Sunday's 69th Primetime Emmy Awards was the most open race in years — and despite a lot of frontrunners prevailing, the TV Academy still tossed in a couple of curveballs.
Here were the biggest snubs and surprises from the show.
Stranger Things: The show won five Creative Arts Emmys last weekend, including a big one — casting — but it was completely shut out Sunday, after winning the top awards at the Producers Guild Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards earlier this year. The big difference between then and now? The Handmaid's Tale hadn't premiered yet. Millie Bobby Brown was in a tight race in drama supporting actress and could've become the youngest Emmy champ ever, but the child actor winner drought will go on another year.
Westworld: Stranger Things can pour one out with Westworld, which also went home empty-handed Sunday after also snagging five statuettes at the Creative Arts. But unlike Stranger Things, Westworld, despite its leading 22 nods (tied with Saturday Night Live), it was never a favorite in most of its major categories; Thandie Newton was its best shot in the open drama supporting actress race. Its shutout confirmed that it was more of a technical marvel that the below-the-line voters rightfully awarded. And it's not the first time a show performed well at the Creative Arts before flopping at the big show: its network-mate Boardwalk Empire consistently took home Creative Arts Emmys but only ever managed two directing wins.
Netflix: Streaming shows were eligible to compete at the Emmys in 2008. Netflix entered the game in 2013 with House of Cards and fielded another three drama series nominees this year. Hulu finally entered the race this year with The Handmaid's Tale, which then became the first streaming show to win a series award. Netflix probably isn't too happy and you have to believe it's in the middle of a huge postmortem right now — given how it's been rapid-fire canceling shows left and right lately — and figuring out not only how to change the game, which seems to be its credo, but how to play it too.
Better Call Saul: The Breaking Bad spin-off was the only drama series nominee not to win a single Emmy. In fact, it has still not won any Emmys after 23 nominations (though we know what it should've won two years ago). Sometimes it feels like voters are just name-checking it (actors are clearly not watching it, cough, Michael McKean, cough), but then it gets very deserved nods in writing and directing (its first in the latter). So maybe a breakthrough is imminent, but Breaking Bad won Emmys from the start, and producers have always said they don't envision Better Call Saul going on for too long.
Fargo: Season 3 was far from Fargo's best and it only had an outside shot in all its categories, but it's still kinda crazy that Fargo has never won an acting award.
Feud: Bette and Joan: It was a big night for the ladies. Female-fronted programs won drama series, comedy series and limited series, but one was left out in the dust. With Big Little Lies cruising (with just a speed bump in writing), Feud won zilch Sunday. Its fate was foreshadowed when it underperformed at the Creative Arts, taking just two crafts awards. We're guessing Olivia de Havilland is happy.
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The Handmaid's Tale dominating: Praise be! We expected a few wins for The Handmaid's Tale, even drama series, in addition to near-lock Elisabeth Moss, but it's safe to say no one expected the show to clean up with five wins. Ann Dowd's victory in an unpredictable drama supporting actress race told us big things were in store (let's pretend this was a win for The Leftovers too). The show then won writing and directing, making Reed Morano the third woman to win drama directing and first since Mimi Leder (for ER's seminal "Love's Labor Lost") in 1995. Counting its three wins at the Creative Arts, including drama guest actress for Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid's Tale won eight Emmys in all. The dystopian drama's success confirmed three things: the Trump Effect is real. It also defied a big stat, becoming the 10th show and first since Mad Men in 2008 to win drama series without an editing nomination. Because the new voting system is still young and there isn't enough data yet, it's hard to gauge the importance of trends accumulated under the old voting system. And lastly, we're gonna have one helluva battle next year when Game of Thrones is back in the mix.
Black Mirror: Black Mirror was pretty safe in the TV movie category, for its incredible "San Junipero" episode, but writer Charlie Brooker pulled off a shocker in limited series/TV movie writing, interrupting the Big Little Lies express. The Emmys have shown an affinity for British scribes — Steven Moffat (Sherlock) and Abi Morgan (The Hour) were two upsets in this category in recent years. Brooker's win also denied BLL's David E. Kelley his first writing Emmy in 26 years. Don't feel too bad for him though: Kelley won as a producer on BLL, which won limited series, giving him his 11th statuette.
Donald Glover goes 2-for-2: The Atlanta mastermind was a slight favorite in comedy actor and comedy directing, but his wins were by no means guaranteed. The Emmys don't have a history of awarding auteurs in acting or directing, much less in the same year (they usually give it to them in writing), and Atlanta is far from the typical Emmy show. Glover's wins show that voters are paying attention to the most critically acclaimed comedy of the past year (the new voting system also helps). He's the first black winner in the comedy directing category and is the second black actor to win comedy lead actor after Robert Guillaume in 1985.
Lena Waithe makes history: Let's be clear: Waithe and Aziz Ansari's comedy writing win for Master of None was not a surprise, but we bet a ton of people were shocked Waithe is the first black woman to win the category. Not only that, she's only the second black writer to win, after Larry Wilmore in 2002. There is one more category that has yet to see a black winner: drama supporting actor. Both Ron Cephas Jones and Jeffrey Wright had a chance to break that barrier this year.
Saturday Night Live does what Angels have done: SNL's big year not only propelled it to its first variety sketch series win in 24 years (variety series was split into sketch and talk two years ago), but it's now the first program since Angels in America to win four acting awards in the same year and the first comedy series to do. Alec Baldwin, Kate McKinnon and Melissa McCarthy were favorites, but Dave Chappelle's guest win was a complete shocker at last week's Creative Arts.
What were your big snubs and surprises from the Emmys?