The Emmy Awards are notorious for shocking wins that defy Gold derby odds and best guesswork from top pundits. But the 2021 Creative Arts ceremony instilled a false sense of security in awards-watcher’s forecasts after votes appeared to be united around a select few series. Emmy voters still had some shockers up their sleeves however. Even the clean sweep for Netflix’s “The Crown” didn’t play out as expected. Check out the top seven shocking moments of Emmys 2021, below.
Brett Goldstein fends off co-stars in Comedy Supporting Actor
Keenan Thompson had dominated our odds for the majority of the season, and Bowen Yang swooped in towards the end with a compelling narrative and viral “iceberg” sketch. So it seemed unlikely that Brett Goldstein could prevail, no matter how strong his series “Ted Lasso” looked. After all, he was nominated alongside three other co-stars in this category. How would voters choose their favorite supporting player? Goldstein overcame any potential vote splitting and delivered a charming, profanity laced speech. Give us the uncensored version, CBS!
Julianne Nicholson takes down a witch in Drama Supporting Actress
After stealing every scene in “WandaVision” and topping the Itunes charts with “Agatha All Along,” Kathryn Hahn looked unstoppable on her path to an overdue Emmy win. But voters went with another unsung actress instead, as Julianne Nicholson prevailed for her heart wrenching turn in “Mare of Easttown.” After years of great performances that failed to earn nominations, including recent triumphs in “Masters of Sex” and “The Outsider,” this first time nominee gave a genuine speech that conveyed her appreciation for the moment.
“The Crown” wins Directing…for an unexpected episode
Most pundits were confident that “The Crown” would claim the Drama Directing award. But they assumed that the show would prevail for the episode “Fairytale,” helmed by Benjamin Caron. Instead, Jessica Hobbs took the award for her episode “War.” Perhaps we should have seen this coming since “War” was also nominated (and won) for Writing. This victory mirrors the curveball from the directors last year in this category, where it was widely predicted that “Succession” would win for the episode “This is Not For Tears” but voters selected “Hunting” instead. Hobbs is now just the fourth woman to win this category.
“Hacks” wins Outstanding Comedy Writing AND Directing
Vote splitting doesn’t come into play at awards shows…until it does. Brett Goldstein was able to overcome internal competition, but luck for “Ted Lasso” ran out for its many nominated episodes in the Writing and Directing categories. Instead, “Hacks” cashed in on it’s acclaimed late-in-the-season bow for back to back wins in Comedy Writing and Directing. Viewers were treated to a funny appearance by writer and star Paul W. Downs. More notably, writer and director Lucia Aniello is now just the second woman to win comedy Writing and Directing in the same year, after Amy Sherman-Palladino.
Michaela Coel prevails for “I May Destroy You”
“Write the tale that scares you,” Michael Coel began as she read a prepared poem directed at other writers. It was a gorgeous piece that perfectly showcased the distinct voice she employed in her scripts for “I May Destroy You.” Despite producing, co-directing, writing, and starring in the stirring drama, it appeared that the series would leave the prime-time ceremony empty handed after “The Queen’s Gambit” steamrolled the Creative Arts ceremony. Thankfully, voters united around the Coel, who dedicated her win to survivors of sexual assault.
Ewan McGregor surprises for “Halston”
McGregor earned great notices for his performance as the eponymous fashion designer in “Halston.” But he faced stiff competition in the Limited/Movie Actor category from performers in buzzy projects like “WandaVision” (Paul Bettany) and “The Undoing” (Hugh Grant). Perhaps it was due to transforming himself into a real-life figure, or perhaps it was because he was the only nominee in the category who could be classified as the sole lead of their show. But McGregor pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the night in his first career Emmy win after three prior bids.
“The Crown’s” Queen bests the princess
Pundits widely predicted that Emma Corrin would take home a Drama Actress Emmy for “The Crown” to match her wins at SAG and the Golden Globes. If anyone could stop her performance as Princess Diana, it would surely be MJ Rodriguez thanks to a moving final season of “Pose.” So when Corrin’s co-star Olivia Colman was announced as the winner, the Queen Elizabeth II actress looked appropriately stunned. Colman kept her speech short, tears welling in her eyes, as she dedicated the win to her father who passed away during the pandemic. After surprise wins at the Oscars (“The Favorite”) and now the Emmys, let’s remember to never count out Colman.
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