It was Sheryl Lee Ralph’s night at the 74th Emmy Awards on Monday.
The 65-year-old actress, who made her screen debut in 1977, won outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for her role as Barbara Howard on ABC’s “Abbott Elementary.” Her first Emmy, it makes her the first Black woman to win the award in 35 years and only the second to do so in history. There was a standing ovation and the longest applause of the night when she took the stage.
How does it feel?
“Great,” she roared with all her might, trophy in hand, at Governors Ball. She had the train of her Brandon Blackwood gown between her fingers, hair gems glistening, posse in tow.
Moments earlier she had been mingling with costar Quinta Brunson. Creator, executive producer and writer of the mockumentary sitcom, Brunson made history as the first Black woman to be nominated three times in the comedy category. She took home the Emmy for writing in a comedy series.
Governors Ball is where the stars party after the show, and the winners pose with their trophies before jetting off. Jason Sudeikis, actor and creator of “Ted Lasso,” held two. His Apple TV+ show was awarded best comedy for the second consecutive year, and he won best actor in a comedy yet again (costar Brett Goldstein got outstanding supporting actor in comedy for the second time).
There was also Julia Garner, with her third Emmy for best supporting actress in a drama — all three for her role as Ruth Langmore in Netflix’s “Ozark.” Standing out in a velvet Gucci dress, her belly button exposed in a diamond-shape cutout, she received praise after praise. “Thank you,” she echoed, bashfully.
Nearby, the cast of HBO’s “Succession,” too, was celebrating another win. The series received best drama for the second time, a top prize, and Matthew Macfadyen got outstanding supporting actor in drama.
It was a big night for HBO and its streaming service HBO Max, which snagged 38 wins — more than any others, including Netflix (26). “The White Lotus” was another winner for the network, receiving outstanding limited series, with Jennifer Coolidge and Murray Bartlett winning outstanding supporting actress and actor in the category.
Instead of hosting guests at their massive bash at the Pacific Design Center, HBO held a much smaller after party at private members club San Vicente Bungalows — limiting press. Among the attendees was Zendaya, winner of lead actress in drama for the second time (lead actor in drama went to Lee Jung-jae for Netflix’s “Squid Game”). She had switched out her custom Valentino black gown for a red number, also Valentino.
Both Apple TV+ and Disney had their own affairs post-Emmys, also restricting media (Apple TV+ kept the press out entirely). That wasn’t the case at Paramount and AMC Networks, however, who hosted pre-Emmy parties during the weekend. It was business as usual, with trade publications on the carpet and invited inside. Meanwhile Hulu was MIA on the party scene this year. (Lead actor in a limited series went to Michael Keaton for “Dopesick,” while Amanda Seyfried received the lead actress win in the category for “The Dropout,” both on Hulu.)
Paramount, which held its party at newly opened Catch Steak, toasted its Emmy-nominated series and specials, including “Yellowjackets,” “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
“When the Emmy nominations were announced we were all on FaceTime together,” revealed Liv Hewson of the ensemble cast — which includes Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis and Melanie Lynskey. “We ran around our apartments yelling, basically. It was very exciting. It was the best way to find out.”
Lynskey, who was up for lead actress in drama (which ultimately went to Zendaya), had slept through the nominations, she admitted: “I woke up pretty soon after since my phone was blinking.”
They’ve just started filming the second season of “Yellowjackets,” said Lynskey, wearing Alex Perry. At the award ceremony she had on Christian Siriano, an off-the-shoulder mint-green gown with tulle details.
“It’s hard to explain,” Lynskey said of the attention she was receiving. “It feels overwhelming. Because I am 45 years old, doing this for so long, I’m not taking it for granted. I know how temporary these things can be, and I don’t expect it to go on beyond this. I’m just trying to be grateful to have it at this moment in time.”
At AMC’s Sunday brunch the next day, the eve of the show, BBC America’s “Killing Eve,” SundanceTV’s “State of the Union” and AMC’s “Better Call Saul” were among the projects being celebrated. (Despite 46 nominations in six seasons, “Better Call Saul” has yet to win an Emmy.)
Among guests was actor Ivan Mbakop, currently filming AMC’s upcoming drama “The Driver.”
“It’s America meets Africa,” he said of the series, which features Black actors in lead roles. “It’s not a caricature of Africa. It’s so nuanced, so intelligent.”
To bring more diverse voices to screens, AMC operates ALLBLK — a streaming service dedicated to Black TV and film.
“There’s so many stories to tell,” said actress Ashley A. Williams, star of ALLBLK’s “Double Cross.”
“One group of people can’t tell it all,” she continued. “It’s only beneficial to open the landscape to a plethora of different voices. The world, the nation, is a plethora of cultures, colors, ethnicities, people. We want to be able to see those different stories on a continuous basis.”
Williams was enjoying celebrating in-person again — despite the heat wave. It was a hot day in Los Angeles, with recent temperatures reaching as high as 110 degrees in the Valley.
“It’s hot,” she exclaimed with a laugh, fanning herself.
“It’s finally nice to put faces with names,” she went on. “You don’t get to see a lot of people in person, especially because of the pandemic.”
Later that night, it was “Hacks” that reunited. Bustle Digital Group was celebrating their cover star, Emmy nominee Hannah Einbinder (supporting actress in comedy) on the rooftop of Grandmaster Recorders in Hollywood.
“Hearing that people not only like the show, but it’s helped them through tough times, which we are currently in, it’s the best and only pure reason to do the work we do,” she said.
Einbinder was in high spirits, thankful so many of her costars had come out in support. Jean Smart was among them, letting loose.
The 71-year-old took home the lead actress in a comedy trophy for the second year running. Glamorous in a white Siriano gown, she had the audience captivated during her speech.
“I have to say, really quick, Rachel Brosnahan, who is one of my fabulous fellow nominees, sent me — she’s very classy — she sent this box of these unbelievable designer cookies. They were, like, five pounds each…And I thought that that was so nice and classy until I realized that she was hoping that I wouldn’t be able to fit into a single dress in Hollywood. Thanks anyway.”
The crowd hung on every word, laughing — but she had more.
“One more thing,” she added before making her exit and proceeded to give an unexpected shout-out. “Thank you for the Botox,” she told her practitioner.
She had lost a bet.