Fleabag amongst the winners at the 2019 Emmys
The 2019 Emmys had a lot of intriguing storylines going into the night. One of the biggest was that “Game of Thrones“ had the most nominations in one year by a single TV Show in addition to the fact that it was its last season. This despite the controversy surrounding the season with many fans not enjoying it at all.
Other storylines included that the Emmys did not have a host, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was looking to become the most decorated performer in Emmy history, and another swan song for another popular Emmys show, “Veep”. While these storylines were still prevalent once the night had ended, other history had ended, and some surprisingly big winners had emerged as well.
Fleabag and Phoebe Waller-Bridge become unexpected huge winners
By far the most surprising and biggest winner of the night had to be Phoebe Waller-Bridge and her show, “Fleabag”, an Amazon Original Series. The show won a large portion of the comedy series awards, 6 to be exact, according to the Emmys website.
Waller-Bridge herself won three awards, starting off with winning for Outstanding Writing, then pulling off the biggest shocker of the night with her Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, upsetting Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who had won every other year she had been nominated for her role in “Veep”. Finally, “Fleabag” won for Best Comedy Series, which Waller-Bridge had created, and serves as Executive Producer for the show.
Beyond the wins, the show itself is a great story. According to CNBC, she originally wrote the story as only a 10 minute sketch for a friend who needed to fill a slot at a comedy show, although she was reluctant. Waller-Bridge stated that she is grateful that her friend kept on pressuring her to actually write it. The sketch was an instant hit with both the audience and her friend, who insisted she write a full-length play based on the sketch. The play then turned into a show, the show eventually got her a deal with Amazon, and her career has soared ever since.
Interesting Bits without a Host
There have always been interesting presenter bits in every awards show, and some always end up resonating with audiences better than others. This year for the Emmys was no exception, with many obscure and unique approaches to being a memorable presenter.
One that definitely comes to mind is when Ben Stiller went on stage to present, and went through wax museum replicas of Comedy legends such as George Burns and Lucille Ball according to Variety, making it seem very weird/uncomfortable that these wholesome and unique people be recreated with wax, but then the joke hit home when he moved on to Bob Newhart, who is not dead, but is in fact still alive and ready to crack jokes that still make us laugh.
Another interesting presenter bit was that of Ken Jeong. He essentially had the entire Emmy crowd scream at his phone so he could help his daughter finish a Tik Tok. It seems to have gotten inspiration from Ellen’s viral Twitter photo from the Oscars a few years ago, but this seemed a lot more forced and rushed, and more like an advertisement for Tik Tok than anything else.
Adam DeVine, perhaps best known for his role as Bumper from Pitch Perfect, did a musical number that was quite eccentric and too random to be seen as a success. Overall, the no host approach seemed like it was so unorganized, and the show itself was its typical too long, boring self that seemed to drag on forever and ever.
Memorable Speeches, Historical Win
Perhaps the most important moment of the night, and the biggest moment, was when Billy Porter made history by becoming the first openly gay black man to win lead actor in a drama category, according to the Los Angeles Times. He won for his portrayal as Pray Tell in the series “Pose”, which is set in the world of 1987 and "looks at the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York: the rise of the luxury universe, the downtown social and literary scene and the ball culture world,” according to their IMDB page. Before “Pose”, Porter was almost solely working on the stage, but the series finally gave him his breakthrough that he had been looking for.
Another powerful moment came along when Jharrel Jerome won for lead actor in a limited series, and then subsequently in his speech, raised his fist to the exonerated five, also stating “I think our strongest stories are the stories of pain considering that's what we go through on a regular basis. … I think the truth is our pain needs to be told," according to The Hollywood Reporter. He felt especially proud that he won for a story that depicts the pain that African Americans endure on a regular basis.
More memorable speeches include Michelle Williams’ speech about gender pay inequality, especially black ones, referencing how a black woman makes 52 cents on the dollar that a white male make, and then Patricia Arquette speaking out about transgender rights while paying tribute to her sister, Alexis, who was transgender and died due to HIV, according to the New York Times. Overall, the awards show was heavy on memorable moments, and powerful speeches, but lacking on entertainment, and did not fix the typical boringness of an awards show.
You can find all the winners and losers of the night here.