73rd Emmy Awards highlight female excellence


Photo from Television Academy

Debbie Allen accepts her Governors Award.

Cara Rieber, Staff Writer

It was a historic night for women in entertainment Sunday Sept. 19 as millions of viewers tuned in to watch the 73rd Annual Primetime Emmy Television Award Show. The event was hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, and celebration was in the air as performers and nominees were excited to finally be honoring the artistry of television in person once again.

While a few notable TV shows rose above the rest — “The Crown” and “Ted Lasso” — the focus on women was significant, starting with the Governors Award.

That honor is awarded to those who have made such a great contribution to television production or management that it goes beyond the scope of the Emmys. The award was presented to Debbie Allen this year for her impact as an actor, writer, producer, director, and dance choreographer throughout her 50-year career.

Allen, the first black woman to receive this award, highlighted in her acceptance remarks the difficulties she has faced, and offered an empowering challenge to future generations.

“It’s taken a lot of courage to be the only woman in the room,” she said. “For young people, who have no vote, who can’t even get a vaccine — they’re inheriting the world that we live in and will leave them. It’s time for you to claim your power. Claim your voice, sing your song, tell your stories. It will make us a better place. Your turn.” 

Throughout the show there was consistent mention of the increasing visibility of women in television — not just on the screen but behind the scenes as writers and directors. This year women were nominated for a total of 33% and 27.5% of writing awards. 

In her acceptance speech for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for her work on “Hacks,” Lucia Aniello explained the motivation behind the show.

“We wanted to also make a show that honors anybody who struggled to tell their stories, especially women who never got to tell their story at all because the world wasn’t listening. These women, this is for them.” 

Both women and men alike were honored in the long list of Emmy awards presented during the two-hour show, and “The Crown” and “Ted Lasso” were richly rewarded.

“The Crown” received 11 total Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series. Josh O’Connor  won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his performance as Prince Charles and Olivia Colman took home Outstanding Lead Actress for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II. And Jessica Hobbes won the award for Outstanding Directing of a Drama Series for her work on the episode “War.” 

On the comedy side, “Ted Lasso” received seven awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series. Jason Suedikis won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance in the title role and Hannah Waddingham won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as team owner Rebecca Welton. 

And Jean Smart of “Hacks” received a warm standing ovation when she accepted her Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy award for her role as Deborah Vance.

The awards for the Limited Series or Anthology were split between “Mare of Easton” and “The Queen’s Gambit.” Ultimately, “The Queen’s Gambit” won Outstanding Limited Series or Anthology, while Kate Winslet won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Anthology for her role as Mare in “Mare of Easton.”

“The Queen’s Gambit” originally aired in late October 2020 during the peak of the pandemic. It instantly became popular on social media platforms and spread through word of mouth. When accepting the award for Outstanding Limited Series or Anthology, William Horberg, Executive Producer of “The Queen’s Gambit,” gave a nod to that impact on its popular success.

“The one thing no algorithm can predict or billion dollar budget can manufacture is word of mouth,” he said. “This award goes to the fans who told their friends, who became fans who told their friends.” 

For a complete list of Emmy Award winners, see www.emmys.com/awards/nominees-winners.