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74th Primetime Emmy Awards features historic firsts, returning winners

Kenan Thompson performs as the host of the 2022 Emmy Awards. With the ceremony taking place at the Microsoft Theater, the Television Academy brought together creatives within the television industry. (Courtesy of Invision/AP)

By Talia Sajor

Sept. 12, 2022 9:53 p.m.

As golden hour hit, this year’s Emmy Awards beamed brightly as a historic night for television.

The Television Academy brought back the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards to the Microsoft Theater after moving to the venue for the first time last year. Hosted by Kenan Thompson, the ceremony began with Thompson performing a musical number of remixed theme songs for series like “The Brady Bunch,” “Law and Order” and “Game of Thrones.”

Many actors nominated this year walked away with another Emmy. Nabbing her third Emmy in the same category, Julia Garner was named Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for the final season of “Ozark.” After breaking Emmys history in 2020 as the youngest winning actress, Zendaya continued her winning streak as the two-time Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series recipient for her portrayal of Rue Bennett in HBO’s “Euphoria.”

With Apple TV’s “Ted Lasso” nominated for a total of 20 awards, both Brett Goldstein and Jason Sudeikis won their respective categories for the second year in a row. “Law and Order: SVU” duo Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni reunited to present Sudeikis with Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his title character, while Goldstein took home Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. 

While this year’s ceremony was filled with previous winners returning for another award, many nominees walked away with their first-ever Emmy, including Sheryl Lee Ralph. Bursting into song with “Endangered Species” by Diane Reeves, Ralph accepted her award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for “Abbot Elementary,” becoming the second Black woman in history after Jackée Harry in the ’80s sitcom “227” to win in the category. 

“To anyone who has ever, ever had a dream and thought your dream wasn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t come true, I am here to tell you that this is what believing looks like. This is what striving looks like,” Ralph said.

In addition to Ralph and Zendaya, Lee Jung-Jae from Netflix’s “Squid Game” joined the list of history-making actors and became the first ever Asian actor to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. “Squid Game” continued its success as the first non-English show nominated in Emmys history, with Hwang Dong-Hyuk taking the gold for directing the episode “Red Light, Green Light.” 

Tying with “Ted Lasso” with 20 nominations for the series overall was “The White Lotus.” Nominated for both acting and creative awards, the show ended the night with a total of six Emmys, earning the top award for Outstanding Limited Series. Creator Mike White was also awarded for Outstanding Directing and Outstanding Writing For A Limited or Anthology series, while Murray Bartlett and Jennifer Coolidge won for their respective supporting roles.

Both presenting the Governors Award, Sarah Paulson and Shonda Rhimes named Geena Davis as the recipient for her trailblazing career in both television and film. The ceremony prepared a video honoring her work through the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which aims to break barriers for female creatives and push for representation within the entertainment industry.

“Tonight’s about honoring the best of television. And as you know … television can often directly impact how people see themselves and judge their value in the world,” Davis said. “And in the time since I launched the institute, we have made a great deal of progress, but still, there’s more work to do, of course. 

In a monologue by Academy Chairman Frank Scherma, he preached about the power of television’s ability to showcase different perspectives to audiences. With the various stories displayed from this year’s nominees, Scherma spoke about the importance of storytellers bringing their own experiences to the screen.

Honoring the passing of industry creatives, John Legend performed “Pieces” on the piano as a tribute video played in the background. Included in this year’s program were television icon Betty White, actors Bob Saget and James Caan and pioneering actor-director Sidney Poitier.

To balance the heartfelt words from Television Academy members and presenters alike, comedic breaks from Thompson lightened the mood in the theater. Thanks to skits with Bart Simpson playing a prank and bottle-breaking bartender Kumail Nanjiani failing to serve Thompson and Sudeikis, the air was filled with laughter from the audience.

Ending the night was Selma Blair presenting the award for Outstanding Drama Series after receiving a standing ovation during her entrance. As the most nominated series at this year’s event with a whopping 25 nods, “Succession” concluded the ceremony by winning the category as well as Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Matthew Macfadyen earlier in the evening. 

As Emmy season came to a close, first-time nominees and winners to returning industry titans celebrated the ever-changing landscape of television. 

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Talia Sajor | Theater | film | television editor
Sajor is the 2022-2023 theater | film | television editor. She previously served as an Arts contributor from 2021-2022. She is a second-year communication student.
Sajor is the 2022-2023 theater | film | television editor. She previously served as an Arts contributor from 2021-2022. She is a second-year communication student.
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