Alright. So maybe the Homer Simpson animation that opened the show was a miss, but you know what was a bigger miss? “Green Book” winning Best Picture. We hope you enjoyed the big wins, the bits that actually landed and the sheen on Tony Shalhoub’s mustache. But, most of all, we hope you remember the times that we picked correctly, and that we told you so.
The TV Beat
Lead Actor in a Drama
The Winner: Billy Porter (“POSE”)
Since TIME Magazine obviously isn’t going to do it, it’s about time we label 2019 “The Year of Billy Porter.” After serving a look as instantly iconic as the tuxedo gown at this year’s Academy Awards, most celebrities would have stopped. After being carried into the Met Gala by a troupe of beefcakes — in all gold might I add — most celebrities would have lost their momentum. But Billy Porter is not most celebrities and, if this year is any indication, he will not be removing his foot from the collective neck of America anytime soon. No, I will not take up precious time gloating about how I told you so, and how I just might be the voice of high-brow taste. But I will take up your time to spearhead the campaign to get Billy Porter on Disney’s forthcoming “The Little Mermaid” album. Not only will this earn him the final “G” in his quest to the elusive E.G.O.T (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony), but it also will preemptively make “The Little Mermaid,” starring Halle Bailey, the Blackest film of 2020.
Lead Actress in a Limited Series
The Winner: Michelle Williams (“Fosse/Verdon”)
The (Honorary) Most Improved: Joey King (“The Act”)
OK. So maybe I’m not the pinnacle of high brow taste. I’m allowed to make mistakes! If it means anything, I am very satisfied that, if anyone, it was Michelle Williams that took home the prize for her performance as Gwen Verdon — even if my pick, Joey King, decisively proved herself to be “Most Improved.” The range, the career savvy to make the leap from “The Kissing Booth” to “The Act” in under a year should not go unnoticed. Her ability to not only keep up with, but to even steal scenes from living legend, Patricia Arquette should not go unnoticed. To contextualize my claim, imagine Noah Centineo holding his own alongside Bob Odenkirk. Now laugh because that would never happen. There’s always next year, Jo-Jo!
— Ally Owens, TV Beat Editor
Lead Actress in a Comedy
The Winner: Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”)
The Nine-Time Emmy Winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”)
Before this category was announced I declared that if Julia Louis-Dreyfus did win, I would cry. And if she didn’t win, I would also cry. So spoiler alert: I cried. Watching JLD lose in her final season as Selina Meyer, failing to break the record of straight wins in this category, was like a punch to the gut. I know this millionaire comedian has no idea who I am, and she sure doesn’t care who I am. But I really thought she had this one. That being said, if the winner couldn’t be JLD, I am thrilled it was another woman of three names, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. In fact, it was a huge night for PWB, taking home Lead Actress, Outstanding Comedy Writing and Outstanding Comedy Series (more on that later). Waller-Bridge crafted a character most women could connect to — sarcastic, sexy and deeply damaged. Not even Selina Meyer could rig that vote.
Outstanding Comedy Series
The Winner: “Fleabag”
May I just take this moment to say: I told you so. They all doubted me, they said it couldn’t happen. Yet here we are, the week after the Emmy’s, and “Fleabag,” a beauty of a show birthed from the magnificent brain of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, has an Emmy perched on its mantel. My reaction to this win? Shock, at first. As much faith as I had in “Fleabag,” I thought it was pretty certain the final season of “Veep” had this category in the bag. I would’ve been happy of course — “Veep” is the holy grail of which all comedy writing should be compared to. Yet my inevitable re-watch of “Fleabag” following its win has proven that this was not an upset nor an underdog story. There never has and never will be another show with the emotional depth yet comedic wit of “Fleabag,” and that deserves to be rewarded.
— Samantha Della Fera, Senior Arts Editor
The Winner: “Chernobyl”
As I said, this category was Craig Mazin’s “Chernobyl”’s to lose. While I still think “Fosse/Verdon” has the better performances and “When They See Us” packs the most emotional punch, “Chernobyl” excels in all of these categories, from the supposedly uncannily accurate recreations of the Soviet era to the pilot which has a valid argument for being the single best episode of TV in the entire year. The scenes including the firefighters are as pathos-inducing as others are thrilling, and “Chernobyl” is a worthy winner even among its stiff competition.
Lead Actor in a Comedy
The Winner: Bill Hader (“Barry”)
That’s two years in a row now for Bill Hader’s tour de force performance as the titular character in HBO’s “Barry.” And like I said in my prediction, this probably wasn’t even a close vote. What impresses me the most is just how convincing the fundamental changes are portrayed in the hitman-turned-actor and how Hader sells his endearing awkwardness. He is supported by other skillful performances by Sarah Goldberg, Anthony Carrrigan and Henry Winkler, but as much as he has the ability to play off their work, the fact that Barry is still repressed internally and carries the darkest of secrets forces him to ultimately take the lead and stand above the rest.
— Sayan Ghosh, Daily Arts Writer
Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
The Winner: Luke Kirby (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
The Robbed: John Mulaney (“Saturday Night Live”)
How could this happen? Was our favorite lanky comedian really robbed of an Emmy even after “Bodega Bathroom”? Even after two successful runs on SNL? Sure, everyone that’s been nominated for an Emmy has a “winner” edge to their work, but John Mulaney should have been the winner. His comedy is anecdotal, but always has a relatable quality to it, and he’s a model for what the future of comedy might look like. I’m sure Luke Kirby did a great job, but the disappointment that comes with Mulaney’s loss is one that is comparable to seeing your favorite teacher lose the “Teacher of the Year” award. You really loved that teacher, but you understand that maybe the winner was a little more popular. With consistency, your favorite teacher has a real chance in the running to win next year.
Variety Talk Show
The Winner: “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”
The Robbed (But Still Sexy): “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”
Let’s be honest here. Pretty much all variety talk shows today consist of similar material and jokes, because 99 percent of them draw from politics. After all, the Trump administration gives them plenty of comedic material to work with, and it’s nearly impossible to avert your eyes from the trainwreck that is American politics. So while all these hosts have their own spin on the happenings of the day, any one of them could have won and nobody would have been that surprised. Since “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” is on HBO, Oliver and his team can definitely push more boundaries in the comedy realm than the other networks can. So I get it. Everyone loves Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert, but there wasn’t much potential for this category to have a huge upset anyway. They could have drawn the winner from a hat.
— Sophia Yoon, Daily Arts Writer