The “Game of Thrones” cast and producers take the stage for a final bow; FOX(LOS ANGELES) — “It’s reassuring that a dirty, pervy, messed-up woman can make it to the Emmys!”
That’s what Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge said on the first of her three trips to the podium at Sunday night’s 71st Emmy Awards. The British actress and her Amazon show about a sexually voracious woman were the big winners in the comedy categories, taking home the trophies for Outstanding Comedy Series, Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and Writing and Directing for a comedy series.
Another surprise: Pose star Billy Porter won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, beating out the likes of This Is Us stars Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown, Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk, Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harington and Ozark’s Jason Bateman. Porter is now the first openly gay black man ever to win in that category.
“The category is LOVE, ya’ll!” shouted the always stylish Porter after taking the stage, and sporting a giant cowboy hat and sequined black and silver suit. “I am so overwhelmed and I am so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day,” he declared, and exhorted the room full of creatives, “Please don’t ever stop telling the truth!”
Porter is now an Oscar away from an EGOT, having already won an Grammy and a Tony.
More surprises came when — despite five combined nods in the Outstanding Lead and Supporting Actress categories for Game of Thrones’ female stars — it was Jodie Comer of Killing Eve and Julia Garner of Ozark, respectively, who took home the gold.
However, Peter Dinklage did win Outstanding Supporting Actor for his role in the HBO smash. It was his fourth win in that category, an Emmy record. “I count myself so fortunate to be a member of a community that is nothing but all about tolerance and diversity. Because no other place could I be standing on a stage like this,” said the actor.
Game of Thrones, as expected, was also named Outstanding Drama Series. Out of its record-setting 32 nominations, it won 12, helping HBO top all networks with a total of 34 Emmys overall.
In the Outstanding Limited Series cateory, Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us went in as the favorite, but HBO’s Chernobyl was the big winner. However, When They See Us star Jharrel Jerome was named Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series, and earned a standing ovation as he shouted out the names of the “Exonerated Five”: the men who were wrongly convicted in the notorious Central Park Jogger case.
Other notable speeches:
— Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy winner Alex Borstein, who plays Susie in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, dedicated her win to her mother and grandmother.
“They are immigrants, they are Holocaust survivors,” said Borstein. “My grandmother was in line to be shot into a pit. She said, ‘What happens if I step out of line?’ [The guard] said, ‘I don’t have the heart to shoot you, but somebody will,’ and she stepped out of line. For that, I am here and my children are here. So step out of line, ladies. Step out of line!”
— After winning Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for Fosse/Verdon, Michelle Williams used her speech to call for pay equity. “Thank you so much to FX and Fox 21 studios for supporting me and paying me equally, because they understood that when you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value. Where do they put that value? They put it into their work,” she said.
“The next time a woman — and especially a woman of color, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterparts — tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her, believe her,” Williams added. “Because one day she might stand in front of you and say thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it.”
— After winning Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series for The Act, Patricia Arquette said, “I just have to say I’m grateful to be working. I’m grateful at 50 to be getting the best parts of my life…but in my heart, I’m so sad I lost my sister, Alexis, and that trans people are still being persecuted.”
Alexis, an actor and transgender activist, transitioned in the early 2000s. She died in 2016 of cardiac arrest while battling HIV.
Patricia continued, “I’m in mourning, Alexis, and I will be the rest of my life for you until we change the world, until trans people are not persecuted. And give them jobs! They’re human beings, let’s give them jobs. Let’s get rid of this bias that we have everywhere.”
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