‘Succession’ and ‘The Bear’ dominate Emmy awards

Alan Ruck, Sarah Snook, Alexander Skarsgård, Brian Cox, Nicholas Braun, Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfadyen, and J. Smith-Cameron, winners of Best Drama Series for ‘Succession’, pose in the press room during the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards at Peacock Theater on 15 January, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.AFP

The final season of ‘Succession’ dominated the Emmy Awards on Monday, scooping six prizes including best drama, at a nostalgic gala honoring television’s past and present that was delayed by four months due to Hollywood strikes.

The HBO show about the back-stabbing dynastic battles of a powerful media family won awards for stars Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook and Matthew Macfadyen, while ‘The Bear’ topped the comedy awards and ‘Beef’ led in the limited series section.

“This is a show about family, but it’s also about when… partisan news coverage gets intertwined with divisive right-wing politics,” said ‘Successio’ creator Jesse Armstrong.

“After four seasons of satire, as I understand it, that’s a problem we have now fixed,” he joked, on the night that Donald Trump won the Iowa Republican caucuses.

Accepting their best actress and actor prizes, both Snook — who was pregnant during the show’s final season — and Culkin paid tribute to their babies, with Culkin joking to his wife, “I want more… you said maybe, if I win!”

British actor Matthew Macfayden, winner of Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Australian actress Sarah Snook, winner of Best Actress in a Drama Series and US actor Kieran Culkin, winner of Best Actor in a Drama Series for ‘Succession’ pose in the press room during the 75th Emmy Awards at the Peacock Theatre at LA Live in Los Angeles on 15 January, 2024.AFP

‘Succession’, which had already won best drama series twice previously, had entered the night with a whopping 27 nominations, including a record three of the six nominees for best actor.

It also won for best writing and directing. Jennifer Coolidge, the sole returning star for the Sicily-set second season of satire ‘The White Lotus’, won for best supporting actress.

Coolidge thanked “all the evil gays,” in a nod to her character’s memorable storyline in which she befriended a flamboyant, yacht-owning group of men with sinister intentions.

The Emmys, which are the small screen’s equivalent of the Oscars, typically take place in September.

But organisers opted for an unusual January slot this time around, correctly gambling that the entertainment industry strikes would be over, and that actors would be free to attend.

Stars and guests from Harrison Ford to Joan Collins walked the red carpet into the Peacock Theatre at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles for the ceremony.

Vintage comedy

Celebrating its 75th year, the Emmys featured multiple skits paying homage to beloved classic shows on elaborate sets.

Stars like Kelsey Grammar and Ted Danson appeared on a set emulating the beloved famous Boston bar from ‘Cheers’, while ‘The Sopranos’ actors Lorraine Bracco and Michael Imperioli presented an award from the mob drama’s psychiatrist office.

Other shows getting nostalgic reunions included ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Ally McBeal’.

The organisers’ decision to hark back to television’s golden days came in stark contrast with the gala’s recent struggles, as the Emmys’ audiences have plummeted.

Last year’s telecast was watched by just 5.9 million — lower even than the 2020 “pandEmmys” lockdown edition that was broadcast from an empty theater — and it was competing Monday with an NFL playoff game and the Iowa vote.

Plus this time, there was the confusion of honoring seasons of shows that aired months before. The delay meant votes were cast back in the summer, for nominated shows that premiered as long as 18 months ago.

Cast members of ‘The Bear’, (from L) US actress Abby Elliott, US actor Oliver Platt, US actor Edwin Lee Gibson, US actress Liza Colon-Zayas, US actor Ebon Moss-Bachrach, US actress Ayo Edebiri, US actor Jeremy Allen White, US actor Lionel Boyce and Canadian chef and actor Matty Matheson, pose in the press room with the award for Outstanding Comedy Series during the 75th Emmy Awards at the Peacock Theatre at LA Live in Los Angeles on 15 January, 2024.AFP

Most notably, ‘The Bear’ — which took viewers behind the scenes of a dysfunctional Chicago restaurant — won six awards on Monday including the top comedy prize.

Stars Jeremy Allen White, Ayo Edebiri and Ebon Moss-Bachrach won for best actor, supporting actress and actor, and the show also won writing and directing prizes.

But the ceremony honored the show’s intense debut season, which premiered way back in June 2022. At the next Emmys ceremony, taking place this September, the show’s even more acclaimed and ambitious second season is eligible.

Quinta Brunson won for best actress in a comedy for ‘Abbott Elementary’.

Limited series

Netflix’s ‘Beef’ dominated the limited series categories, for shows that run only a single season, with five prizes including best limited series, writing and directing.

Its stars Ali Wong and Steven Yeun took lead acting prizes, playing road-rage drivers locked in a rapidly escalating feud.

‘Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’ co-star Niecy Nash-Betts won best supporting actress, while Paul Walter Hauser won for best supporting actor for ‘Black Bird’, another dark true crime series.

‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ won best scripted variety series, and variety series writing.

Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers paid tribute to the late Norman Lear for “changing American culture”, from a set modeled on one of his many hit shows, ‘All In The Family’.

The annual ‘In Memoriam’ section honored TV stars who died in the past year including Angela Lansbury, Richard Roundtree, Harry Belafonte, 25-year-old ‘Euphoria’ actor Angus Cloud and ‘Friends’ star Matthew Perry.

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