2019 Emmys explained: ‘Fleabag,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Chernobyl’ top a night full of surprises and historic victories

Who won at the 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night, September 22? We at Gold Derby have been handicapping these kudos since the spring, and now it’s time to find out which actors, writers, directors and programs it all paid off for. You can check out the full list of nominees and winners in all 27 categories here as they’re announced, and refresh your memory about last weekend’s Creative Arts champs here and here. But there was a lot of potential for history to be made, so make sure to check back in here for complete analysis of the results, updating live throughout the night.

Game of Thrones” had the potential to make lots of history. It came into these awards with 57 total wins, more than any other narrative series in history. It earned 32 nominations this year alone; that’s more than any continuing series has ever earned in a single year. It already won 10 times at Creative Arts, so it had the chance to break its own record for the most wins by a continuing series in a single year (it previously won 12 in both 2015 and 2016).

It also had a chance to break “John Adams’s” record for the most awards won by any program in a single year (13 in 2008). And if the show won Best Drama Series, it would tie the record for the most wins in history (four). “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law,” “The West Wing” and “Mad Men” currently share that distinction.

Over in the comedy field, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was on the cusp of completing an unprecedented undefeated streak. She won Best Comedy Actress six times before (2012-2017) out of six nominations for her role as Selina Meyer in “Veep.” That was already an all-time record. But going seven-for-seven would be an Emmy achievement that might never be matched.

So who won, who lost, who made history, who upset, and what did it all mean? Find out below starting when the telecast begins at 8:00pm (times listed are Eastern).

8:09pmTony Shalhoub takes the first award of the night, Best Comedy Supporting Actor for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” This is his fourth Emmy, following his three lead-acting prizes for “Monk” in the 2000s. This is already the third acting win for “Maisel” this year following its guest-acting victories for Luke Kirby and Jane Lynch. It’s been a pretty good couple of years for Shalhoub, who also won a Tony in 2018 for “The Band’s Visit” and a 2019 Screen Actors Guild Award for “Maisel.” Gold Derby’s odds correctly predicted this race: Shalhobu was helped not only by the academy’s love for “Maisel,” but also the three “Barry” nominees likely splitting their votes.

8:19pm — “Maisel” is two-for-two tonight as Alex Borstein takes Best Comedy Supporting Actress for the second year in a row. This is the eighth win for “Maisel” this year, tying its 2018 record as the most awarded comedy in a single year, and the night has just begun. This is also the fourth acting win this year for the show, tying “SNL’s” record for the most acting wins for a comedy in a single year. “I want to apologize,” Borstein said about not wearing a bra last year, but show’s “not wearing any underwear.” On a more serious note, she pays tribute to her Holocaust-survivor family and urges women to “step out of line.”

8:24pm — And “Fleabag” gets on the board tonight, winning Best Comedy Writing for Phoebe Waller-Bridge for the disastrous dinner party in “Episode 2.1.” She’s got three more chances to win tonight: acting for “Fleabag” and producing for “Fleabag” and “Killing Eve.” “The reason I do it is this!” said Waller-Bridge about writing TV specifically to win awards. She’s wowed that “a dirty, pervy, angry woman can make it to the Emmys.” She joins a long line of writer-actors to win this category, including Ellen DeGeneres (“Ellen”), Tina Fey (“30 Rock”) and Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”).

8:32pm — Yet another win for “Fleabag”: Best Comedy Directing for Harry Bradbeer, also for “Episode 2.1.” “Something like ‘Fleabag’ only comes around once in your life,” he said about his gig. He directed ever single episode of “Fleabag,” which has now won four total awards this year counting its casting and editing victories at the Creative Arts Awards. Our odds weren’t predicting a “Fleabag” victory there, but Bradbeer may have been helped by two episodes of “Barry” and two episodes of “Maisel” splitting votes.

8:36pmBill Hader wins his second straight Best Comedy Actor Emmy for “Barry.” He was the heavy favorite this time around after he upset Donald Glover (“Atlanta”) in 2018. “I don’t know where I’d be without you, friend,” he told “Barry” co-creator Alec Berg in his acceptance speech. This category does love its repeats: this is the fourth time this decade alone that an actor has gone back-to-back. Jim Parsons did it twice for “Big Bang Theory,” then Jeffrey Tambor did it for “Transparent.”

8:45pm — Emmys shocker! Phoebe Waller-Bridge now takes Best Comedy Actress to go along with her writing victory. She is now the only actress ever to beat Julia Louis-Dreyfus in this category for “Veep.” But don’t cry too much for Louis-Dreyfus, whose six consecutive wins for “Veep” are unlikely to be repeated anytime soon. “I find acting really hard and really painful,” she said in her speech. But it seems to have paid off.

