Design by Kate Shen

Like every award show, the Emmys had plenty of big wins, a number of snubs, a few questionable red carpet looks and whichever comedian they could wrangle into hosting. Some highlights of the evening include Jennifer Coolidge dancing to the outro music intended to cut her speech off, the “Only Murders in the Building” trio being the only presenters to land a joke and “The Bear” stars Ayo Edebiri and Jeremy Allen White presenting together (when he called her “chef,” my heart did melt, thank you for asking). No notable fist fights to report, but Jimmy Kimmel did “play dead” on the floor after losing in his nominated category. He then proceeded to lie there well after the bit was up and Quinta Brunson was called up to the stage to accept her award, which made the whole thing go from mildly awkward to outright disrespectful and interruptive to Quinta’s big win. I don’t know when we as a society will accept the fact that late-night show hosts are kind of the worst, but major props to Quinta for not kicking him right off the stage.

But alas, now we move on to the shows, the thing that the Emmys are actually about … right?  

Succession

Could any other show have truly won Outstanding Drama Series? I mean, come on, it’s “Succession.” A masterful depiction of a dysfunctionally filthy rich American corporate dynasty with an all-around treasure trove of an ensemble cast, each acting with the passion of a soap-opera character vying for the role of best scene-stealer. At a whopping 25 nominations, “Succession” dominated the rest of the pack, with 14 going to its actors alone, breaking the record for the most ever acting nominations for a series. Although it lost out on the main acting categories aside from Matthew MacFadyen’s well-earned Supporting Actor win, British creator Jesse Armstrong came out on top with an Outstanding Writing win for that iconic third season finale of finales, “All The Bells Say.” During his acceptance speech, Armstrong jokingly remarked that it was a “Big week for successions. New king in the U.K., this for us,” but that there was “evidently a bit more voting in our winning than Prince Charles.”  

Ted Lasso

After its acting category sweep last year, “Ted Lasso” is 2-0 for the gold and won Outstanding Comedy Series once again. In just two seasons, the Apple TV hit has racked up 40 nominations and 11 wins at the Emmys, with a notable win this year in the Outstanding Directing category for MJ Delaney and double streak acting wins for Jason Sudeikis and Brett Goldstein. Goldstein, consistent as ever, cheekily tried and failed to once again make it through his acceptance speech without swearing, an all too characteristic trait of his role as soccer player Roy Kent. At this point, a true Emmy-darling, the show’s second season proved that it was in fact not a one-season wonder. With all the heart of a sentimental underdog sports team and the sweet-talking optimism of nearly one too many puns, “Ted Lasso” is a kind, hopeful favorite among critics and viewers alike. 

The White Lotus

The HBO anthology series “The White Lotus,” which went viral during the pandemic era for its comical portrayal of wealthy privileged vacationers, took home five awards: Outstanding Limited Series, Directing, Writing and Supporting Actor and Actress. Almost every member of the main cast was nominated in the Supporting category, which goes to show just how solid everyone’s performance was. Jennifer Coolidge and Murray Bartlett were more than deserving of their wins, with Coolidge’s performance as Tanya McQuoid evoking some of the most cringey hilarious moments of the series, while Bartlett played a spiraling hotel manager whom you just couldn’t take your eyes off of. Speaking of Coolidge, her acceptance speech served to prove that her comedic timing knows absolutely no bounds. She had me literally gasping for air while laughing, when she shouted “Wait! Hold on!” as she danced to the outro music and continued on with her speech. Mike White won back-to-back awards for Writing and Directing, joking that his success has now increased his threat level à la “Survivor.” In short, White and the employees and guests of the White Lotus resort know how to make a showstopper first season.

Squid Game

Continuing the “Squid Game” hype streak, Lee Jung-jae took home the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, making history as the first Asian man to win in the category and the first winner in the category to come from a non-English show. Hwang Dong-hyuk triumphed in the director category, promising a better second season of “Squid Game” in his acceptance speech, which was ironic considering just how many records the first season broke. Considering the anxiety that “Red Light, Green Light” put me through, the win came as no surprise. I got some flashbacks when I saw that doll on stage. “Squid Game” effectively changed the genre of dystopian TV with a season that was equal parts terrifying and thought-provoking. The series served as a platform to showcase the absolute powerhouse that is the Korean film and TV industry, evidenced by the fact that it is still the most-watched series on Netflix since its release on Sept. 21, 2022, holding onto its number one spot even after the release of season four of “Stranger Things.” Season two of “Squid Game” is highly anticipated, although it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting it for another two or so years.

