“The Crown, “Ted Lasso” and “Mare of Easttown” took the early awards in the first hour at the 73rd Emmys on Sunday night.
“The Crown,” the lush Netflix series that chronicles the British royal family, won for best directing in a drama series, and Peter Morgan, the show’s creator, won for best writing in a drama.
Gillian Anderson, who portrayed Margaret Thatcher in the show’s fourth season, won for best supporting actress in a drama, and Tobias Menzies, who played Prince Philip, won for best supporting actor in a drama.
“I’m very proud, I’m very grateful, we’re going to party,” Morgan said, offering his remarks from a viewing party attended by the show’s cast in London.
“Ted Lasso,” the feel-good Apple TV+ comedy about an aphorism-spouting, fish-out-of-water soccer coach starring Jason Sudeikis, swept early acting awards. Brett Goldstein won for best supporting actor in a comedy, and Hannah Waddingham won for best supporting actress in a comedy.
“Jason, you’ve changed my life with this,” Waddingham said, paying tribute to Sudeikis, who is also a creator and executive producer of the show, amid screams of joy.
And HBO’s gritty whodunit “Mare of Easttown” also earned wins from Television Academy voters in the early going. Julianne Nicholson won for best supporting actress in a limited series, and her castmate Evan Peters took the prize for best supporting actor.
Cedric the Entertainer, the stand-up comedian and star of the CBS sitcom “The Neighborhood” who hosted the show, gave the ceremony a jolt in its opening moments with an exuberant song-and-dance number.
In a riff of “Just a Friend,” the 1989 hit by Biz Markie, the beloved rapper who died over the summer, Cedric led the crowd in a paean to television: “TV — you got what I need.” The rappers LL Cool J and Lil Dicky and, in a surprise cameo, Rita Wilson each took a verse and soon had the celebrity guests out of their seats and dancing.
After the opening number, Cedric delivered a four-minute monologue, one that avoided the kind of lacerating commentary that figured in the onstage comments made by the recent Emmys hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Michael Che and Colin Jost.
With a litany of casually delivered jokes on subjects far from the realm of politics, Cedric referenced the botched search for a replacement for Alex Trebek as the host of “Jeopardy!”
“Lock the doors,” the comedian told the crowd. “We’re not leaving until we find a new host for ‘Jeopardy!’ in here somewhere.”
He went on to riff on the various Covid-19 vaccines, calling the Pfizer shot “bougie” and comparing it to Neiman Marcus. In the scheme, Moderna was Macy’s, and the Johnson & Johnson was likened to TJ Maxx.
Cedric’s warm approach, with its opening number and cheerful remarks, provided a fitting start to a ceremony that was once again an in-person event for the first time in two years. Still, it wasn’t quite up to the crowd size and Hollywood spectacle of the Before Time. Instead of taking place at the 7,100-seat Microsoft Theater, the Emmys were handed out in a tent in downtown Los Angeles, with a few hundred people attending.
Before the show, Cedric signaled that he would live up to his name. “I want to bring a familiarity that comes with my brand of stand-up,” he said in an interview. “I’m somebody you know. I’m your cousin or your uncle, and we’re here to celebrate each other.”
Nominees were seated at tables, with food and drink, à la the Golden Globes, a dash of glamour that the show’s producers hoped would goose the ratings, which last year hit a new low. Some casts and production staffs plan to gather remotely.
Going into the Sunday ceremony, “The Crown” had already picked up four Emmys in the first batch of awards handed out during last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards, which recognizes achievements in technical categories.
Seven of the show’s cast members landed acting nominations, including Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles) for best actor and Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) and Olivia Colman (Queen Elizabeth II) for best actress. Helena Bonham Carter (Princess Margaret) was also nominated, alongside Anderson, for best actress in a supporting role.
Netflix built a considerable lead over its television and streaming rivals at the Creative Arts Emmys, all but guaranteeing that it was likely to win more awards than any other studio, streaming platform or TV network.
The streaming service has never won a top series award, despite a whopping 30 nominations in best drama, comedy and limited series from 2013 to 2020. Only one streaming service, Hulu, has won best drama, an award that went to “The Handmaid’s Tale” four years ago.
A big night for programs from streaming platforms would match a change in viewing habits. During the stay-at-home months last year and early this year, people increasingly turned away from cable and embraced streaming video entertainment, accelerating a trend that was already underway.
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