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My Emmy night Ballot, full of check marks noting what I wanted to win, what I thought would actually win and what actually did win. Sometimes they were three different things entirely! Photo by Jenn Murphy

While the 2016 Emmy Awards certainly had its fair share of predictable moments, like “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” winning in the Outstanding Drama and Comedy Series categories, there were also a wonderful number of surprises, like Louie Anderson winning Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on FX’s “Baskets,” an award that was expected to go to “Veep’s” Tony Hale. The night seemed like somewhat of a turning point; now that longtime winners like “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men” and “Modern Family” have either gone off the air or gone down in quality, the door has seemingly been opened for a group of new, interesting and diverse shows to take their place. Jimmy Kimmel, the night’s host, did, at least in my opinion (I’m not usually a big fan of his), a surprisingly good job. For once, I left my viewing of the Emmy’s telecast genuinely happy and hopeful for the state of TV. Here are what I consider to be the best (and most deserved) wins of the night. Turns out my dream predictions from last week weren’t too far off.

 


 

1) Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for “Master of None” episode 2, “Parents

While I didn’t get into the writing categories in my predictions last week (my hands felt like they were going to fall off after all that typing so I had to call it quits), I had high hopes that Ansari and Yang would be honored for this excellent episode of their brilliant show. The episode delves into what Dev (Ansari’s character) and Brian (Dev’s friend, played by Kelvin Yu) dealt with when coming to America as immigrants. In a time when immigration is a consistently hot topic, this episode felt incredibly relevant and was done in a fresh way that felt both humorous and heartfelt. In their acceptance speech, Ansari and Yang (well, really Yang; they got played off before Ansari even got to speak) made a call for the diversity talk that seems to prevalent in TV these days to extend to the Asian community, a request that needed to be heard by the network head honchos that filled the auditorium that night. It was one of the first awards given that evening and it really set the tone for the night.

 

2) Kate McKinnon, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for “Saturday Night Live

The award that seemed to so frequently go to Allison Janney for her role on CBS’s “Mom” was instead to given to the incredibly deserving Kate McKinnon, who is currently one of the biggest stars on “SNL.” She was only the fourth “SNL” cast member to win an Emmy (the previous three were Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner and Dana Carvey) and was only the second woman to win. It was very smart of the Emmy voters to give her the prize this year; her star is seriously on the rise, so who knows how much longer she’ll be on the venerated long-running sketch series?

 

3) Sarah Paulson, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie for “The People vs. O.J. Simpson

After seven Emmy nominations, last night was finally the night for Paulson, who won for her excellent portrayal of Marcia Clark. This one wasn’t necessarily a surprise, she was considered the front-runner pretty early-on, but it was a delight nevertheless. Paulson brought Clark as her date and spoke highly of her in her acceptance speech. Last night was a big night for “The People vs. O.J. Simpson;” in addition to Paulson’s win the show received four other Emmys, including equally deserved wins for Paulson’s wonderful co-stars Courtney B. Vance and Sterling K. Brown, who both used a Jay Z lyric as an epic acceptance speech shout-out to their wives.

 

4) Rami Malek, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for “Mr. Robot

In another move that wasn’t exactly a surprise but was still super-awesome, the always great Rami Malek took home one of the biggest awards of the night. Despite many critics and writers saying that he was the one to beat, I still got a little nervous at the swell of applause that came when Malek’s fellow nominee Kevin Spacey‘s name was called in the list of nominees. Luckily though the award went to Malek, who has continued to kill it in the role of troubled hacker Elliot Alderson in the show’s current second season. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many more Emmys in Malek’s future.

 

5) Tatiana Maslany, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for “Orphan Black

One of the biggest surprises of the night was also one of the best moments; Maslany, who has flawlessly played at least 11 different roles on the BBC America Series about cloning, FINALLY won an Emmy. I’ve been rooting for her to get recognized since “Orphan Black’s” first season and this win, completely unexpected by many, was absolutely perfect. It proved that the Emmys can actually have truly unpredictable moments, moments that really showcase the wild and wonderful world of TV. My only question is: does Maslany get an Emmy for each different character she plays?

 


 

Well, there you have it, my best moments of the 2016 Emmy Awards. It was full of unpredictable delights. And hey, apparently “Game of Thrones” won’t be eligible next year due to it’s later production start date for the next season. With that in mind, who knows that wonderful surprises will occur next year? I, for one, can’t wait to find out.

 

What did you think of the 2016 Emmy Awards? Have some favorite wins of your own? Want to make some way too early predictions on what will happen in a “Game of Thrones”-less 2017 Emmys? Share it all in the comments. And before you go back to prepping for the onslaught of fall TV premieres this week, remember…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

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