This year’s 70th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, presided over by Saturday Night Live‘s ‘Weekend Update” anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che, set out to celebrate the most diverse list of nominees in Emmy history, opening with the production number “We Solved It”:
We solved it
We got with the times
There’s room for all our voices
but mostly Shonda Rhimes’.
Some of the ceremony’s participants did not get that memo, and went memorably off-point:
Best Marriage Proposal
Glenn Weiss, winning the Emmy for Best Director of a Variety Special for his work on the Oscars, upstaged the diversity celebration when he thanked his girlfriend for her support, adding, “You wonder why I don’t like to call you my girlfriend? Because I want to call you my wife.” As Emmy-goers erupted, the camera swung to Jan Svendsen, who blew her cue, saying “yes” though, as Weiss stage-directed her, “I haven’t asked you yet!”
Nonetheless, Svendsen joined him onstage, Weiss took the traditional knee, and put on her finger a ring that had been his mother’s, adding, “And I did not swipe it. Dad knows I have it, OK?”
Best Reaction to On-Air Trophy Show Marriage Proposal
The Americans star Matthew Rhys, finally winning the Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series, thanked co-star/girlfriend Keri Russell who, he said, “truly got me this award who just stands in front of me every day and puts up with me.” Rhys reported that, lest he get any ideas from Weiss’ acceptance-speech stunt, Russell had warned him, “‘If you propose to me, I’ll punch you clean in the mouth’.”
Most Egregious Use of Acceptance Speech To Settle On-Set Grudge
Jeff Daniels, winning Best Supporting Actor for Godless, thanked a number of people on the production, his wife and kids, and, “my horse, Apollo.”
“He was Jeff Bridges’ horse on True Grit. And I felt he was making unfair comparisons,” Daniels said, of Apollo.
Apollo, Daniels claimed, threw him three times, finally breaking his wrist.
“Here’s a little tip for you young actors,” Daniels offered. “When they call and say, ‘Can you ride a horse?’ don’t lie.”
Presenter Advice Most Likely to Lead to Mean Drunks at Emmy Afterparties
“I’ve won a few awards in my career, but I’ve lost a hell of a lot more,” Michael Douglas said, presenting the award for Best Comedy Series Actor. “So I want to give advice to the losers: Carry that rage. Let it fuel everything you do from this night forward. Know you were cheated, you were robbed. It is a fact. Let that fire burn in your belly until your cold dead body is in a box six feet deep, clutching all its Emmys to its chest.”
Annual Bite the Hand Trophy
Dave Chappelle and his co-creator of The Chappelle Show, Neal Brennan, presented the Best Variety Sketch Series Emmy, won by Saturday Night Live.
Dave: “This is a beautiful business. We make millions of dollars and we get trophies from time to time.”
Neal: “But let’s be honest. Everyone in this room has emotional wounds that no amount of money or prizes could ever fix. Shout-out to therapy and medication.”
Dave: “Yes. Here’s to that Emmy-sized hole in your soul. Oh, and the winner is…”
Best Conversion of Trophy Win Into Social Consciousness
In an evening that mostly existed in its showbiz bubble, this nod goes to Rachel Brosnahan. Winning the Best Comedy Lead Actress race for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, she described the series as being about “a woman finding her voice anew.” “It’s happening all over the country now. One of the most important ways we can find our voice is to vote. So, if you haven’t already registered, do it on your cellphone now,” she instructed.
Bravest Slow Walk
Presenter Will Ferrell defied the clock to make the slowest walk onstage to the microphone in awards history, rasping breathlessly when he got there, “The walk to this stage is endless. It looks much shorter on television.”
“These were not the shoes to do it in, either,” he confided hilariously.
Most Gracious Acceptance Line
Bill Hader, winning the Lead Comedy Actor derby for his work on Barry, explained: “I took classes at Second City LA. I was taught there that you should always make the other people look good. So I hired a bunch of really great actors that made me look really good. So I share this with the cast.”