Five key takeaways from Emmys night

Los Angeles (AFP) –

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Netflix was the big winner at Sunday's Emmys, bagging best drama and limited series awards for "The Crown" and "The Queen's Gambit" to finish on a joint-record overall haul of 44 awards.

Here are five other takeaways from television's version of the Oscars:

- 'Qwhite' the Emmy ceremony -

Hollywood's record on diversity has come under the spotlight in recent years.

A raft of nominees of color at this year's Emmys could have helped rebalance what has traditionally been a very white-dominated event.

"Ted Lasso" won prizes for best supporting actor Brett Goldstein and best supporting actress Hannah Waddingham -- all of the major acting award winners were white
"Ted Lasso" won prizes for best supporting actor Brett Goldstein and best supporting actress Hannah Waddingham -- all of the major acting award winners were white Rich Fury GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

African-American actors including Courtney B Vance, Sterling K Brown and Maya Rudolph won for guest roles or voiceover performances, awards that were given out ahead of Sunday's gala.

There were gongs for Michaela Coel, writer of "I May Destroy You," and reality presenter RuPaul.

But in the end, all 12 major acting prize winners went to white performers, with frontrunners such as the late Michael K. Williams missing out.

"This is...qwhite a list of Emmy winners!" tweeted author Mark Harris midway through the show.

- Those who left us -

The television industry lost two of its favorite sons in the weeks leading up to the Emmys.

Late actor Michael K. Williams was one of the performers honored during the "In Memoriam" presentation at the Emmys -- but he did not pick up a posthumous award as many hoped he would
Late actor Michael K. Williams was one of the performers honored during the "In Memoriam" presentation at the Emmys -- but he did not pick up a posthumous award as many hoped he would Rodrigo Varela GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

Michael K. Williams, whose Baltimore stick-up man Omar Little was a key ingredient in the success of seminal HBO crime drama "The Wire," died this month of a suspected drug overdose.

Kerry Washington ("Little Fires Everywhere") praised "a brilliantly talented actor, and a generous human being who has left us far too soon."

Williams missed out on a posthumous drama supporting actor prize, which instead went to Tobias Menzies of "The Crown."

The late "Saturday Night Live" comic Norm Macdonald attracted plaudits, including from double-winner John Oliver.

"No one was funnier in the last 20 years than Norm Macdonald on late night comedy," said the "Last Week Tonight" host.

"If you have any time in the next week, do what I did and just spend time YouTubing clips of Norm and Conan (O'Brien) because it just doesn't get better than that."

- Women's rights -

Kate Winslet was one of several winners to praise Hollywood's progress on female representation, both in front of and behind the camera.

Governors Award recipient Debbie Allen gave a shoutout women around the world "from Texas to Afghanistan"
Governors Award recipient Debbie Allen gave a shoutout women around the world "from Texas to Afghanistan" Rich Fury GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

"It means a huge amount because it makes me feel genuinely that our industry is changing," said Winslet, who took home the prize for best actress in a limited series for "Mare of Easttown."

"I am honestly starting to feel that that the shifts are happening. And I think that we're finger-pointing a lot less at women, in terms of how they look, their shape."

But broader women's rights issues were highlighted through the show, with career achievement honoree Debbie Allen urging women "from Texas to Afghanistan" to "claim your voice."

And Coel, who penned "I May Destroy You" about the aftermath of a rape, dedicated her writing award to "every single survivor of sexual assault."

- Scaled-down Emmys -

After last year's pandemic-mandated virtual event, nominees were welcomed back in person at the Emmys -- but only a lucky few of them.

Covid-19 protocols were strict for the Emmys, with testing and a limited audience
Covid-19 protocols were strict for the Emmys, with testing and a limited audience VALERIE MACON AFP

Each nomination earned a maximum three invitations to the socially distanced 500-person, partially outdoor venue (the ceremony typically has an audience of 4,000-6,000).

"We were only allowed a small number to come so the show sent the hottest writers -- which I understand is an oxymoron," joked "Last Week Tonight" writer Chrissy Shackelford.

Even so, actor Seth Rogen joked early in the ceremony that there were "way too many of us in this little room."

He added: "They lied to us. We're in a hermetically sealed tent right now."

- Not another recall? -

Less than a week ago, California held a recall election that saw its governor Gavin Newsom remain in place -- after the state had spent a fortune mounting the vote.

Late night host Stephen Colbert offered some California politics humor at the Emmys
Late night host Stephen Colbert offered some California politics humor at the Emmys Rich Fury GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Late night host Stephen Colbert poked fun at the process on Sunday, announcing that the 2018 Emmy awarded to comedy "The Marvelous Mrs Maisel" had also been put up to a renewed poll.

"California law does allow for the recall of any Emmy Award if enough signatures are first obtained, meaning the 2018 Emmy winner for Best Comedy could soon be the Marvelous Mrs Larry Elder," said Colbert, referring to Newsom's Republican opponent.

"With 100 percent of precincts reporting, 'Mrs Maisel' has survived the recall... Congratulations, and it only cost California $275 million."