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The Emmy’s 2015 Recap

Another year, another barrage of award shows, another week full of post-ceremony criticisms dealt by thousands of strangers on the internet.  However this year’s Emmys saw a ton of firsts, a great deal of emotion, and loads of shows that I have never heard of but now want to bingewatch in their entirety.  Like host Andy Samberg sang in the opening sketch, “So many shows and so little time.  I’m just one man. How can I possibly keep up?”

First things first let’s talk about Mad Men.  After being nominated eight times in previous ceremonies, Jon Hamm finally won his first Emmy for his portrayal of the deeply troubled advertising executive, Don Draper.  It was a great way to thank the show for it’s brilliant entertainment as it comes to a close, giving fans some closure for a show that was nominated multiple times a year, but hardly ever won.  Of course it’s prime opponent this year was Game of Thrones, and the debate over which show would take home more awards withered away rather quickly as HBO took the overall lead again.

With the help of the comedy, ‘Veep‘, a four part limited series, ‘Olive Kitteridge‘, and of course Game of Thrones, HBO obtained 14 victories, achieving best drama for the first time in eight years, and bestowing said award for the to Game of Thrones for the first time since 2011.  The fantasy epic, which is the most watched show in the network’s history, also broke the record for most awards won in a single year, sweeping a total of 12 including the eight won at the Creative Arts Emmys held prior.  The previous record holder was The West Wing, which had won nine awards at the 2000 Emmys.  On top of best direction, best writing, and best drama, the ceremony also awarded Peter Dinklage for best supporting actor in a drama, which took him by surprise.

“I wasn’t prepared because of the other actors in my category,” said the 46 year old actor on stage regarding his second-ever Emmys win. “I’m still sort of awed by all their performances.”

HBO acquired 43 awards in total with its 29 Creative Emmys it won last week, almost beating CBS’s record set in 1974.  The network garnered the most nominations – 126 – for the 15th year in a row, and beat its own high score of 32 back in 2004.  Its less known program Olive Kitteridge completely dominated the limited series categories, obtaining best actress (Frances McDormand), best actor (Richard Jenkins), best supporting actor (Bill Murray), outstanding writing (Jane Anderson), and outstanding directing (Lisa Cholodenko).

To add to HBO’s reign, their comedy series Veep took home a few awards of its own, giving Tony Hale, who plays the presidents clumsy aide on the show, best supporting actor in a comedy series for the second time and Julia Louis-Dreyfus winning best actress in a comedy for the fourth consecutive year.  Veep also broke Modern Family‘s five-year winning streak by retrieving outstanding writing in a comedy as well as best comedy overall, which the ABC sitcom usually took home.

And the firsts just kept on coming, with Viola Davis becoming the fist African-American woman to win an Emmy for best lead actress in a drama series.  Davis gave a touching speech as she accepted for award for her role as a defence lawyer on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder.

“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” she said holding back tears.  “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here’s to all the writers… who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.”

Then Tracy Morgan appeared on stage for the first time in a year since his traumatic car accident to present the best drama award.  “I miss you guys so much,” he said as audience gave him a standing ovation.  “I’m here, standing on my own two feet.”

He spoke with The Hollywood Reporter after the ceremony to expand on his recovery and the decision to be presenter, saying “Speaking to people like Steve Martin and Lorne Michaels, people who were there, that meant a lot to me.  I’ve been really, really excited about doing this. I wasn’t nervous…nervous is for people who can’t wait until it’s over. Excited is for people who can’t wait for it to start. I couldn’t wait for it to start.”

“I have my good days and I have my bad days,” he added. “Sometimes on my bad days, I get really frustrated. Sometimes, I lock myself away in a room until I calm down. Overall though, I feel blessed that I’m alive, and that’s the bottom line,” he added, fighting back tears. “I’m on my way back, and it’s starting to hit me. I want you to see me smiling, not crying. But this is a big step for me. And I’m just thankful, I’m really thankful.”

