© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Juggernauts Repeat At 2016 Emmys, But Fresh Faces Get Their Due

Gabriel Olsen
FilmMagic/Getty Images

It was the night of the small-screen giants. And none stood taller at the 2016 Emmys than the HBO juggernauts Game of Thrones and Veep, which won for best drama and comedy series, respectively. The People v. O.J. Simpson also won the Emmy for outstanding limited series.

Game of Thrones and VEEP may have pulled off repeat wins at Sunday's Emmy Awards, but there was also plenty of room for fresh faces in the winner's circle.

First-time nominee Rami Malek won best drama actor for his role as on USA's Mr. Robot as delusional hacker Elliot Alderson. "Please tell me you're seeing this, too," Malek quipped before noting there was probably a bit of the alienated Alderson in all of us.

Tatiana Maslany, who plays several different clones of the same woman on the sci-fi series Orphan Black, was a surprise winner as best drama actress; fans of the show often complained in its early years that her acting achievements weren't recognized by the Emmys.

The comedy categories were a bit more predictable. VEEP star Julia Louis-Dreyfus earned her fifth consecutive Emmy as best comedy actress – her seventh Emmy as a performer, in total – equaling the total by Mary Tyler Moore and Allison Janney. She choked up while accepting her award, dedicating it to her father, who she said had passed away on Friday.

Transparentstar Jeffrey Tambor was named best actor in a comedy; his second consecutive Emmy win. Tambor used his acceptance speech to advocate that the producers and TV executives in the room hire more transgender performers to play transgender characters.

"Please give transgender talent a chance," said Tambor, who is himself a non-transgender actor playing a transgender character. "I would not be unhappy were I the last cisgender male to play a female transgender on television."

Host Jimmy Kimmel even managed a joke about how the dark and often dramatic Transparentwound up competing in the Emmys as a comedy, noting the show "was born as a drama, but it identifies as a comedy."

Kimmel proved a nimble and snarky host, tweaking GOP presidential candidate (and former Celebrity Apprentice star) Donald Trump as a creation of reality TV and starting the awards with a pre-taped comedy bit that included former GOP candidate Jeb Bush playing a limo driver. The comic handed out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the crowd and drew gasps by having the show's announcer note that the next presenter would be Bill Cosby, now facing trial on sexual assault charges.

"He's not really here," Kimmel joked, walking onstage after the camera had shown several shocked celebrities in the audience. "I just wanted to see what you guys would do."

FX's People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story ruled much of the limited series category, with big wins for Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown and Courtney B. Vance, who played Simpson prosecutors Marcia Clark and Chris Darden and Simpson defense attorney Johnnie Cochrane, respectively.

Paulson even apologized during her acceptance speech for originally joining the world back during the time of the Simpson trial in adopting a "superficial" opinion of Clark, who attended the Emmys Sunday with the actress.

On the heels of continued debate about diversity in Hollywood, the Emmy awards honored a wide variety of performers, writers, directors and producers. Key wins for people of color and women included: Master of None's Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang (writing in a comedy series), Transparent's Jill Soloway (directing, comedy series), Key & Peele (variety sketch series), American Crime's Regina King (supporting actress, limited series). Such diversity ensured organizers never had to worry about a hashtag like #EmmysSoWhite trending.

The show even concluded at its scheduled time, with no extra padding. It added up to an Emmycast which deftly honored longtime achievers while shining a spotlight on new talents, delivering an awards show worthy of TV's current Golden Age.

NPR's TV critic, Eric Deggans, along with Glen Weldon and Linda Holmes of Monkey See, offered commentary on the show in real time. Dig back into their tweets as the night went on below — or find all the fun right here on Twitter.

Below, you'll find a list of all the nominees and winners. Find the winners in bold.

Best Drama Series

The Americans(FX)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
House of Cards (Netflix)
Downton Abbey (PBS)
Better Call Saul (AMC)
Mr. Robot (USA)
Homeland (Showtime)

Best Comedy Series

Veep (HBO)
Transparent (Amazon)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
Modern Family (ABC)
Master of None (Netflix)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Black-ish (ABC)

Best Actor in a Drama Series

Kyle Chandler ( Bloodline)
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)
Bob Odenkirk ( Better Call Saul)
Matthew Rhys ( The Americans)
Liev Schreiber ( Ray Donovan)
Kevin Spacey ( House of Cards)

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Viola Davis ( How to Get Away With Murder)
Claire Danes ( Homeland)
Taraji P. Henson ( Empire)
Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)
Keri Russell (The Americans)
Robin Wright ( House of Cards)

