The Emmys are often slow to recognize newer shows and performances and tend to reward old favorites long after they've jumped the shark. Nonetheless, at Sunday night's 68th Annual Primetime Emmys, there were still some unexpected winners and some odds-on favorites who were passed over.
COMEDYVeteran comic Louie Anderson was something of a surprise, winning his first-ever Emmy for playing Zach Galifianakis's mom on "Baskets," beating Best Supporting Comedy Actor favorite Tony Hale of "Veep." Maybe a bit less of a surprise, given the nice shout-out he got from Jimmy Kimmel during his opening monologue. It was still nice to see him finally win some Emmy love after the overabundance of awards over the years for "Veep."
Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang were also a pleasant surprise for writing the brilliant "Parents" episode of Netflix newcomer "Master of None." Again, the expected winner was "Veep" (for the dramatic "Mother" episode). That "Veep" episode was also the favorite for Comedy Directing, but it went instead to Jill Soloway for helming the epic "Man on the Land" episode of "Transparent."
LIMITED SERIES AND MOVIESThe biggest surprise may have been Susanne Bier's well-deserved win for directing the spy mini-series "The Night Manager," even though half the nominees in the directing category came from Academy favorite "The People vs. O.J. SImpson: American Crime Story."
Regina King's second straight Supporting Actress Emmy for "American Crime" was a mild surprise, since crime boss Jean Smart of "Fargo" was favored to win. "Sherlock: The Abominable Bride" was a longshot winner for Best Movie, since an HBO movie ("All the Way") was up for the prize. Of course, "O.J.," the most nominated project in the category, won the Best Limited Series prize, but it was too bad "Fargo" got shut out.
VARIETYPatton Oswalt was as surprised as anyone that he won Best Writing for a Variety Special ("Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping"), since fellow comic Amy Schumer was expected to win for "Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo." Her "Inside Amy Schumer" was also the favorite for Variety Sketch Series, but "Key & Peele" pulled off a deserved win,
DRAMAMaybe the biggest shocker of the evening was Tatiana Maslany's upset win for Best Actress for "Orphan Black." Not that she didn't deserve it for playing all those clones, but the Academy rarely rewards sci-fi and genre show performers. (Rami Malek's Best Actor prize for "Mr. Robot," while far less surprising, is another sign the Academy's tastes are broadening to include genre fare.)
Of course, Maslany's win meant snubs for Keri Russell (finally nominated for "The Americans") and Viola Davis, who'd been expected to repeat for "How To Get Away With Murder."
Nearly as big a shocker was Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn's Supporting Actor victory for Netflix's "Bloodline." He certainly deserved the trophy (sorry, Jon Snow); alas, he wasn't there to pick it up.
Maggie Smith ("Downton Abbey") and Lena Headey ("Game of Thrones") were the two likeliest Best Supporting Actress winners, so Smith's victory meant a snub for Headey. (As Kimmel predicted, Smith won again without bothering to show up, so he grabbed the trophy and said he'd put it in "lost-and-found.")
Another Emmys, another awards show that ends with you feeling like you have to add so many new shows to your watch list.