The Emmys are always one of the most unpredictable award shows of the year. And while the 2017 ceremony was going according to predictions early in the night, aound the halfway mark, assumed frontrunners started to fall like dominoes. And it wasn’t just the winners who provided shocking moments. First-time Emmy Awards host Stephen Colbert and many of the night’s presenters created water cooler moments that are sure to be discussed in the days to come. Here are the top six Emmy shockers that left we awards-watchers with our jaws on the floor.
Opening segments always include digs at the current state of TV and this year was no exception. Colbert lauded the diversity of the nominees, listing black actors like Anthony Anderson, Samira Wiley, “and of course Bill Mahr. I assume he’s black since he’s so comfortable using the N word.” But the biggest dig came at the expense the Trump administration. When he asked if anyone could confirm the crowd size of the telecast, none other than former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer emerged from backstage, complete with podium. “This will be the largest audience to witness the Emmys. Period.” he screamed, as Anna Chlumsky nearly leapt from her seat in disbelief. “Melissa McCarthy everybody, give it up” Colbert quipped.
While a few experts expected Alfred Molina (“Feud: Bette and Joan”) to win best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor, the real shock was not winner Alexander Skarsgaard, but the presenters. Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dolly Parton walked on stage for a “9 to 5” reunion and were greeted by a standing ovation. Drawing a comparison between Donald Trump and the boss from “9 to 5,” the women assert that “we refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.” Not quite done with her time in the spotlight, Parton offers that she’s just hoping “to get one of those ‘Grace and Frankie’ vibrators in my swag bag.” Parton is probably the only person who could pull off a flawless transition from Donald Trump to vibrators.
Aunt Lydia’s Last Laugh
The first major upset of the night happened in the Best Drama Supporting Actress category. Many pundits assumed the race was between early frontrunner Thandie Newton (“Westworld”) and newcomers Chrissy Metz (“This is Us”) and Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”). But Ann Dowd picked up the trophy for her terrifying portrayal of Aunt Lydia on “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Dowd, who was also nominated against co-star Samira Wiley, was visibly surprised and shaken when her name was called. When she finally made her way to the stage, the veteran actress claimed “Well I think this is a dream.”
Shantay, “The Voice” stays
Anyone thinking the Reality Competition Series would be shaken up by new entry “RuPaul’s Drag Race” had the rug pulled out from under them. Emmy voters shirked the drag competition in favor of a past favorite “The Voice” (though RuPaul did claim Best Reality Host at the Creative Arts ceremony for the second consecutive year). This is the fourth overall win, and third consecutive win for NBC’s singing competition. The celebrity factor, with the show’s panel of A-List coaches, is surely a factor for its success.
Voters Wooed by San Junipero’s Charms
David E. Kelley is a revered figure in Hollywood, and as such most experts expected him to prevail in Best Movie/Mini Writing for “Big Little Lies.” But apparently voters were not swayed by the fact that Kelley wrote the entire juicy limited series. Instead they opted for Charlie Brooker, the screenwriter behind the “Black Mirror” episode: “San Junipero.” In his brief acceptance speech, Brooker noted that he was as surprised as the rest of us. “I’m shocked” muttered Brooker, “Im going to go melt this down for currency.” Thankfully Brooker was more prepared when he stepped on stage a second time to claim Best TV Movie, and seemed to abandon his plans for melting the award.
Blessed Be the Fruit
The writing was on the wall after Dowd’s surprise win in Supporting Actress and the win for Best Directing for a Drama. Hulu’s dystopian hit “The Handmaid’s Tale” was bound to win the night’s final prize. “Stranger Things” had a valid claim to the Best Drama throne after taking home the coveted Best Casting award during the Creative Arts ceremony. “The Crown” and “This is Us” took home acting awards. But voters threw their support behind the message of Margaret Atwood‘s cautionary tale, making Hulu the first streaming service to claim a Best Drama victory. With HBO’s “Game of Thrones” back in contention next season, we have an exciting battle brewing for next year’s ceremony.