The majority of the awards went to three victors.
Olive Kitteridge, the HBO miniseries that paired Bill Murray with Frances McDormand in a poignant comedic courtship set in Maine, won all the limited movie/series categories except Best Supporting Actress, a win scored by Regina King for her performance in American Crime on ABC, who was apparently overcome with emotion as she accepted the award because it was her first Emmy.
The political satire Veep won Best Actress in a Comedy Series (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Supporting Actor (Tony Hale, who plays her hard-pressed top aide), and Best Comedy Series. So they’re the clear winners of a cynical show that makes fun of an American political system that plays the voters for chumps.
To a standing ovation, Tracy Morgan made a triumphant return to the stage following his near-fatal car accident more than a year ago that had left him in a coma for eight days. He crowned Game of Thrones as Outstanding Drama Series. In the scheme of things, it was an odd choice to have this talented comedian deliver the award for best drama, but it made for a compelling moment on TV. The fantasy show also won Best Writing in a Drama Series and Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Dinklage, who plays the tenacious Tyrion Lannister). The tally scored the series a record-breaking 12 Emmy wins in a single year.
— Game Of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) September 21, 2015
So the real winner of the night was HBO, the actual One True Network, which produces all three programs.
Another champion was The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which won in three competitive categories for Best Variety Series: Writing, Directing, and Talk Series. The honors felt like an appropriately heartfelt farewell to the dearly missed satirist of late night TV.
— Comedy Central (@ComedyCentral) September 21, 2015
Andy Samberg kicked it off early on. “But I’ve got to say, sure, Donald Trump seems racist … what else?” he said to big laughs from an audience that relished that punchline.
“What a great honor it must be for you to honor me tonight,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus said as she received her Emmy. “I’m so sorry! Donald Trump said that. It’s getting trickier and trickier to satirize this stuff.”
When Key and Peele, from the satirical Comedy Central show of the same name, were handing out awards for “reality competition shows,” the comedians described the genre as “a strange reality.”
Key said it was “where people can’t seem to say two words without throwing each other under the bus.” Peele said it was where “a panel of millionaires fight like sharks to be chosen by average middle class Americans.”
“And where nobody is there for the right reasons,” Key added.
“But enough about the Republican national debate,” concluded Peele. This partisan crowd ate it up.
To be fair, Bernie Sanders also got poked fun at. Samberg said the Vermont Senator running to be the Democratic presidential nominee “always looks like his plane is delayed.” The crowd chuckled. If there was a Hillary Clinton joke in his opening monologue, it didn’t make it to the TelePrompter.
There were other notable wins. Viola Davis won Best Actress in a Drama for her role as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away With Murder on ABC, making her the first African American woman to win that award. Jeffrey Tambor won for Best Actor in a Comedy Series (Transparent). It was the 71-year-old actor’s first Emmy, which he dedicated to the transgender community. After seven previous nominations without a win, Jon Hamm finally took home an Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Don Draper on Mad Men. He sealed the deal at last.
Now we can catch up on all the popular shows we’ve missed—or now heard of—before the next Emmy Awards airs. We have a year.
— refinery29 (@Refinery29) September 21, 2015