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Home / Awards / 2015 EMMYS: Game of Thrones Breaks Record; Viola Davis Makes Emmy History

2015 EMMYS: Game of Thrones Breaks Record; Viola Davis Makes Emmy History

 

Game of Thrones Scores 12 Wins, Viola Davis Becomes First Woman of Color to Win Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Game of Thrones Scores 12 Wins, Viola Davis Becomes First Woman of Color to Win Lead Actress in a Drama Series

 

The 67th Emmy Awards new winners in the top categories, Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Comedy Series. Game of Thrones won Drama Series and in the process turned its 24 nominations into a massive 12 wins, making it the new record holder for most Emmy wins for a series in a single season. The previous record holder was The West Wing with nine, in its freshman season. For the Comedy Series winner Veep, it stopped 5-time Comedy Series winner Modern Family from a record-setting 6th win. I think we can all be thankful for that. Veep also ended up with wins in Writing, Lead Actress for Julia Louis-Dreyfus (her 4th in a row here) and Tony Hale (his 2nd win). Game of Thrones saw wins tonight in the Writing and Directing categories and a 2nd win for Peter Dinklage in Supporting Actor, who looked quite surprised. As he should have been, his minimal screentime this season and in his submission had Jonathan Banks in Better Call Saul and Ben Mendelsohn in Bloodline as frontrunners.

Elsewhere in drama, Viola Davis won for How to Get Away with Murder, making her the first, yes the FIRST, woman of color to win Lead Actress in a Drama Series in the entire 67 years of the Emmy Awards. In her speech she name-checked Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes and Halle Berry all of whom helped clear the path for more roles for women of color and heartbreakingly opened her speech by a quote from Harriet Tubman (Davis is currently developing a Tubman biopic at HBO). Find a link to her full speech here. The immensity of this can’t be underestimated or underreported. Speaking of Uzo Aduba, she pulled off a bit of a surprising win tonight in the Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category for her role in Orange is the New Black. She won last year but when Orange was submitted in Comedy and she was submitted in Guest. She joins Ed Asner (as hilariously detailed by Emmy host Andy Samberg) as one of the few television characters to win for playing the same character in both comedy and drama.

In one of the most exciting and biggest moments of the night, Jon Hamm, who entered the night with one of the most disastrous losing ratios in Emmy history finally won Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Don Draper in the final season of Mad Men. In seven seasons, and despite winning the Drama Series category four times, no actor had ever won an acting award for the show until tonight. Hamm appeared startled and humbled by his win and the support from the audience was overwhelming.

While the Veep sweep was happening throughout the night, Transparent managed two big wins itself; Directing for a Comedy Series to show creator Jill Soloway and Lead Actor in a Comedy Series to Jeffrey Tambor. Tambor went into the night as the clear favorite and dedicated his win to the trans community.

In the Limited Series section, Olive Kitteridge obliterated the competition by winning every award it was nominated for except Supporting Actress in a TV Movie or Limited Series. In Variety, Inside Amy Schumer bested Saturday Night Live in the inaugural year of the Variety Sketch Series category and final season of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart won Writing and Directing for a Variety Series as well as the newly created Variety Talk Show category. The Voice upset The Amazing Race for the 2nd time in Reality-Competition Program.

When you look at some of the wins here you see some incredible diversity; women of color, LGBT women, women in general all did well this year at TV’s top awards. It’s a huge improvement over previous years and still stands tall above its film counterpart, The Oscars, in terms of recognizing this level of diversity in front of and behind the camera. History making wins happened tonight.

But then you step back and see the acting wins with the magnifying glass of the new voting system. Gone are the “blue-ribbon” panels; that small group of people deciding all of the winners and we now have a voting pool that allows all 19,000+ members of the Television Academy to vote. Many thoughts about how that was going to break down filtered through the internet and the prevailing worry was that there would be A LOT of name-checking since there was no oversight as to what and how many shows a voter was actually watching. And for the most, that’s what happened. While we had exciting new winners in Viola Davis, Jeffrey Tambor and Jon Hamm we saw most winners coming from a pool of recent previous winners. Allison Janney, Uzo Aduba, Margo Martindale (who won last week), Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale and Peter Dinklage all found themselves on stage once again and it begged the question; is the ‘tape’ process dead? Tonight’s results gave us a mixed bag and we’re going to have to see a couple more seasons pass before we really know but as great as Julia Louis-Dreyfus is, did she warrant a fourth (a la Helen Hunt in the 90s) over Amy Schumer, Amy Poehler or Lisa Kudrow? What about Tony Hale or Allison Janney? Based on submissions, and this is obviously subjective, Tituss Burgess and Anna Chlumsky (respectively) had better tapes. How in blue blazes did Margo Martindale win last week for what was maybe a 3-minute tape in a one-hour show? Again, a few years will tell us exactly how name-checky the open system is but if it gives us diverse wins like Davis and Supporting Actress in a TV Movie or Limited Series winner Regina King then maybe it’s worth sitting through another Allison Janney speech.

