Following the dramatic incident of the Chris Rock slap at the Oscars back in March, the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards brewed much anticipation of what Hollywood scandal could transpire on live television next. After two years of Covid-19 related restrictions, this year the renowned award show finally returned to its usual home at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Its classic red carpet, which actually happened to be gold this year, was brimming with the night’s tough competition. This past year was full of exceedingly popular shows and series; HBO Max’s hit show “Succession,” Netflix’s intense series “Squid Game” and Apple TV’s “Ted Lasso” all were hoping for a win.
While the Emmys red carpet is less intense compared to Hollywood counterparts like the Met Gala, the attendees still showed out. Zendaya looked stunning as usual in an elegant, all-black Valentino gown complete with a sleek matching black headband reminiscent of old Hollywood. She ended up bringing home her second Emmy for her role of Rue Bennett in the popular series “Euphoria” and made history as the youngest two-time winner of an Emmy.
The classic Hollywood style continued with the beautiful first-time Emmy nominee Elle Fanning, who adorned a black strapless gown with a blush pink trail and bust. Her dress was handmade by designers who worked alongside her on the comedy-drama “The Great,” and its design was inspired by the glamor of the 50s. Nominee Jean Smart curated a timeless look in an all-white, figure-hugging Laura Basci gown, taking home the award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her work in “Hacks”.
The men of the Emmys gold carpet succeeded in bringing nothing new to the table, with the majority staying comfortable in plain black tie attire. Stars such as Andrew Garfield, John Legend, Nicholas Braun and Seth Rogen brought slight variety with all white looks, however, little creativity was showcased by the men throughout the evening.
Host Kenan Thompson (comedian and SNL veteran) began with a unique opening performance that can be succinctly summarized as either nostalgic or cringe-inducing, depending on your take. It was an ensemble of electronic remixes of classic tv show theme songs, spanning from Game of Thrones to the Brady Bunch, featuring hip-hop dancers in questionable outfits. With humor and references more geared towards an older generation, a fitting surprise of the night was a reunion of the Brady Bunch cast shown after this opening sequence.
Thompson’s opening monologue was an ode to the revered form of entertainment that is television, complete with the overused and outdated joke of how no one reads books anymore. Following the monologue, Oprah Winfrey graced the stage in a stylish white pantsuit to hand out the first award of the night, delivering an inspiring and motivational speech along with it.
As mentioned before, history was made at this year’s Emmys with Zendaya’s win, and also with “Squid Game” being the first non-English-language show to compete in the best drama category. The South Korean Netflix series ended up winning best directing for a drama series, and its star Lee Jung-jae won best lead actor in a drama for his performance.
Other notable wins of the night included “Succession” winning best drama series, “Ted Lasso” winning best comedy series and “The White Lotus” winning best limited series. After winning best supporting actress in a comedy for “Abbott Elementary,” Sheryl Lee Ralph serenaded the audience during her acceptance speech, having earned her first Emmy nomination and win after four decades of acting. “Abbott Elementary” also had another win with creator Quinta Brunson winning best writing for a comedy series and marked its network television spot among the mostly streaming shows that were up for nominations.
While peace and civility were kept throughout the entire award show, the night was anything but a bore thanks to the classic Hollywood fashion and the effervescent energy of the talent that filled the audience.