One of the more surprising wins at Sunday’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards was the very last one: Cherry Jones took home Best Drama Guest Actress for “The Handmaid’s Tale” over odds-on favorite Phylicia Rashad (“This Is Us”), putting the Hulu series in rarefied air as one of two shows to three-peat in the category.
Jones’ victory follows those of Alexis Bledel (2017) and Samira Wiley (2018), which means “Handmaid’s” has never lost this category. The only other show to carry on such a streak was “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” which claimed four consecutive wins from 2007-10 for Leslie Caron, Cynthia Nixon, Ellen Burstyn and Ann-Margret. Add on Amanda Plummer‘s triumph in 2005 for “SVU” and the procedural — set to become TV’s longest-running live-action series with its 21st season premiere next week — holds the category record for most wins at five.
“Handmaid’s” is now tied with “The Practice” with three drama guest actress wins.
Jones was nominated here last year for playing June’s (Elisabeth Moss) mom, Holly, on “Handmaid’s,” and she wasn’t expected to be in the running this year until Hulu entered its three orphaned episodes from Season 2 that did not make last year’s eligibility. Jones’ episode, “Holly,” was, shall we say, light on her. While he’s the emotional focus of the hour as June gives birth and names her daughter after her mother, Jones’ screen time was like a minute long, so this win is serving major “Margo Martindale sipping coffee for two minutes on ‘The Americans'” vibes. Jones, who won in supporting for “24” 10 years ago, did appear in a Season 3 episode during voting, so that could’ve helped her as well.
But really, shout-out to Hulu for the orphaned episodes strategy. “Handmaid’s” has so far won three Emmys — Bradley Whitford nabbed drama guest actor and the show claimed production design for the third straight year — for three episodes. It’s also won more acting Emmys this year than it did last year.
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