The 70th Annual Emmys Recap

September 18, 2018 | By Nadia Naeem

Monday, September 17, marked television’s biggest night — 70th Primetime Emmy Awards on NBC. Known primarily for their work on “Saturday Night Live” as the stars of “Weekend Update,” Colin Jost and Michael Che took on the job of hosting this year’s show. With SNL boss Lorne Michaels producing the awards show, Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson were the first of many SNL cast members to make an appearance on stage. McKinnon and Thompson led a musical number claiming ‘we solved it!’ in reference to Hollywood’s long time diversity problem, since this year’s program boasted the most diverse list of nominees in Emmy history. During the number, Sandra Oh, nominated for her work in “Killing Eve,” was recognized as the first Asian woman to be nominated for lead actress. The number also featured Kristen Bell, Tituss Burgess, Sterling K. Brown, Ricky Martin, Andy Samberg, RuPaul, and John Legend. 


Photo Courtesy of NBC

Unlike awards shows in the past years, this year’s Emmy Awards was not inundated with any societal problem in particular — instead, Jost and Che tackled a variety of topics. In a particularly pessimistic string of jokes at the start of the show, Jost and Che addressed sexual assault in Hollywood, the rise of streaming, and Roseanne Barr, just to name a few. 

One of the more prevailing topics of the night was the decline in viewership of broadcast television. For the first time, a streaming service, Netflix, topped the list in most nominations at this year’s Emmys, edging out longtime champion HBO. In addition, Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” took home five Emmys, the most of any show. Jost highlighted the fact that this year, Netflix will spend $8 billion on programming and have 700 original series. Jost and Che pondered where all of Netflix’s money comes from to make these shows, comparing the streaming service to an Instagram model who spends all her time in Dubai. The duo, of course, recognized their own network, NBC, for having the most nominations among broadcast networks, although undercutting the accomplishments by comparing NBC to being like “the sexiest person on life support.”

Some of the most memorable moments of the night included Amy Sherman Palladino’s back to back wins for Writing and Directing a Comedy Series for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” While presenting with his wife, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend was recognized for being the first black man to achieve EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) status, winning for his performance in “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Creative Arts Emmys the previous week.  After winning the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Sketch Show, “Saturday Night Live” boasts an unprecedented total of 63 Emmys over its 44 seasons. Thandie Newton, winner of a supporting actress Emmy for her work on “Westworld,” said “I don’t even believe in God, but I’m gonna thank her tonight,” prompting a thunderous applause. After its absence from the 2017 Emmys, “Game of Thrones” reminds us that it is still the best, taking back the coveted Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. Tina Fey presented a touching in memoriam, played to a rendition of Amazing Grace by the late Aretha Franklin. Amongst these, the most incredible moment came when Glenn Weiss accepted his Emmy for, strangely enough, directing the Oscars, and proposed to his girlfriend, who thankfully said yes. All in all, the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards remains a momentous night to remember, both on the note of important advances in television media and prevalent societal issues.