal Justin • 612-673-7431 • @nealjustin