8:48pm — “RuPaul’s Drag Race” wins Best Competition Program for the second year in a row. This category has been around since 2003, but “Drag Race” is only the third show to win this show multiple times. “The Amazing Race” prevailed 10 times, and “The Voice” won 4. RuPaul Charles, who also won for hosting the show last weekend at the Creative Arts Awards, urges the viewing audience to register to vote.

9:00pm — Patricia won Best Movie/Limited Supporting Actress, but not the one we were predicting. Patricia Arquette won for “The Act,” defeating front-runner Patricia Clarkson for “Sharp Objects.” Arquette probably got a boost from the fact that she also starred in “Escape at Dannemora” this year, but “The Act” only got two nominations this year, so on paper she looked like an underdog. “I’m grateful at 50 to be getting the best parts of my life,” Arquette told the audience, but she’s also heartbroken that she lost her sister Alexis. She’ll be mourning for the rest of her life until trans people are no longer persecuted in America.

9:03pmJohan Renck takes Best Movie/Limited Directing for “Chernobyl,” which, alas, means that Ava DuVernay (“When They See Us”) didn’t become the first black woman ever to win a Primetime Emmy for directing — not this year, anyway. “Chernobyl” won seven times at the Creative Arts Awards, so it’s already tied with “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” at eight wins for the year. This result is a very good sign for “Chernobyl” in the Best Limited Series race.

9:12pmBen Whishaw follows his Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice victories by claiming Best Movie/Limited Supporting Actor for “A Very English Scandal.” It’s his first Emmy nominations and his first win. “I’m hungover,” he admitted at the podium. Whishaw was the front-runner in our odds, but it didn’t look like a done deal since “Very English” missed the cut for Best Limited Series. So both supporting prizes have gone to programs without Best Movie or Best Limited Series bids, a statistical rarity.

9:15pm — Another win for “Chernobyl”: Best Movie/Limited Writing for Craig Mazin. That brings the HBO docudrama’s total to nine Emmys so far, with two categories left for the limited series. “I’m pleased to accept this in their memory,” said Mazin about the men and women who lost their lives in the Chernobyl disaster in the 1980s.

9:19pm — Things were looking a little dire for “When They See Us,” but Jharrel Jerome won Best Movie/Limited Actor, making him the second youngest winner in the history of the category. In fact, he’s the only actor in his 20s ever to win the award. “I have to thank my mom — my beautiful mother … of course Ava, thank you for giving me this opportunity,” Jerome said in his speech. “Most importantly this is for the men known as the Exonerated Five.” Jerome played one of those men, Korey Wise, who were wrongly convicted of rape in the late 1980s when they were just teenagers. This is the second win for “When They See Us” following its victory for Best Movie/Limited Casting at the Creative Arts Awards. It had eight total acting nominations, which makes it one of the most nominates casts in limited series history.

9:27pm — “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” wins Best TV Movie. This is the third straight victory in this category for the Netflix anthology following wins for “San Junipero” (2017) and “USS Callister” (2018). “Being British, we were conditioned to think 52% of you would vote for ‘Brexit,'” says executive producer Charlie Brooker. But we at Gold Derby thought this award was actually going to go for “Deadwood,” which would have meant an Emmy for stars Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane and the beloved David Milch. But “Deadwood” still can’t get arrested in Emmytown.

9:35pm — Jen Lindley done good! “Dawson’s Creek” alum Michelle Williams takes Best Movie/Limited Actress for “Fosse/Verdon” and gave what may be the speech of the night. “I see this as an acknowledgment of what is possible when a woman is trusted … My bosses never presumed to know better,” she said. She also thanked her bosses for “paying me equally” and urged people to pay women of color equally so that they might succeed because of their work environment, and not because of it. Someone give Williams an Oscar so she can give another speech like that.

9:39pm — “Chernobyl” wins Best Limited Series, bringing its total this year to 10 awards. Mazin accepted the award and said that he hopes the series shows the audience “the value of the truth and the danger of the lie.” So after all is said and done, “Chernobyl” dominated the long form categories. I wish the wealth had been spread a little more, but “When They See Us,” “Fosse/Verdon,” “A Very English Scandal” and “The Act” got some major kudos. None for “Sharp Objects,” though.

9:50pm — “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” wins Best Variety Series Writing. This is the show’s fourth writing win in a row, so it’s looking good for its fourth Best Variety Talk Series victory in a couple of minutes. Writer Seena Vali thanked every department on the show as well as the office dog Bruce “for having big floppy ears … and producing our piece on the Senate filibuster.”

9:52pm — No surprises here: “Saturday Night Live” wins Best Variety Sketch Series for the third year in a row. That brings the show’s all-time total to 77 Emmy wins, more than any other program in Emmy history. Producer Lorne Michaels discussed their episode submission, in which Adam Sandler paid tribute to the late Chris Farley: “It’s those kinds of moments that are why we’re going into our 45th season, and that sort of thing is what keeps us there — that and the politics.”

