2017 Primetime Emmy Awards: A big win for diversity

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-19 16:26:20|Editor: liuxin
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The Handmaid's Tale cast and crew pose with their Emmys in Los Angeles, California, U.S., Sept. 17, 2017. (Xinhua/REUTERS)

by Julia Pierrepont III

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- The star-studded 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards opened with a bang with Stephen Colbert's gender-bending chorus line as he sang, "The world may be the worst we've ever seen, but it's never been better on your TV screen!"

In a welcome show of inclusion and diversity, the clear winners of this year's Primetime Emmys were women and minorities.

Hollywood's de facto Year of the Woman continued with female-centric, "The Handmaiden's Tale", "Big Little Lies" and "Veep" taking home the top Emmy prizes.

Hulu's "The Handmaiden's Tale" is based on award-winning author Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel about a Christian, misogynist, totalitarian society that forces enslaved women to reproduce on demand.

It beat out fan favorite "Stranger Things" to win Outstanding Drama Series and earned lead actress, Elisabeth Moss, the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Award, and Bruce Miller the Outstanding Writing for A Drama Series Award.

The HBO's "Big Little Lies", penned by David E. Kelly and starring Academy-award winner Nicole Kidman, Academy-award winner Reese Witherspoon, and Cannes Film Festival winner Shailene Woodley, is about hidden domestic abuse in suburbia.

It took home the Outstanding Limited Series Award, while Kidman, Laura Dern and Alexander Skarsgard garnered the Outstanding Lead Actress, Outstanding Supporting Actress and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series Awards, respectively.

The ABC's "Veep", a hilarious and insightful satire on American politics starring Julia Louis-Dreyus, beat out "Master of None", "Atlanta", "Silicon Valley", and "Black-ish" amongst others to win Outstanding Comedy Series, its sixth nomination and third straight win.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus also took home her sixth straight win as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Award, putting her in the history books for winning the most Emmy's for the same role.

In her acceptance speech, Louis-Dreyfus joked prophetically that "Veep" writers had abandoned a story line about impeachment "because we were worried that someone else might get to it first."

Female Director Reed Morano won Outstanding Directing for Drama Series for "The Handmaiden's Tale", while Lena Waithe was the first African-American woman to win an Outstanding Writer of a Comedy Series Award for "Master of None".

Ms. Waithe's speech was especially poignant: "And last but certainly not least, my L.G.B.Q.T.I.A. family. I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different. Those are our superpowers. Every day when you walk out the door, put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world, because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren't in it."

Ms. Waithe shared the award with Indian-American writer, producer and actor Aziz Ansari, who won the same category last year with his writing and producing partner, Chinese-American Alan Yang, best known as the award-winning writer and co-executive producer of the hit comedy series "Parks and Recreation" and "South Park." They were the first Asian-Americans to win Emmys in this category.

Perhaps in counterpoint to the heightened racial tensions fostered by the Trump administration, this year's nominations were heavy on minority-themed series and/or minority starring vehicles.

These included: Netflix's "Master of None", which follows the humorous trials and tribulations of the son of East Indian-immigrants; the NBC's "This Is Us", chronicling a blended, multi-racial family with white and black triplets; FX's "Atlanta", about two African-American cousins trying to improve their lives and find fame and fortune in the rap music scene.

The nominations also included the ABC's "Black-ish", about an upper-middle class African-American family trying to hold on to bits of their urban cultural identities; the HBO's "The Night Of", which immerses us in the racially-motivated injustice within the American justice system.

The HBO's "Silicon Valley", about a posse of young high tech geniuses ineptly navigating the quicksand of Silicon Valley IT startups, features the brilliant comedic talents of Pakistani-American Kumail Nanjiani, whose "The Big Sick" was a surprise hit in theaters this summer; and who could forget "RuPaul's Drag Race", hosted by legendary, gay, African American transvestite Ru Paul, an endlessly diverting drag-queen makeover competition on LogoTV that ticks the boxes and tickles our funny-bones.

Surprise winner Riz Ahmed edged out the favorite Academy award-winner Robert De Niro ("Raging Bull") to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series for "The Night Of". Ahmed is the first Asian actor to win an Emmy in this category.

"This year's Emmys are proof positive that, no matter who you are, if you work hard, have good ideas and refuse to give up, you can actually make it in Hollywood," Newcomer TV producer Ellie Shoja told Xinhua.