The 2016 Emmys: Paying homage to the year’s best in TV

by Chelsea Cabral, Staff Writer

Awards season has finally kicked off! It’s the time of the year where the biggest celebrities come together on one stage to gather round, look their best, and celebrate each other and all of their many accomplishments in the industry.

The anticipated Emmy Awards aired on Sunday, September 18, and the show was jam-packed with memorable events, surprising winners and losers, and an interesting hosting gig from comedian Jimmy Kimmel.

This year’s Emmys were all about FX’s riveting and critically acclaimed new show The People v. O.J. Simpson.

Ryan Murphy’s awesome new miniseries dominated The Emmys, winning five awards (the most of the night) including best limited series, best writing for a limited series, best actor, best actress, and best supporting actor in a limited series.

The success of the enthralling O.J. series set the tone for the night as talented Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Vance and Sterling K. Brown all scored their first Emmy wins.

Newcomer Rami Malek also won his first Emmy as well in a race for best actor in a drama, for his role as the vigilant computer hacker in USA’s Mr. Robot.

Surprisingly, Tatiana Maslany took home the award for best actress in a drama series for her numerous roles in BBC America’s Orphan Black, beating out stars like Claire Danes, Robin Wright and last year’s amazing winner, Viola Davis for How to Get Away With Murder.

And of course, who could forget HBO’s irresistible Game of Thrones, who also had a great night, picking up the best drama award for a second consecutive year.

The show also made history by surpassing Frasier as the fictional television program with the most Primetime Emmy Awards with 38 wins in six seasons.

It was also a big night for Sarah Paulson who finally won her first Emmy award since being nominated every year since 2012 for roles in Game Change and Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story anthology.

Her stellar performance as Marcia Clark, the head prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson case, earned her the grand award, and she had even brought the real-life Marcia Clark to the award show with her!

When accepting her award she paid tribute to Clark and apologized for misperceiving her, as much of the public did at that time of the Simpson trial.

Paulson lamented, “I think an apology was in order…I do feel like there was a collective failing of women during the trial.”

She continued her speech by saying, “I along with the rest of the world had been superficial and careless with my judgement.”

If one thing was apparent during the awards, it was that television is slowly becoming a more diverse landscape, and this year’s Emmys can definitely account to that—certainly when compared to the highly criticized “white-washed” night of the 2016 Oscars.

Nearly two dozen minority actors were nominated for Emmys this year, following Viola Davis’s superb acting victory just one year ago.

That said, we still have a long way to go before people are fully represented on the screen.

Today, TV has a wider range of unique character roles and storylines that would have never even existed even a decade ago—and as host Kimmel jested during the show is that the only thing Hollywood values more than diversity is congratulating itself for being diverse.

Alan Young, co-creater of the Netflix series Master of None, was one who called for further diversity in the industry in his acceptance speech for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.

Young said, “There’s 17 million Italian Americans. They have The Godfather, Goodfellas, Rocky, The Sopranos. We got Long Duk Dong [which is a character from the film Sixteen Candles], so we’ve got a long way to go. But I know we can get there…Asian parents out there, if you could just do me a favor, if just a couple of you get your kids cameras instead of violins, we’ll be all good.”

Jeffrey Tambor, a repeat winner for the second year in a row, won for his role as transgender woman Maura Pfefferman on Amazon’s Transparent.

During his acceptance speech he urged Hollywood to “give transgender a chance” by suggesting that cisgendered actors shouldn’t be the ones to tell trans stories.

“I would not be unhappy were I the last cisgender male to play a transgender woman on television,” says Tambor during his stirring Emmy speech.

Amongst a night of strong support for the trans community, the embracement of a slightly more diverse television landscape, and the super cute kids of Stranger Things dancing to “Uptown Funk” and passing out PB&J sandwiches to the audience, the Emmy Awards highlight once again the great achievements of television in our era.

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