10:00pm — Ninth Emmy win for Don Roy King: Best Variety Series Directing for “Saturday Night Live.” The sketch comedy series has now one 78 Emmys to date. That’s an average of 1.77 Emmys per each of its 44 seasons.

10:03pm — As I expected, “Last Week Tonight” won Best Variety Talk Series for the fourth year in a row. The only talk shows that have won more times are “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (11) and “The Late Show with David Letterman” (6). “I feel significantly less glamorous standing next to you,” John Oliver said to presenter Billy Porter — don’t worry, John, we’re all less glamorous compared to Billy Porter. Oliver added, “Thank you to ‘Game of Thrones’ for the lead-in.” His show has enjoyed losing the “Thrones” audience for years now.

10:16pmPeter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”) wins Best Drama Supporting Actor for the fourth time, setting a new record for the most victories for an actor in the history of this category. “I count myself so fortunate,” said Dinklage about being a part of the Hollywood acting community, which is all about “tolerance and diversity … Nowhere else could I be standing on a stage like this.” “Thrones” has now won 11 Emmys this year, and 58 in its history. More to come?

10:18pm — “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong wins Best Drama Writing for the episode “Nobody is Ever Missing.” He continues the British invasion of these Emmys, so he advises America to “consider those immigration restrictions.” Armstrong’s win means no writing award for the divisive “Game of Thrones” finale “The Iron Throne.” Could this signal that “Succession” is

10:22pm — And “Game of Thrones” continues its actress drought as Julia Garner beats the four “Thrones” nominees for Best Drama Supporting Actress. This is her first nomination and win and the first Emmy for “Ozark.” But she’s already got a pretty fantastic resume, including “The Americans,” “Maniac,” “Dirty John” and the film “Grandma.” “Every single day I feel so lucky to be doing this … I’ll remember this forever,” she said on stage. This was likely another example of a vote split resulting in a loss, as we’ve already seen a number of times tonight. Alas, this means “Game of Thrones” is the biggest loser of Best Drama Supporting Actress, going 0-for-12 over the course of its eight seasons.

10:39pmBilly Porter wins Best Drama Actor for “Pose,” because America needed to see him on stage accepting an award in that magnificent hat! God bless you, Emmys! He’s the first openly gay black man to win Best Drama Actor at the Primetime Emmys. “The category is love, y’all,” he said when he began his speech. “I have the right, you have the right, we all have the right [to be here].” He told “Pose” creator Ryan Murphy, “You saw me. You believed in us.” Porter is also a Grammy and Tony winner for “Kinky Boots,” so he’s now just an Oscar away from EGOT.

10:42pm — Well isn’t that interesting! Jason Bateman lost the Emmy for acting only to win right after for Best Drama Directing for the “Ozark” episode “Reparations.” This is the first Emmy of his career after previous bids for “Ozark” and “Arrested Development.” And here we have another case of vote-splitting as three “Game of Thrones” episodes were struck down.

10:47pm — Man, Jesse Armstrong wasn’t kissing about a British invasion. Jodie Comer just won Best Drama Actress for “Killing Eve,” beating her co-star Sandra Oh. So this was a case where having multiple nominees in a category didn’t hurt. Comer thanks her parents in Liverpool, whom she didn’t invite to the Emmys because she didn’t think “this would be my time.” Oh is still waiting for her time, though. She still hasn’t won an Emmy despite 10 nominations. She could still theoretically win Best Drama Series for producing “Killing Eve,” but “Game of Thrones” is the heavy favorite there. Speaking of which, Emilia Clarke‘s loss here means Dinklage will go down in history as the only actor to win an Emmy for the show in any category.

10:54pm — And it’s official! It looked like the wind was blowing that way, and now “Fleabag” has officially won Best Comedy Series, making it the second streaming show to win Best Comedy Series (following fellow Amazon series “Maisel” last year). Phoebe Waller-Bridge takes home another award as a producer, her third of the night. Waller-Bridge thanks Andrew Scott, “who came into our ‘Fleabag’ world like a whirlwind.” Harry Bradbeer thanks his wife. He forgot to thank her when he accepted the award for directing and it’s been a terrible hour.

10:59pm — No big surprises here: “Game of Thrones” closes the night by winning Best Drama Series for a record-tying fourth time. “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law,” “The West Wing” and “Mad Men” also won four times. But it was a modest haul overall for the HBO juggernaut. It only won two of its categories tonight, which combined with the 10 awards at the Creative Arts Awards last week brings the year’s total to 12, tying the show’s record for the most awards in a single year (it also won 12 in 2015 and 2016). But the show fell short of the all-time record for a program in a single year: “John Adams” claimed 13 awards in 2008.

11:01pm — And brevity is the soul of wit. This year’s winners for Best Drama Series and Best Comedy Series only aired six episodes each, making these the shortest winners in Emmy history.

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