Amazon also got a couple firsts thanks to Transparent, with Jeffrey Tambor winning best lead actor in a comedy series for his role as a father who comes out as transgendered to his family.  In his speech, Tambor thanked the transgender community for “your patience, thank you for your courage, thank you for your stories, thank you for your inspiration, and thank you for letting us be part of the change.”  The show’s creator, who won her first ever Emmy for directing, reaffirmed Tambor’s sentiments, stating “We don’t have a trans tipping point yet. We have a trans civil rights problem.”

We could really go on and on about the winners and various acceptance speeches throughout the ceremony, like Jon Stewart’s 13th consecutive outstanding talk series win, or Amy Schumer’s triumph in the new sketch series category, but we’d be here all night.  Besides, there’s another first that has yet to be addressed – Andy Samberg’s first time hosting a major TV event.

Of course with a job as big as hosting the Emmys there is bound to be some judgement, and while you can definitely find criticisms for Samberg without looking too hard, the general consensus seems to be that he was passable.  Not a shining review, but considering past award shows have been severely hurt by annoying hosts who shoehorn too many bits into the ceremony, I would say ‘decent’ is much better than ‘awful’.  The highlight of Samberg’s hosting had to be when he poked fun at HBO for not caring about the frequent sharing of HBO Go passwords, giving out a login – “” with “password1” as his password – and inviting everyone to use it.  The account worked too, albeit for only a little while, until the huge amount of people trying to log in at the same time caused it to effectively crash.

On the joke front, Samberg did an okay job.  He played it pretty safe, with the ‘edgiest’ bit being about Hollywood’s perception of diversity.

“The big story this year, of course, is diversity. This is the most diverse group of nominees in Emmy history, so congratulations Hollywood. You did it. Yeah, racism is over. Don’t fact check that,” quipped the Brooklyn Nine-Nine star.   “Of course, given our history being more diverse than ever isn’t always saying that much.  I mean, I bet on the day of Jackie Robinson’s first game the baseball commissioner was like, ‘This year’s Brooklyn Dodgers are more diverse than ever in history. You know? It’s good.’ It’s probably what he said.”

“The wage gap between men and woman hired for major roles in Hollywood is still an issue,” Samberg continued. “Wait, I’m sorry I misread that. The age gap between men and woman hired for major roles in Hollywood is still an issue. Wait, I’m sorry I misread it again. It’s both! Still both. So crappy on two fronts.”

The topic of diversity has been a focus of award shows for the past few years.  Last year’s Academy Awards saw the rise of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite on social media, so its understandable that the Emmys would want to try and avoid that kind of bad press this year.  In fact the Emmys made several changes to their screening process in an attempt to change outdated methods.  The Television Academy, which organizes the Emmys, disbanded the ‘blue ribbon panel’ this year, meaning the final vote for awards like best comedy or best drama was open to the entire pool of academy members, rather than a separate committee.  This, coupled with the inclusion of streaming-only programs like Transparent and Orange is The New Black to their considerations shows that the academy is making strides to broaden their scope.

Despite this, the Emmys’ ratings actually fell 24 percent from last year.  The broadcast, airing on Fox, averaged 11.9 million viewers and an overight 8.7 rating according to metered market households.  This is quite the drop from last year’s 12.1 overnight rating and an audience of 15.6 million, and depicts a steady decline from the almost decade-high achievement of 17.6 million viewers in 2013.  It’s a shame, as I personally thought this year’s show was pretty good.

Below is the full list of nominations and winners, courtesy of CNN, and you can view the same list for the precursor award show, the Creative Arts Emmy’s, right here.


Outstanding Drama Series:

“Better Call Saul” (AMC)

“Downton Abbey” (PBS)

“Game Of Thrones” (HBO) – WINNER

“Homeland” (Showtime)

“House Of Cards” (Netflix)

“Mad Men” (AMC)

“Orange Is The New Black” (Netflix)

Outstanding Comedy Series:

“Louie” (FX)

“Modern Family” (ABC)

“Parks And Recreation” (NBC)

“Silicon Valley” (HBO)

“Transparent” (Amazon)

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix)

“Veep” (HBO) – WINNER

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series:

Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline”

Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men” – WINNER

Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”

Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”

Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series:

Claire Danes, “Homeland”

Viola Davis, “How to Get Away With Murder” – WINNER

Taraji P. Henson, “Empire”

Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”

Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”

Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:

Anthony Anderson, “black-ish”

Louis C.K., “Louie”

Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”

Will Forte, “Last Man on Earth”

Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”

William H. Macy, “Shameless”

Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent” – WINNER

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”

Lisa Kudrow, “The Comeback”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” – WINNER

Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”

Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer”

Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series:

Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”

Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline”

Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”

Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” – WINNER

Michael Kelly, “House of Cards”

Alan Cumming, “The Good Wife”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:

Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey”

Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”

Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones”

Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”

Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is the New Black” – WINNER

Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series:

Niecy Nash, “Getting On”

Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”

Allison Janney, “Mom” – WINNER

Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”

Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”

Gaby Hoffmann, “Transparent”

Jane Krakowski, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:

Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

Adam Driver, “Girls”

Keegan-Michael Key, “Key & Peele”

Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”

Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Tony Hale, “Veep” – WINNER

Outstanding Miniseries:

“American Crime” (ABC)

“American Horror Story: Freak Show” (FX)

“The Honorable Woman” (Sundance)

“Olive Kitteridge” (HBO) – WINNER

“Wolf Hall” (PBS)

Outstanding Television Movie:

“Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case” (Acorn TV)

“Bessie” (HBO) – WINNER

“Grace Of Monaco” (Lifetime)

“Hello Ladies: The Movie” (HBO)

“Killing Jesus” (National Geographic)

“Nightingale” (HBO)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie:

Timothy Hutton, “American Crime”

Ricky Gervais, “Derek Special”

Adrien Brody, “Houdini”

David Oyelowo, “Nightingale”

Richard Jenkins, “Olive Kitteridge” – WINNER

Mark Rylance, “Wolf Hall”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie:

Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”

Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

Queen Latifah, “Bessie”

Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Honorable Woman”

Frances McDormand, “Olive Kitteridge” – WINNER

Emma Thompson, “Sweeney Todd”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie:

Richard Cabral, “American Crime”

Denis O’Hare, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

Finn Wittrock, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

Michael Kenneth Williams, “Bessie”

Bill Murray, “Olive Kitteridge” – WINNER

Damian Lewis, “Wolf Hall”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie:

Regina King, “American Crime” – WINNER

Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

Mo’Nique, “Bessie”

Zoe Kazan, “Olive Kitteridge”

Outstanding Variety Talk Series:

“The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)

“The Daily Show” (Comedy Central) – WINNER

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC)

“Last Week Tonight” (HBO)

“Late Show With David Letterman” (CBS)

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (NBC)

Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series:

“The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)

“The Daily Show” (Comedy Central) – WINNER

“Inside Amy Schumer” (Comedy Central)

“Last Week Tonight” (HBO)

“Late Show With David Letterman” (CBS)

Outstanding Directing For A Variety Series:

“The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)

“The Daily Show” (Comedy Central) – WINNER

“Inside Amy Schumer” (Comedy Central)

“Late Show With David Letterman” (CBS)

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (NBC)

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series:

“Drunk History” (Comedy Central)

“Inside Amy Schumer” (Comedy Central) – WINNER

“Key & Peele” (Comedy Central)

“Portlandia” (IFC)

“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program:

“The Amazing Race” (CBS)

“Dancing with the Stars” (ABC)

“Project Runway” (Lifetime)

“So You Think You Can Dance” (FOX)

“Top Chef” (Bravo)

“The Voice” (NBC) – WINNER

Outstanding Structured Reality Program:

“Antiques Roadshow” (PBS)

“Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” (Food)

“MythBusters” (Discovery)

“Property Brothers” (HGTV)

“Shark Tank” (ABC) – WINNER

“Undercover Boss” (CBS)

Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program:

“Alaska: The Last Frontier” (Discovery)

“Deadliest Catch” (Discovery) – WINNER

“Intervention” (A&E)

“Million Dollar Listing New York” (Bravo)

“Naked and Afraid” (Discovery Channel)

“Wahlburgers” (A&E)

Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program:

Tom Bergeron, “Dancing With The Stars”

Jane Lynch, “Hollywood Game Night” – WINNER

Heidi Klum & Tim Gunn, “Project Runway”

Cat Deeley, “So You Think You Can Dance”

