Media dynasty drama Succession and feel-good comedy Ted Lasso took the top spots at the 2022 Emmy awards in Hollywood on Monday, and a Squid Game actor landed a major acting trophy.
HBO’s Succession was named the Best Drama Series, an award the HBO show had won in 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted its production schedule. The show, which secured four trophies overall, tells the story of the wealthy and dysfunctional Roy family and their constant power struggles.
Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso was also a repeat winner, claiming Best Comedy for the second straight year for its tale of an American football coach leading a British soccer team. Its stars Jason Sudeikis and Brett Goldstein were second-time winners of Best Comedy Actor and Supporting Actor respectively.
Likewise, voters honoured Euphoria star Zendaya for Best Drama Actress and Jean Smart of Hacks for Best Comedy Actress. It was the second win for each in those categories as well.
One newcomer to break through was Lee Jung Jae, who was named Best Drama Actor for his role on the South Korean thriller Squid Game. The dystopian story about cash-strapped contestants risking their lives for wealth became a global sensation after its release on Netflix a year ago. The actor thanked the team behind Squid Game for “making realistic problems we all have to face come to life so creatively on the screen”.
The most-lauded show of the night was HBO’s The White Lotus, which won 10 awards including Best Limited Series and acting trophies for Jennifer Coolidge and Murray Bartlett.
Host and Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson kept a celebratory tone throughout the show, saying it was a time to appreciate one of the world’s favourite pastimes.
“What would we do without television, read books?” he joked, before joining dance numbers to theme songs ranging from classic sitcom Friends, to current best drama nominee Stranger Things.
Winners largely steered clear of politics or world events. One exception was Succession creator Jesse Armstrong, who joked that it was a big week for ‘successions’, referring to King Charles III taking over the British throne following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
“I’m not saying we’re more legitimate in our position than he is. We’ll leave that to other people,” Armstrong said.
Singer Lizzo earned an Emmy award for competition series Watch Out for the Big Grrrls. The musician said that as a little girl, she had always wanted television to feature “someone fat like me, black like me, beautiful like me”.
“I’m going to go back and tell a little Lizzo something … you’re going to be that person,” she said.
Sheryl Lee Ralph appeared shocked when her name was called as the winner of Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy on Abbott Elementary, a show about a predominantly Black school in Philadelphia. The actress began her acceptance speech by singing a rousing, acapella excerpt of the song Endangered Species.
“I am a woman, I am an artist, and I know where my voice belongs,” she sang, prompting a standing ovation.
Among other winners, Michael Keaton was named Lead Actor in a Limited Series for playing a small-town doctor who becomes addicted to painkillers in Dopesick.
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