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A review of Sunday night’s 73rd Emmy AwardsExBulletin

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Netflix’s Royal Family Drama The crown and Apple TV + comedy Ted lasso won major Emmys victories. Despite the honor of a list of deserving and beloved shows, the ceremony fell a bit flat.



RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I spent a few minutes before today’s show browsing the news for the big Emmy winners. I mean, this is news, right? It’s my job. Title – “Ted Lasso” and “The Crown” won big. But that’s not enough to satisfy my curiosity for rewards, so here’s NPR TV reviewer Eric Deggans to fill in the rest of the story.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Last night’s Emmy Awards kicked off with an anthem that promised a really fun party – a version of the late rapper Biz Markie’s hit “Just A Friend” adapted for the Emmy Awards, starring Rita Wilson, among others , rapping.

(73RD PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS TELECAST SOUNDBITE)

RITA WILSON: (Rapping) And this rap wouldn’t be complete. I have to shout “Sesame Street”.

DEGGANS: But as the rewards unfolded, that energy didn’t hold. In fact, it was surprising – especially for a contest where winners were widely expected, appreciated, and deserved – how dull it all was. Netflix’s “The Crown” took home seven awards last night, including Best Drama Series, its first victory in four nominations, but widely anticipated. Likewise, Apple TV + ‘s popular “Ted Lasso” had four wins, including Best Comedy Series and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, which went to a very horny Hannah Waddingham.

(73RD PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS TELECAST SOUNDBITE)

HANNAH WADDINGHAM: To my parents, whom I almost lost on filming this season, I’m so glad you’re here to see this moment.

DEGGANS: One of the most poignant speeches of the evening came from Jean Smart, winner of the Best Actress in a Comedy award for HBO Max’s “Hacks”. Smart, a television veteran who has become a fan favorite with a string of powerful performances on recent acclaimed shows like “Watchmen,” “Mare Of Easttown” and “Hacks,” received a standing ovation.

(73RD PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS TELECAST SOUNDBITE)

JEAN SMART: I have to thank my late husband, Richard Gilliland, who passed away six months yesterday. And I wouldn’t be here without him putting his career on hold so I can take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities I’ve had.

DEGGANS: But the evening also had a strange tension. Comic actor Seth Rogen addressed an issue when he noted that everyone seemed to be gathered in a relatively small space without a mask during a pandemic.

(73RD PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS TELECAST SOUNDBITE)

SETH ROGEN: Let me start by saying that there are far too many of us in this little room. They said it was outside. It’s not.

DEGGANS: The show also struggled with when to start the music for, let’s quote, “play” the winners who have spoken for too long. After Jean Smart’s music cut, Governors Award winner Debbie Allen made it clear that she did not tolerate anyone limiting her remarks.

(73RD PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS TELECAST SOUNDBITE)

DEBBIE ALLEN: It took a lot of courage to be the only woman in the room most of the time. Honey, turn off that clock. I don’t pay attention to it. Turn it off. Turn it off.

DEGGANS: Scott Frank, co-creator, writer and director of the best winner of the limited series “The Queen’s Gambit,” has drawn anger online by refusing to stop talking while accepting an Emmy for Best Director. Dropping the music a few times, he looked like the picture of Hollywood law, speaking longer than most of the other winners.

But what was most striking – no person of color won any of the twelve acting awards given out last night, despite the racial and ethnic diversity among the nominees and presenters. Michaela Coel, star of HBO’s limited series “I May Destroy You,” was one of the few non-white Emmy winners to speak out last night. She won a writing award for the program, which was loosely based on her own experience with sexual assault.

(73RD PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS TELECAST SOUNDBITE)

MICHAELA COEL: Write the story that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that isn’t comfortable. I dare you. I dedicate this story to every survivor of sexual assault. Thank you.

DEGGANS: Host Cedric the Entertainer seemed upgraded from the start. Despite some interesting jokes and a great pre-recorded skit with actors like Jason Alexander complaining about never winning an Emmy, it hasn’t been able to provide much spark. A great awards ceremony is a mix of good pace, good entertainment and a few surprises. Unfortunately, by offering a ceremony that was a little too predictable, a little too scripted, and a little too white, last night’s Emmy Awards failed in just about every category.

I am Eric Deggans.

(EXTRACT FROM “ELEVEN DAYS” BY AMBIENT JAZZ ENSEMBLE)

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