Anthony Bourdain, “The Taste”

Outstanding Variety Special:

“Bill Maher: Live From D.C.” (HBO)

“The Kennedy Center Honors” (CBS)

“Louis C.K.: Live At The Comedy Store” (

“Mel Brooks Live At The Geffen” (HBO)

“The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special” (NBC) – WINNER

“Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek To Cheek LIVE!” (PBS)

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series:

Alan Alda, “The Blacklist”

Michael J. Fox, “The Good Wife”

F. Murray Abraham, “Homeland”

Reg E. Cathey, “House of Cards” – WINNER

Beau Bridges, “Masters Of Sex”

Pablo Schreiber, “Orange Is The New Black”

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series:

Margo Martindale, “The Americans” – WINNER

Diana Rigg, “Game of Thrones”

Rachel Brosnahan, “House Of Cards”

Cicely Tyson, “How To Get Away With Murder”

Allison Janney, “Masters Of Sex”

Khandi Alexander, “Scandal”

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series:

Mel Brooks, “The Comedians”

Paul Giamatti, “Inside Amy Schumer”

Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”

Louis C.K., “Saturday Night Live”

Bradley Whitford, “Transparent” – WINNER

Jon Hamm, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series:

Christine Baranski, “The Big Bang Theory”

Gaby Hoffmann, “Girls”

Pamela Adlon, “Louie”

Elizabeth Banks, “Modern Family”

Joan Cusack, “Shameless” – WINNER

Tina Fey, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series:

“The Americans” — “Do Mail Robots Dream Of Electric Sheep?” (Joshua Brand)

“Better Call Saul” — “Five-O” (Gordon Smith)

“Game Of Thrones” — “Mother’s Mercy” (David Benioff and D.B. Weiss) – WINNER

“Mad Men” — “Lost Horizon” (Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner)

“Mad Men” — “Person To Person” (Matthew Weiner)

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series:

“Episodes” — “Episode 409” (David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik)

“The Last Man On Earth” — “Alive In Tucson (Pilot)” (Will Forte)

“Louie” — “Bobby’s House” (Louis C.K.)

“Silicon Valley” — “Two Days Of The Condor” (Alec Berg)

“Transparent” — “Pilot” (Jill Soloway)

“Veep” — “Election Night” (Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche) – WINNER

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series:

“Boardwalk Empire” — “Eldorado” (Tim Van Patten)

“Game Of Thrones” — “Mother’s Mercy” (David Nutter) – WINNER

“Game Of Thrones” — “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” (Jeremy Podeswa)

“Homeland” — “From A To B And Back Again” (Lesli Linka Glatter)

“The Knick” — “Method And Madness” (Steven Soderbergh)

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series:

“The Last Man On Earth” — “Alive In Tucson (Pilot)” (Phil Lord and Christopher Miller)

“Louie” — “Sleepover” (Louis C.K.)

“Silicon Valley” — “Sand Hill Shuffle” (Mike Judge)

“Transparent” — “Best New Girl” (Jill Soloway) – WINNER

“Veep” — “Testimony” (Armando Iannucci)

Outstanding Writing For A Limited Series, Movie Or A Dramatic Special:

“American Crime” – “Episode One” (John Ridley)

“Bessie” (Dee Rees, Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois, Horton Foote)

“Hello Ladies: The Movie” (Stephen Merchant, Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg)

“Olive Kitteridge” (Jane Anderson) – WINNER

“The Honorable Woman” (Hugo Blick)

“Wolf Hall” (Peter Straughan)

Outstanding Directing For A Limited Series, Movie Or A Dramatic Special:

“Olive Kitteridge” (Lisa Cholodenko) – WINNER

“Wolf Hall” (Peter Kosminsky)

“Houdini” (Uli Edel)

“Bessie” (Dee Rees)

“American Horror Story: Freak Show” (Ryan Murphy)

“The Honorable Woman” (Hugo Blick)

About Jürgen Rae

Jürgen Rae
Jürgen is an avid writer. His love of creating content is only surpassed by his love of consuming it. When he isn't surfing the web or hanging out with friends he can usually be found immersed in music production, sketching, or a good book. Contact Jurgen: