HBO, Jon Hamm and diversity dominate Emmy Awards

Viola Davis delivers an impassioned speech as she accepts the Emmy award for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for “How to Get Away With Murder." Davis is the first African-American woman to win the award. (AP)

Sunday’s Emmy Awards was like a game of thrones - literally because the show “Game of Thrones” dominated the annual award show, with a record breaking 12 wins out of 24 nominations, including winning the award for “Outstanding Drama Series,” writing for a drama series, and directing for a drama series; shattering nine Emmys won by “The West Wing” 15 years ago. 

However, “Game of Thrones” wasn’t the only show from HBO that received attention at the Emmys. As reported by New York Times writer John Koblin, “HBO notched 43 awards overall, including 29 Creative Emmys last week, just one shy of CBS’s record set in 1974.” Koblin also wrote that this was the 15th consecutive year that HBO scored the highest number of Emmy victories and nominations - with 43 wins and 126 nominations. 

Meanwhile, Jon Hamm, who had been teased with several nominations in years past, won his first ever “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” for his portrayal of Don Draper on “Mad Men” and Viola Davis, won “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series” for her role in “How to Get Away With Murder” - the first time an African-American woman won the award. 

Davis quoted Harriet Tubman in her acceptance speech and delivered an impassioned speech in which she brought up the difficulties of being a woman of color in the entertainment industry. 

“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” Davis said.  “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

Peter Dinklage from “Game of Thrones” and Uzo Aduba from “Orange is the New Black” won their respective awards for excellent supporting roles in drama. 

In comedy, Jeffrey Tambor and Julia Louis-Dreyfus won lead acting awards for “Transparent” and “Veep,” while Tony Hale and Allison Janney won supporting awards for “Veep” again and “Mom,” each respectively. 

Tambor, who played a transgender woman in “Transparent,” had one of the night’s most memorable moments when delivering a touching speech in which he said he dedicated his performances to the transgender community. 

“I had a teacher who used to say, when you act, you have to act as if your life depends on it. And now I've been given the opportunity to act because people's lives depend on it,” Tambor said, clearly moved by winning the award.

Former “30 Rock” Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan, who was critically injured in a car crash last year and is still in recovery, hosted the Emmys. Morgan, who was well received in his return to form, even joked about his sex life and acknowledged his own recovery process.

“I miss you guys so much,” Morgan said to a standing ovation from the audience when introduced.

Perhaps the moment most reflective of the award ceremony came in former “Saturday Night Live” actor and comedian Andy Samberg’s Emmy opening number.

“So many shows and so little time. I’m just one man. How can I possibly keep up?”


Anokh Palakurthi is associate life editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at anokh.palakurthi@uconn.edu. He tweets @DC_Anokh.