Award Season Underway with the 74th Annual Primetime Emmys

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This year’s awards season returns with the Primetime Emmys. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Nicole DiPietro, Contributing Writer

Monday, Sept. 12, awards season kicked off at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles with the 74th Primetime Emmys. Celebrating artistic and technical achievement in the industry, winning an Emmy is one of the most prestigious awards in Hollywood. This year’s show was hosted by actor and comedian Kenan Thompson, who kicked off the ceremony with an elaborate dance number to TV’s most recognized theme songs. Included in the spectacle were themes of “Friends,” “Stranger Things,” “Law and Order” and “Game of Thrones.” The comedian also cracked plenty of jokes throughout the night, starting by mentioning actress Zendaya Coleman’s recent 26th birthday. He joked: “Zendaya just turned 26. Twenty-six is a weird age in Hollywood. Young enough to play a high school student, but too old to date Leonardo DiCaprio.” 

Everyone’s favorite part of any televised event has got to be the glamorous red carpet looks preceding the true show, and the Emmys are no exception. This year some fan-favorite looks included Zendaya, wearing an elegant black ball gown and choker; Sydney Sweeney, sporting a delicate floral piece; and Sandra Oh, opting for a sparkling purple suit with a plunging neckline. On the flip, men on the red carpet normally deliver a cut-and-paste black suit, but some of the better looks of the night surely delivered. Those who went above and beyond were Colman Domingo, Lee Jung-Jae and Nicholas Braun.

The nominations for the 118 categories were dominated by HBO and its streaming counterpart, HBO Max, with 140 total. The next most recognized platform was their biggest rival Netflix, which obtained 104 nominations. Other networks like Hulu and Disney+ also tailed along with 58 and 34 nominations respectively. Of those 140 for HBO, “Succession” was the most-nominated program of 2022, earning 25 nods — including outstanding drama series. Runner-up for most nominations is Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso,” and HBO’s “The White Lotus” both coming in with 20. Close behind was fan favorite “Euphoria” with 16 total nominations, including four nods to Zendaya, the star herself. 

The three big winners of the night were predictably those sweeping the nominations. Of the 25 awards presented on TV, “The White Lotus” took home five, including Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series, and Outstanding Writing and Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie accepted by Mike White. Also awarded to the HBO original were supporting actor and actress to Murray Bartlett and Jennifer Coolidge. “Succession” celebrated the last award of the night as the cast gathered on the stage to accept the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. In addition, Matthew Macfadyen’s performance as Tom Wambsgans won him Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, and the show’s writer Jesse Armstrong won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. On the comedy side, Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” came in a close second place after being named Outstanding Comedy Series in conjunction with three other wins. Jason Sudeikis and costar Brett Goldstein respectively brought home Outstanding Lead Actor and Supporting Actor for a comedy series, while MJ Delaney accepted the award for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. 

While there was a clear stream of winners going back and forth from the Emmys stage, there were also a lot of other memorable wins. To no surprise, Zendaya’s performance in “Euphoria” won her the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Fans of the show praised the Academy for this win but expressed their disappointment when Sydney Sweeney lost in both her nominations for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie. Another heartfelt win during the event was when Quinta Brunson, the sole writer and creator of the comedy “Abbott Elementary,” brought the audience to their feet with her win for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Many viewers celebrated this win because it coined Brunson as the industry’s first Black woman to win a solo Emmy award for writing on a show she created. History was also made when the lead of Netflix’s “Squid Game,” Lee Jung-Jae, became the first Asian actor to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama series, and the show’s director, Hwang Dong-hyuk, was the first Asian director to win Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. 

This year, the Emmys presented the Governor’s Award to Geena Davis. The Governor’s Award, from the Television Academy’s website itself, “recognizes an individual, company, or organization that has made a profound, transformational, and long-lasting contribution to the arts and/or science of television.” Davis was given the award this year for her work with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. This organization is said to promote gender equality and overall inclusion in the media industry, making it a well-deserved win for Davis. 

As with any televised award show, fans don’t hesitate to share their every thought on social media. While it’s impossible to please everyone, fans (including myself) of “Succession” and AMC’s “Better Call Saul” were still disappointed in Jeremy Strong and Bob Odenkirk’s losses of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, but Lee Jung-Jae was deserving of the title nonetheless. Further, a plethora of fans expressed their distaste for Jimmy Kimmel’s attempted joke when he pretended to lay dead on stage after his loss of Outstanding Variety Talk Series. Due to unfortunate timing, Kimmel was at the feet of Quinta Brunson as she was called to accept the Emmy commemorating her writing, and stayed there as she attempted to say her thank you’s. Many argued that his feeble stab at a joke took away from Brunson’s moment. All in good fun, Brunson got her screen time back when she appeared on Kimmel’s late-night show just two days after accepting her award. She playfully interrupted him by coming out on screen before her official introduction to redo her acceptance speech. Later on air, he apologized for stealing her moment on the Emmys stage and made it clear he didn’t have any ill intent. 

Overall, while there were no slaps or iconic selfies to come out of this year’s awards, the media coming together to celebrate achievements in the industry will always be entertaining. Whether you’ve given up on cable or still pick up the remote to tune into your favorite network every night, television is one thing that will surely bring the public together.