Abbott Elementary

As one of the few network comedies still in the running at these award shows, “Abbott Elementary” revitalized the sitcom genre this year and quickly became one of the most popular comedy series on the air. The mockumentary-style sitcom features a strong ensemble cast, with Emmy-nominated recognition for its creator, writer and star Brunson, as well as its supporting cast Tyler James Williams and Janelle James, with a monumental win for Sheryl Lee Ralph. With seven nominations and three historic wins, Brunson became the second Black woman ever to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series. Its first season hit all the right notes, equally hilarious and heartwarming, with all the signs of a sitcom classic in the making, so be sure to tune in for season two, premiering Wednesday, Sept. 21, on ABC.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Winner: Zendaya, “Euphoria”

Zendaya has made history yet again, but are any of us surprised? Last year, Zendaya became the youngest person ever to win the award for Lead Actress in a Drama Series. In picking up her second Emmy for “Euphoria,” she became the youngest person ever to win the award twice, as well as the first Black woman to win twice in the category. In the second season of “Euphoria,” Zendaya explores a darker side of her character, Rue. In the throes of her drug addiction, Rue experiences some of the lowest moments that we’ve seen on screen. Episode 5, titled “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird,” portrays Rue at her rock bottom after her mom and Jules confiscate her drug stash. Zendaya puts on what only could have been one of the most exhausting performances of her career as Rue violently lashes out at her loved ones and finds herself in incredibly precarious positions. Zendaya beat out the likes of Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, Reese Witherspoon and others in a highly competitive category to take home the well-deserved win. Her speech was almost as impressive as her performance, as Zendaya delivered a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has shared their stories with her and connected with her character for any number of reasons. This is by no means a hot take, but Zendaya is a national treasure.

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Winner: Matthew MacFadyen, “Succession”

In perhaps the most “Succession” move of the night, Tom came out on top … and all three of the Roy siblings went home empty-handed. And so life imitates art once again. Billy Crudup, who previously won the award in 2019 for his role in “The Morning Show,” was a strong contender, as well as two of MacFadyen’s fellow “Succession” co-stars, Nicholas Braun and Kieran Culkin. Although Culkin’s performance on the show is hardly anything less than a master class in comedic-dramatic acting, MacFadyen definitely deserved the win this season with his portrayal of Tom Wambsgans, a highly ambitious and unpredictable opportunist whose evolution over the course of three seasons has made him quite the fan-favorite in a sea of scene-stealing performances. MacFadyen more than holds his own, and it all seems to have finally paid off for both him and Tom. After all, “you can’t make a Tomlette without breaking some Greggs.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Winner: Julia Garner, “Ozark”

Four-time Emmy nominee and three-time winner Julia Garner has won an Emmy for her portrayal of Ruth Langmore for three straight seasons of Netflix’s “Ozark,” tying the current record for most consecutive wins. An impressive feat for a category annually stacked with some of the year’s most emotionally intense, profoundly moving performances; this time featuring Sydney Sweeney of “Euphoria,” both Sarah Snook and J. Smith Cameron of “Succession,” Rhea Seehorn of “Better Call Saul,” Christina Ricci of “Yellowjackets,” Jung Ho-yeon of “Squid Game” and Patricia Arquette of “Severance.” Again, a packed category that could’ve easily gone to about half of them, but Garner pulled through once again. 

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Winner: Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”

Not a huge surprise here, folks. Sudeikis may play the perpetual underdog on screen, but after his Emmy win for “Ted Lasso” last year, he was certainly a (well-deserved) shoo-in this time around. His earnestly wholesome, genuine portrayal of the titular character holds that show together like glue with those corny, pun-filled dad jokes and Southern drawl to boot, so convincing I often forget what Sudeikis sounds like in actuality. Even while up against clear comedy veterans of the category – Bill Hader, who previously took home the Emmy for “Barry” in 2018 and 2019, Donald Glover who won in 2017 for “Atlanta” and all-stars Steve Martin and Martin Short – you can’t help but root for his well-earned win.