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson ( Black-ish)
Aziz Ansari ( Master of None)
Will Forte ( The Last Man on Earth)
William H. Macy ( Shameless)
Thomas Middleditch ( Silicon Valley)
Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

Ellie Kemper ( Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
Laurie Metcalf ( Getting On)
Tracee Ellis Ross ( Black-ish)
Amy Schumer ( Inside Amy Schumer)
Lily Tomlin ( Grace and Frankie)

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Jonathan Banks ( Better Call Saul)
Peter Dinklage ( Game of Thrones)
Kit Harington ( Game of Thrones)
Michael Kelly ( House of Cards)
Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline)
Jon Voight ( Ray Donovan)

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Emilia Clarke ( Game of Thrones)
Lena Headey ( Game of Thrones)
Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)
Maura Tierney ( The Affair)
Maisie Williams ( Game of Thrones)
Constance Zimmer ( UnREAL)

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Louie Anderson (Baskets)
Andre Braugher ( Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Ty Burrell ( Modern Family)
Tituss Burgess ( Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Tony Hale ( Veep)
Keegan-Michael Key ( Key and Peele)
Matt Walsh ( Veep)

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Anna Chlumsky ( Veep)
Gaby Hoffmann ( Transparent)
Allison Janney ( Mom)
Judith Light ( Transparent)
Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)
Niecy Nash ( Getting On)

B est Directing for a Comedy Series

Jill Soloway (Transparent)
Aziz Ansari ( Master Of None)
Alec Berg ( Silicon Valley)
Mike Judge (Silicon Valley)
Dave Mandel ( Veep)
Chris Addison (Veep)
Dale Stern (Veep)

Best Limited Series

American Crime (ABC)
Fargo (FX)
The Night Manager (AMC)
The People v. O.J. Simpson (FX)
Roots (History)

Best Television Movie

A Very Murray Christmas (Netflix)
All the Way (HBO)
Confirmation (HBO)
Luther (BBC One)
Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (PBS)

Best Actor in a Limited Series or a Television Movie

Bryan Cranston ( All the Way)
Benedict Cumberbatch ( Sherlock: The Abominable Bride)
Idris Elba ( Luther)
Cuba Gooding Jr. ( The People v. O.J. Simpson)
Tom Hiddleston ( The Night Manager)
Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O.J. Simpson)

Best Actress in a Limited Series or a Television Movie

Kirsten Dunst ( Fargo)
Felicity Huffman ( American Crime)
Audra McDonald ( Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill)
Sarah Paulson (The People v. O.J. Simpson)
Lili Taylor ( American Crime)
Kerry Washington ( Confirmation)

Best Writing for a Limited Series or Movie

Bob DeLaurentis ( Fargo)
Noah Hawley ( Fargo)
D.V. DeVincentis (The People v. O.J. Simpson)
Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story)
Joe Robert Cole (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story)

Best Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Special

Jay Roach, ( All The Way)
Susanne Bier (The Night Manager)
Noah Hawley (Fargo)
Ryan Murphy ( The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story)
Anthony Hemingway ( The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story)
John Singleton ( The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story)

Best Directing for a Drama Series

Miguel Sapochnik (Game of Thrones)
Michael Engler (Downton Abbey)
Jack Bender ( Game Of Thrones)
Lesli Linka Glatter ( Homeland)
Steven Soderbergh ( The Knick)
David Hollander ( Ray Donovan)

Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Television Movie

Sterling K. Brown (The People v. O.J. Simpson)
Hugh Laurie ( The Night Manager)
Jesse Plemons ( Fargo)
David Schwimmer ( The People v. O.J. Simpson)
John Travolta ( The People v. O.J. Simpson)
Bokeem Woodbine ( Fargo)

Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Television Movie

Kathy Bates ( American Horror Story: Hotel)
Olivia Colman ( The Night Manager)
Regina King (American Crime)
Melissa Leo ( All the Way)
Sarah Paulson ( American Horror Story: Hotel)
Jean Smart ( Fargo)

Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Hank Azaria (Ray Donovan)
Mahershala Ali ( House of Cards)
Reg E. Cathey ( House of Cards)
Michael J. Fox ( The Good Wife)
Paul Sparks ( House of Cards)
Max von Sydow ( Game of Thrones)

Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series

Margo Martindale (The Americans)
Ellen Burstyn ( House of Cards)
Allison Janney ( Masters of Sex)
Laurie Metcalf ( Horace and Pete)
Molly Parker ( House of Cards)
Carrie Preston ( The Good Wife)

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

Peter Scolari (Girls)
Larry David ( Saturday Night Live)
Tracy Morgan ( Saturday Night Live)
Martin Mull ( Veep)
Bob Newhart ( The Big Bang Theory)
Bradley Whitford ( Transparent)

Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

Tina Fey & Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live)
Christine Baranski ( The Big Bang Theory)
Melora Hardin ( Transparent)
Melissa McCarthy ( Saturday Night Live)
Laurie Metcalf ( The Big Bang Theory)
Amy Schumer ( Saturday Night Live)

Best Variety Talk Series

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee(Crackle)
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS)
Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC)

Best Directing for a Variety Show

Beth McCarthy-Miller ( Adele Live In New York City)
Chris Rock ( Amy Schumer: Live At The Apollo)
Thomas Kail and Alex Rudzinski (Grease: Live)
Louis J. Horvitz ( 58th Grammy Awards)
Glenn Weiss ( The Kennedy Center Honors)
Kahlil Joseph, Beyoncé Knowles Carter ( Lemonade)

Best Variety Sketch Series

Documentary Now!(IFC)
Drunk History (Comedy Central)
Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
Key & Peele (Comedy Central)
Portlandia (IFC)
Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Best Special Class Program

Grease Live! (FOX)
73rd Golden Globe Awards (NBC)
The Oscars (ABC)
Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show (CBS)
69th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)

Best Variety Special

The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Prime Time Special(CBS) (WINNER)
Adele Live in New York City (NBC)
Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo (HBO)
Kennedy Center Honors (CBS)
Lemonade (HBO)

Best Reality-Competition Program

The Amazing Race (CBS)
American Ninja Warrior (NBC)
Dancing With the Stars (ABC)
Project Runway (Lifetime)
Top Chef (Bravo)
The Voice (NBC)

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition

RuPaul Charles (RuPaul's Drag Race)
Ryan Seacrest ( American Idol)
Tom Bergeron ( Dancing With the Stars)
Jane Lynch ( Hollywood Game Night)
Steve Harvey ( Little Big Shots)
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn ( Project Runway)

Best Structured Reality Program

Shark Tank (ABC)
Antiques Roadshow (PBS)
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (Food Network)
Lip Sync Battle (Spike)
MythBusters (Discovery Channel)
Undercover Boss (CBS)

Best Unstructured Reality Program

Born This Way (A&E)
Deadliest Catch (Discovery Channel)
Gaycation With Ellen Page (Viceland)
Intervention (A&E)
Project Greenlight (HBO)
United Shades of America (CNN)

Best Documentary or Nonfiction Special

What Happened, Miss Simone? (Netflix)
Becoming Mike Nichols (HBO)
Everything is Copy — Nora Ephron: Scripted & Unscripted (HBO)
Listen to Me Marlon (Showtime)
Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (HBO)

Best Documentary or Nonfiction Series

Making a Murderer (Netflix)
American Masters (PBS)
Chef's Table (Netflix)
The Seventies (CNN)
Woman With Gloria Steinem (Viceland)

Best Limited Series

The People v. OJ Simpson
American Crime
The Night Manager

Best Writing for a Variety Special
Patton Oswalt (Talking For Clapping)
Amy Schumer (Amy Schumer: Live At The Apollo)
John Mulaney (John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid)
Tig Notaro (Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted)
(Triumph's Election Special 2016)

Best Informational Series or Special

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (CNN)
Inside the Actors Studio (Bravo)
Star Talk With Neil deGrasse Tyson (National Geographic Channel)
The Story of God With Morgan Freeman (National Geographic Channel)
Vice (HBO)

Best Writing for a Drama Series

The Americans, "Persona Non Grata" (FX), Written by Joel fields, Joe Weisenberg
Downton Abbey, "Episode 8" (PBS), Writen by Julian Fellowes
Game of Thrones, "Battle Of The Bastards"(HBO), Written by David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
The Good Wife, "End" (CBS), Written by Robert King, Michelle King
Mr. Robot, "eps1.0_hellofriend.mov" (USA), Written by Sam Esmail
UnREAL, "Return" (Lifetime), Written by Marti Noxon, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro

Best Writing for a Comedy Series

Catastrophe, "Episode 1" (Amazon), Written by Rob Delaney, Sharon Horgan
Master of None, "Parents" (Netflix), Written by Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang
Silicon Valley, "Founder Friendly" (HBO), Written by Dan O'Keefe
Sillicon Valley, "The Uptick" (HBO), Written by Alec Berg
Veep , "Morning After" (HBO), Written by Alec Berg
Veep , "Mother"(HBO), Written by Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Colin Dwyer covers breaking news for NPR. He reports on a wide array of subjects — from politics in Latin America and the Middle East, to the latest developments in sports and scientific research.
Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.