"Ted Lasso," as sure a bet to win best comedy at the 73rd Primetime Emmys as that surest of bets at last year's ceremony ("Schitt's Creek"), won Sunday and won big. The Apple TV + series was named outstanding comedy, while star Jason Sudeikis won for best actor in a comedy and Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein won for best supporting actress and actor, respectively. The series had received a total 20 Emmy nods, the most ever for a first-year comedy.
Also as expected, Netflix's "The Crown" had far and away its best Emmy night in four seasons: A best drama win, and victories for Olivia Colman and Josh O'Connor as best actress and actor, respectively. In addition, Gillian Anderson won a best supporting actress Emmy for her portrayal of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Tobias Menzies won best supporting actor for playing Prince Philip.
Yes, all predicted by industry observers, although this show certainly went to lengths to surprise. There were, as it turned, few of those — unless you count a visibly surprised Colman.
Instead of surprises or upsets, there were twists, and not undramatic ones either. The awards that 73 years ago were designed to honor the best that TV had offered, are now instead largely about celebrating the best of streaming. "Lasso'' and "The Crown's" wins marked the first time a pair of streaming series had ever won the top awards. Only four of the 16 nominated series were either from cable or broadcast TV.
Then, there was this other twist, and also the one that speaks to a revolution in both TV and in the Emmys. Sunday easily offered the most diverse acting field ever, with a total of 42 nominations out of 96 going to actors of color. The lead actor in a drama category had four such actors (out of six) while the outstanding lead actress had three, among those Mj Rodriguez ("Pose"), the first transgender woman nominated for this award.
Would actors of color walk away with the big awards? Would shows with at least predominantly Black casts at least win? Would the numbers work in their favor?
By now, you know the answers. The four winners in the major acting categories were white, as well as in the limited or anthology series category (Ewan McGregor, for "Halston," Kate Winslet for "Mare of Easttown.") Winslet may have been the biggest surprise winner, upsetting Michaela Coel who was another one of those sure bets — along with her HBO series, "I May Destroy You" — until she wasn't. She lost in both categories, but did win for "writing/ anthology, limited series."
An embarrassment for the Emmys? Certainly, when you consider the lengths to which it went Sunday to put up an "inclusive" front, beginning with host Cedric the Entertainer. Debbie Allen was recipient of the Governor's Award, becoming only the second African American to win this prestigious award since 1978 when it was initiated. The last time: Tyler Perry, just last year.
Nevertheless, not a single Black actor or actress won Sunday, nor a single show with a predominantly Black cast.
So much for "twists" and "revolutions."