By Jordan Norkus
Arts & Entertainment Editor
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 17 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Comedian Stephen Colbert was the host of the ceremony and welcomed audience members and viewers at home with a musical number that featured some of the nominated television series before his opening monologue.
“This is TV’s highest honor: us celebrating us. Tonight, we binge ourselves,” said Colbert.
During the monologue, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer made a surprise appearance.
“This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys period, both in person and around the world,” said Spicer.
The Associated Press reported that Spicer’s comment was a reference to his Inauguration Day claims about how big the audience was for President Donald Trump’s oath of office.
There were a lot of negative reactions surrounding Spicer and the joke he made. However, the AP also reported that Alec Baldwin gave him sympathy.
“I think the average person is very grateful for him to have a sense of humor and participate,” said Baldwin. “And Spicer obviously was compelled to do certain things that we might not have respected, we might not have admired, we might have been super critical of in order to do his job, but I’ve done some jobs that are things you shouldn’t admire or respect me for, either.”
Hulu’s American television series based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” received 13 nominations and won five—including “Outstanding Drama Series,” Reed Morano for “Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series,” Elisabeth Moss for “Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series,” Ann Dowd for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series,” and Bruce Miller for “Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.”
HBO’s American drama miniseries, “Big Little Lies,” also won five awards: “Outstanding Limited Series,” Jean-Marc Vallee for “Outstanding Directing for a Limited Movie or Special,” Nicole Kidman for “Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series or Movie,” Alexander Skarsgård for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie,” and Laura Dern for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus won “Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series” for her performance in HBO’s “Veep” for the sixth year in a row, which broke the record of most Emmys won by a lead actor for the same role. “Veep” also won the Emmy for “Outstanding Comedy Series.”
Louis-Dreyfus wasn’t the only actor to make Emmy history.
Donald Glover, otherwise known as Childish Gambino, became the first African-American to win “Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series” for his direction of FX’s comedy series “Atlanta.” Glover also won “Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series” for his performance in “Atlanta.” He shared how he felt about making history backstage in the press room.
“I’m glad I was able to make history, but that’s not what I was trying to do,” said Glover. “I was just trying to make the best product. I believe the people deserve quality and when they taste it, they see their own value, and they don’t ask for less. So I just want to make a really good show.”
NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” won four awards: “Outstanding Variety Sketch Series,” Baldwin and Kate McKinnon took home “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series” and “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series” for their portrayals of Trump and Hillary Clinton, and Don Roy King for directing.
Introduced by Viola Davis, the “In Memoriam” presentation was accompanied by Chris Jackson—who performed Stevie Wonder’s soul single, “As.”
“Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series” was presented to Sterling K. Brown for his performance as Randall Pearson in “This is Us” and “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series” was presented to John Lithgow for his performance as Winston Churchill in “The Crown.”
When “The Handmaid’s Tale” won “Outstanding Drama Series,” producer and writer Bruce Miller accepted the award and concluded the event with instructions for audience members and viewers at home.
“Go home, get to work,” said Miller. “We have a lot of things to fight for.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.