As a first time host, Andy Samberg did a pretty bang-up job with only a few skits falling flat (that Lorne Michaels thing was DOA). Slick, funny and up for anything, he spun ad-libs, sang and kept the pace better than most hosts. Heck, the show ended on time, you can’t ask for much more than that.

Full list of tonight’s winners:

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Niecy Nash, Getting On
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Allison Janney, Mom – WINNER
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

OUTSTANDING WRITING IN A COMEDY SERIES
Episodes, “Episode 409”
The Last Man on Earth, “Alive in Tucson (Pilot)”
Louie, “Bobby’s House”
Silicon Valley, “Two Days of the Condor”
Transparent, “Pilot”
Veep, “Election Night” – WINNER

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep – WINNER

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING IN A COMEDY SERIES
The Last Man on Earth, “Alive in Tucson (Pilot)”
Louie, “The Sleepover”
Silicon Valley, “Sand Hill Shuffle”
Transparent, “Best New Girl” – WINNER
Veep, “Testimony”

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A COMEDY 
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Louis C.K., Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Will Forte, Last Man on Earth
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent WINNER

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep WINNER
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

OUTSTANDING REALITY SHOW COMPETITION
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The VoiceWINNER

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
Olive Kitteridge – WINNER
Wolf Hall
The Honorable Woman
American Crime, “Episode One”
Hello Ladies: The Movie
Bessie

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Mo’Nique, Bessie
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Regina King, American Crime WINNER
Zoe Kazan, Olive Kitteridge
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Freak Show

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
Olive Kitteridge – WINNER
Wolf Hall
Bessie
The Honorable Woman
American Horror Story: Freak Show, “Monsters Among Us”
The Missing
Houdini

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall
Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge – WINNER
Finn Wittrock, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Michael Kenneth Williams, Bessie
Richard Cabral, American Crime
Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story: Freak Show

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge – WINNER
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
Queen Latifah, Bessie
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Emma Thompson, Sweeney Todd

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
David Oyelowo, Nightingale
Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge – WINNER
Timothy Hutton, American Crime
Ricky Gervais, Derek Special
Adrien Brody, Houdini

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES
Olive Kitteridge – WINNER
Wolf Hall
The Honorable Woman
American Crime
American Horror Story: Freak Show

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A VARIETY SERIES
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon StewartWINNER
Inside Amy Schumer
Key & Peele
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A VARIETY SERIES
The Colbert Report , Show 11040
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart , Show 20103 – WINNER
Inside Amy Schumer , “12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer”
Late Show With David Letterman, Show 4214
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Show 203

OUTSTANDING VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
Drunk History
Inside Amy Schumer – WINNER
Key & Peele
Portlandia
Saturday Night Live

OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – WINNER
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Last Week Tonight
Late Show With David Letterman
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

OUTSTANDING WRITING IN A DRAMA SERIES
The Americans, “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?”
Better Call Saul, “Five-O”
Game of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy” – WINNER
Mad Men, “Lost Horizon”
Mad Men, “Person to Person”

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones – WINNER
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING IN A DRAMA SERIES
Boardwalk Empire, “Eldorado”
Game of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy” – WINNER
Game of Thrones, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”
Homeland, “From A to B and Back Again”
The Knick, “Method and Madness”

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones – WINNER
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men – WINNER
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder – WINNER
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Robin Wright, House of Cards

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Louie
Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
Silicon Valley
Transparent
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Veep – WINNER

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones – WINNER
Homeland
House of Cards
Mad Men
Orange Is the New Black

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About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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