When you’re passionate about television, it’s impossible to remain neutral when it comes to the Emmys (or any awards for that matter). Your bias towards your favourite shows will have you hissing and booing if they don’t win; the opposite is also true.
The ceremony itself brings sharply divided camps to the red carpet with its fashion fails and triumphs, heartfelt and moving acceptance speeches used to highlight issues like gender equality in the entertainment industry, and moments that are pure gold. I refer of course to how everyone laughed at Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner.
Whether you loved or loathed the final season of Game of Thrones, it took home top honours as Best Drama Series, which was no big surprise; GOT has been an Emmy darling for years and bows out with 59 Emmys – the most for any narrative show ever and the second most for any show, period, behind only Saturday Night Live, which has been running for 44 years compared to Game of Thrones’ eight seasons.
Of the total of the record-tying 12 Emmys on the mantel piece in 2019, 10 of those were for behind-the-scenes creative work. Peter Dinklage won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Tyrion Lannister, his second consecutive win in the category and fourth overall – a new record for the category, putting him one ahead of Aaron Paul for Breaking Bad.
With GOT leading the pack for HBO and Showmax, this streaming platform (the only place in Africa to watch the now-legendary show) is where you’ll find the series with the most Emmys. These include Chernobyl (Best Limited Series), A Very English Scandal (Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, Ben Whishaw), Barry (Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Bill Hader), and Succession (Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series), which will return to Showmax with Season 2 in October.
Chernobyl’s creator Craig Mazin dedicated his Emmys to the victims of the tragic Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. Not an easy series to watch by any means, but truly exceptional television, streaming only on Showmax, which continues its own winning streak: the platform placed ahead of Netflix and just behind DStv Now in the Paid Streaming Service category at the Sunday Times Top Brands Awards this September.
The Emmy results are in line with Rotten Tomatoes’ recent list of The Best TV Shows of 2019 So Far, which features eight titles on Showmax in its top 20, compared to five titles available on Netflix and one on Prime Video in Africa.
Check out some of the pictures from HBO’s Official 2019 After Party.
Netflix and Prime Video winners
The spread of Emmys for Netflix and Amazon shows is interesting, in that the former has always been a heavy hitter in the world of internet TV, while – let’s be brutally honest – Amazon Prime is a bit of a poor cousin in terms of the sheer quantity of fresh, original content.
Fleabag, which was named Best Comedy – as well as nabbing the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for creator/producer/writer/star Phoebe Waller-Bridge – is the shining exception to that sort-of rule (what there is, is excellent) and a well-deserved winner.
A bit sad, perhaps, that the final season of Veep didn’t crack the nod, but no argument here; Fleabag is a must-watch, and frankly Julia Louis-Dreyfus has enough statues (six).
Also on Amazon is The Marvellous Mrs Maisel, a consistent winner over the seasons and this year was no different (Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Tony Shalhoub and the corresponding Supporting Actress for Alex Borstein).
Emmy winners from years gone by
The haul on Netflix was not as impressive as one might expect, but it does include some gems.
Julia Garner’s Supporting Actress in a Drama Series win for Ozark is possibly the best one of all; she’s brilliant as trailer-trash Ruth Langmore, whose sharp criminal mind leads to her working with Marty (Jason Bateman) after trying to steal from him.
Another one to applaud extra loud and long is Billy Porter for his Lead Actor in a Drama Series win for Pose (Netflix), who goes down in history as the first openly gay black man to win this category. Pose is set in New York City’s African-American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming ballroom culture scene in the 1980s and, in the second season, early 1990s. As a companion piece, check out RuPaul’s Drag Race, which won Outstanding Reality Competition.
The third biggie for Netflix is When They See Us, for which Jharrel Jerome won Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. It was an emotional moment, writes Jordan Crucchiola at Vulture. “Jerome was clearly overwhelmed when he took the stage to receive his award … but gathered himself to thank his mom, Ava DuVernay, and ‘the Exonerated Five’ — Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, and Wise — who were in attendance at the ceremony and rose to give the actor a standing ovation.”
According to Variety, HBO was the overall Emmy winner, taking home 34 awards from 137 nominations across both weekends, followed by Netflix with 27 wins out of 117 nominations.