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Winner: Jean Smart, “Hacks”

As her fifth award and 12th nomination, this is hardly Jean Smart’s first Emmy rodeo. The “Hacks” star is on a hot streak from winning this same award last year for her portrayal of Deborah Vance, a legendary stand-up comedienne. A tight race nonetheless between her and Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan, who’s been nominated in this category for all four consecutive years of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” three-time nominee Issa Rae for “Insecure,” two-time nominee Kaley Cuoco for “The Flight Attendant” and first-time nominees Elle Fanning for “The Great” and Quinta Brunson for “Abbott Elementary.” In her acceptance speech, Smart thanked Brosnahan, who sent each of her fellow nominees a gift box of designer cookies, which she thought was “so nice and classy… until I realized that she was hoping that I wouldn’t be able to fit into a single dress in Hollywood. Thanks anyway.” 

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Winner: Brett Goldstein, “Ted Lasso”

Award shows always hype up the big categories of the night, for best series and best lead actor or actress, but the supporting acting categories are quietly some of the stiffest competitions. Tough to predict ahead of time, and almost always neck and neck, this year was no exception. Goldstein, with his hilarious yet emotionally-charged intensity, was the obvious choice after his win last year, but either of his “Ted Lasso” co-stars could’ve easily taken home the gold. Henry Winkler and Anthony Carrigan each gave strong performances on “Barry” this season, Tyler James Williams took the throne for Jim Halpert’s signature sitcom stare and Bowen Yang remains one of the brightest spots of “SNL” season after season. And Tony Shalhoub, I’m so sorry, you’re a five-time Emmy-winner in my heart. 

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Winner: Sheryl Lee Ralph, “Abbott Elementary”

Once again, nothing but all-stars here in my book, but this was Ralph’s moment and her moment alone. And what a moment it was. In one of the best award acceptance speeches I’ve ever witnessed, Ralph took to the stage and gave a breathtaking performance of Dianne Reeves’s “Endangered Species” before thanking “Abbott Elementary” creator and star Brunson. Whenever I hear about those obscenely long, 12-minute standing ovations that happen at film festivals, I’m always like, “That’s a little ridiculous, there’s no way it was that good.” Well, this was a 12-minute-standing-ovation type of speech for a 12-minute-standing-ovation type of performance. Ralph’s work in “Abbott Elementary” is the stuff of sitcom gold, with the kind of venerable presence only a true master of their craft can give. Give her all the flowers, please.

Lead Actress in a Limited Series

Winner: Amanda Seyfried, “The Dropout”

Actress (and in my opinion, all-around superstar) Amanda Seyfried won the award for Lead Actress in a Limited Series for her picture-perfect portrayal of disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. From the all-black outfit, awkward dancing and fake deep voice, Seyfried nailed the Holmes impression, creating some incredible moments on screen during which I laughed, covered my eyes or simply screamed at the television. And while Julia Garner as Anna Delvey also brought out all those emotions, Seyfried was simply the star here. I could never believe that someone as fundamentally cool as Seyfried would be able to play possibly the most awkward character known to man. Hats off.

Honorable Mentions

The award for Outstanding Snub goes to none other than “Better Call Saul.” The “Breaking Bad” prequel series aired its final season this year, and after 46 nominations over its six-season run, it did not win a single Emmy. Other considerable condolences should be made out to “Only Murders in the Building,” “Yellowjackets” and “This is Us” (seriously, Mandy Moore should be entitled to financial compensation at this point). And last but not least, last Monday was the Emmys for most of us, but for double nominee Sydney Sweeney, it was just another birthday. Much love to everyone and happy birthday Sydney! And that concludes the graveyard of Emmy losers. May they rest in TV peace.

Daily Arts Writer Serena Irani can be reached at seirani@umich.edu

Daily Arts Writer Swara Ramaswamy can be reached at swararam@umich.edu.