TV’s familiar faces gathered in downtown Los Angeles and concurrently in London on Sunday night for the 73rd Emmy Awards, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. It was a lively production that kicked off with a TV-inspired singalong of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend,” because if there has been one constant companion this pandemic year-plus of isolation, it’s been TV.
Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” and Netflix’s “The Crown” and “The Queen’s Gambit” were the night’s top winners, proving that it was streaming shows that most captured the public’s attention. (Netflix snagged the most awards, with more than 40 wins this year). After taking the stage, stars were ushered into a digital press room backstage — here’s a look behind the scenes at what you didn’t see on TV.
Anya Taylor-Joy, star of Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit” (Best Limited Series) — who wore Dior — on her meme-ready expression upon hearing about the show’s win — and hearing it from Angela Bassett: “I haven’t seen the footage yet, so I’m mildly embarrassed. But, really, Moses [Ingram] and I were freaking out that Angela Bassett was on stage, so that’s why we were grouped together like that. And then we were like, ‘Oh my God. We won. How do we go up to Angela Bassett and just be like, ‘Hi. Thank you so much’? So, yeah, I think we’re just all overjoyed and pretty overwhelmed, but it’s so wonderful to be here with such a great group of people. We all love each other so much.”
2) Party of One:
Josh O’Connor (Best Actor, Drama for “The Crown”) on celebrating solo in L.A. the show’s multiple wins (including Best Drama, as well as Best Actress, Drama for Olivia Colman) while the rest of the cast was in London: “I have texted them. But I’ve got a U.S. phone on me, and I forgot to bring my U.K. phone, and I suddenly realized that the entire cast and crew of ‘The Crown’ have my U.K. number and not my U.S. number. So, when I get back to the hotel, I’m sure, I’ll have to text them, and they’ll text me…[I’m] very proud.”
3) Sharing Credit:
Evan Peters (Supporting Actor, Limited Series or Movie for “Mare of Easttown”) continuing to praise his seasoned costar Kate Winslet (Best Actress, Limited Series or TV Movie): “She’s just phenomenal. We were just saying on the way over here that I would just give this [trophy] to her, because she’s just so incredible, and I definitely wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her. The best scene partner I could have ever asked for. An amazing human being and so down to earth. I just love her. She’s awesome.”
4) Rewriting the Role of Lead Actress:
Kate Winslet on what playing small-town Pennsylvania detective Mare Sheehan means for women in the industry today and moving forward: “It makes me feel genuinely that our industry is changing. I am honestly starting to feel that, that the shifts are happening. We’re finger pointing a lot less at women in terms of how they look, their shape. You know, we stopped scrutinizing them, and, in turn, what happens then is that younger generations of women who are not in our industry start to feel okay within themselves too. And that’s more important than anything else, because it’s up to us to be absolutely being real and representing ourselves with integrity and authenticity and celebrating each other and not judging one another. If we’re not doing that in our industry, then nobody else has got a hope in hell. So, I feel like with playing Mare, maybe we are shifting the dynamics of how leading ladies are seen on screen. It warms my heart. It makes me very, very happy.”
Winslet was having a full-circle moment with her date for the night, husband Edward Abel Smith: “When I was here 10 years ago with ‘Mildred Pierce,’ we had actually just met. Like, we really had just met. And I knew that I was going to spend my life with this man. So I came to the Emmys, and I was just so in a whirlwind of having just met him that I couldn’t even concentrate, and I vividly remember making an absolutely appalling speech, because I was just not on planet earth, because I had fallen head over heels in love with this person who I just met. So to have him here, it’s really quite special.”
5) Ted Lasso to SNL?
Lorne Michaels teased Jason Sudeikis’ return to “Saturday Night Live” (Outstanding Variety Sketch Series). “He’ll be coming back soon,” said Michaels. “I’m very happy about that as well.” The longtime television producer also shared some words on the late Norm Macdonald, the comedian and “SNL” alum who passed away last week at the age of 61 after a battle with cancer: “I think he meant the world to people there [at ‘SNL’]. I can tell you from just the number of people I’ve heard from, the number of people that have gone and talked about Norm. When you work for somebody for that many years, and they make you laugh, and you’re aware of who they are as a person and as a friend, I think Norm was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. And because he’s Canadian, I put him right there up in the top five.”
6) The Tao of Ted:
Sudeikis (Best Actor, Comedy) on what he’s learned playing Ted Lasso on Apple TV+’s hit show: “I’ve learned that, I don’t know, that optimism is a better way to go even though pessimism can sometimes get an easy laugh.”
7) Bringing Home Emmy:
“Ted Lasso” costar Hannah Waddingham (Supporting Actress, Comedy) on where she’ll keep her Emmy: “My little girl and I have become such a little unit, because I am a single mom. And I just wanted to say to her that she can have this in her bedroom to show her that her mommy will only ever be away when it’s for a really blooming good reason. And I think it shows her that, when she’s older, she just has to fight that little bit harder and magical things happen.” And what did she think of Seth Rogen mispronouncing her last name? “Oh, I didn’t hear that,” she said alongside costar Brett Goldstein, who took home Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. “That’s brand new information to me.” “He’s dead,” joked Goldstein. “Oh man, I gotta call him Seth Rage-en,” Waddingham mused.
8) Early Bird:
Brett Goldstein of “Ted Lasso” on being overwhelmed by his early win (Supporting Actor, Comedy), which was announced shortly following the opening number with host Cedric the Entertainer: “I’m struggling to take any of this in, because it’s so f–king surreal. And I didn’t realize we were up so quickly, so I thought, ‘There’ll be some time to settle into the ceremony.’ And then there was singing and dancing and then suddenly they were calling our names. I was like, ‘What is going on?'”
9) Host v. Host:
Stephen Colbert (Outstanding Variety Special, Live for “Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020”) on Cedric the Entertainer’s hosting skills: “Cedric killed it. He lived up to his name. I was entertained.”
10) Sharing the Stage:
And how did Conan O’Brien — who’s ending his late-night show after a 28-year run — make it up on stage during Colbert’s acceptance speech? “I said, ‘Why don’t you come on stage with us if we win?’ He goes, ‘Really?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ He goes, “OK. If you change your mind, let me know,’ and he just came up. We love Conan, honored to be super fans of Conan O’Brien.”
John Oliver also showed O’Brien some love, giving him a shout-out on stage while accepting his award for Variety Talk Series. Will he be sharing any of his multiple Emmys with his friend? “No, he can take it from my cold dead hands,” Oliver said to laughs. “I said that I appreciated him — not that much.” On a more serious note, he added: “What he’s done is absolutely remarkable. It’s hard to overstate the influence that he has had on comedy writers. There’s a whole generation of comedy writers who kind of look to Conan to see what they’re to see their sense of humor on TV for the first time. So, he’s a monumentally influential figure to lots of us.”