The 74th annual Emmy Awards took place on Monday, September 12, in Los Angeles, California. The ceremony was filled with noteworthy moments, both triumphant and bizarre. Perhaps the most talked-about exploit was Jimmy Kimmel laying at Quinta Brunson’s feet during her acceptance speech in what was either a planned skit or a questionable improvisation.
HBO and HBO Max reclaimed the title of the highest network wins by taking home 38 statues. HBO’s limited series, The White Lotus, won ten awards alone. Fan-favorite Zendaya won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Rue in Euphoria. It is the actress’s second win for the role, and at age 26, she is the youngest performer to be awarded this Emmy twice.
Other history-making wins included Lee Jung-jae of Squid Games becoming the first Asian actor to be named Best Male Actor in a drama series. The show’s director, Hwang Dong-hyuk, also became the first Asian to win the best Drama Series Director award. ABC’s surprise hit Abbott Elementary was crowned the winner of two awards, both of which had memorable acceptances.
The creator of the mockumentary, Quinta Brunson, was awarded the Emmy for Best Writing in a Comedy Series. To announce the winner of this category, Will Arnett dragged Jimmy Kimmel out on stage by his ankles as Kimmel laid flat on his back. It was supposed to be a comedic moment, with Kimmel supposedly having too many drinks after losing to John Oliver earlier in the evening. After Arnett named Brunson the winner, she accepted the Emmy with Kimmel lying beside her the entire time.
While the move has received much backlash, Brunson played along, prompting Kimmel to “wake up.” She later joked that she might punch him Wednesday night when appearing on his show. Either way, she did not let anyone steal her moment. Abbott’s next showstopper was courtesy of Sheryl Lee Ralph as she accepted the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy.
The first Black actress to win this category since 1987, Ralph brought down the house when she belted out some of the most potent lines from Dianne Reeve’s “Endangered Species.” Following up with an equally passionate speech, the actress thanked her husband, children, and Quinta Brunson as she encouraged people with a dream to believe in themselves and never give up.
With some viewers calling this “the best acceptance speech of all time,” Sheryl Lee Ralph has set the bar high for next year’s Emmy winners.