Viola Davis of ABC's "How to Get Away with Murder" became the first African-American woman to win outstanding actress in a drama series at Sunday night's 67th prime time Emmy Awards. "The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity," she said in her acceptance speech.
Near the show's end, Tracy Morgan, who was seriously injured in a June 2014 motor vehicle crash, walked out on stage ("I'm here on my own two feet") to thunderous applause, to present the outstanding drama series trophy, which went to HBO's "Game of Thrones."
After eight straight nominations, Jon Hamm finally won as outstanding lead actor in a drama, for his portrayal of "Mad Men's" Don Draper, one of the great characters of TV history.StoryEmmys red carpet: Henson a highlight in hardwear
And "Modern Family," hoping for a sixth straight victory as best comedy, fell to HBO's "Veep."
Other highlights included:
HOW DANDY WAS ANDY? Bravely or foolishly emulating -- or more likely, just sending up -- Billy Crystal's movie montages during his years as Oscar host, Emmy host Andy Samberg ("Brooklyn Nine Nine") tried a similar approach in Sunday night's opening pretaped bit, as a lunatic who spent a full year in a bunker watching every nominated series from beginning to end. "So many shows, and so little time. I'm just one man -- how can I possibly keep up?" Congratulations, Andy: Now you know what professional TV critics go through. As for Samberg's monologue? A little shrill, a little long and little puzzling (what was the line about Cosby and hoagies?) Of course, no one ever promised the job of Emmy host was easy or gratifying -- for host or audience.
SCHUMER WINS BIG. Rockville Centre-raised comedian Amy Schumer's Comedy Central show "Inside Amy Schumer" beat out four other shows, including "Saturday Night Live" to win best variety sketch series. She proved that sometimes the best speech is no speech (or maybe it's advisable to write something down next time, just in case): "Thank you Comedy Central and all the suits that represent me, and all the writers -- thank you so much -- I'm so proud. We fight for what we believe in. Oh, please wrap up? I know I should have written something down. Um, thanks girl who gave me this sort of smoky eye." Earlier in the evening, Schumer came up short in the outstanding lead actress in a comedy category.
GIVING THANKS. Winning best actor in a comedy, Jeffrey Tambor, who plays transgender character Maura (formerly Morton) Pfefferman on Amazon's "Transparent," dedicated his performance and award to the transgender community. "Thank you for your courage, thank you for your patience, thank you for your story, thank you for your inspiration, thank you for letting us be part of this change." This was Tambor's first Emmy victory; he had won a Golden Globe earlier this year for the same role.
STEWART'S FAREWELL. Jon Stewart and his "Daily Show" won for best variety series. But after a few thanks and a few jokes ("I've been off television for six weeks, seven weeks, and this is the first applause I've heard. It's a barren wasteland out there."), he wrapped with what sounded suspiciously like a valedictory: "Thanks so much. You will never have to see me again."
TO THE POINT. Frances McDormand, the great screen actress who found greatness in HBO's 2014 miniseries "Olive Kitteridge," won an Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie. It was her first Emmy (she won an Oscar for "Fargo") and rather than thank friends, family (she's married to director Joel Coen) or HBO, she uttered just about 10 words -- by far the night's shortest speech.
LUCKY SEVEN FOR JANNEY. Alison Janney won her seventh overall Emmy, for best supporting actress in a comedy ("Mom"). That tied her with Ed Asner and Mary Tyler Moore. Cloris Leachman has won eight trophies.
AND FOUR IN A ROW FOR LOUIS-DREYFUS. Julia Louis-Dreyfus of HBO's "Veep" won the best actress award in a comedy award for the fourth year in a row. She said she was quoting her show's writers in saying, "What a great honor it must be for you to honor me tonight." Then she said Donald Trump actually said that. "It's getting trickier and trickier to satirize this stuff," she added, referring to the current political landscape.