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The Best and Worst Moments of the 2022 Emmys

The 2022 Emmys ended up being a middle-class show — nothing terribly controversial happened (no, nobody hit anyone). But it also moved at a brisk pace and contained enough touching and funny moments that it wasn’t a bad show either.

Host Kenan Thompson played it safe and did a solid job of moving things forward while injecting a few laughs but nothing too distracting. It was a big night for Ted Lasso, newcomer ABC comedy Abbott Elementary, and HBO series The White Lotus and Succession.

Brett Goldstein and Jason Sudeikis both won for Ted Lasso and it won for Outstanding Comedy Series, while creator Quinta Brunson and co-star Sheryl Lee Ralph both won trophies for writing and acting for Abbott Elementary. Meanwhile, Jennifer Coolidge and Murray Bartlett both won acting awards for The White Lotus, and the show won Outstanding Limited Series. Amanda Seyfried and Julia Garner also both took home trophies (for “The Dropout” and “Ozark,” respectively), while “Succession” took home the Outstanding Drama Series trophy.

Although it was a quiet night, there was room for genuine emotion, such as Lizzo’s speech in which she said: “When I was a little girl, all I wanted to see in the media was me. Someone fat like me, black like me, beautiful like me,” which received a big round of applause.

Lizzo wins an Emmy on stage.
Lizzo delivers her speech during her win for Outstanding Competition Program for “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls”.
AFP via Getty Images

And Sheryl Lee Ralph, who cried and burst into song as she won for “Abbott Elementary” and received a standing ovation. (She also made history as the second black woman to ever win that category). And there were a few amusing moments, as Jean Smart said during her speech (for her Hacks win): “And I lost a bet, so thanks for the botox.”

Here’s a look at the best and worst moments of the night.

Kenan Thompson sits on an orange couch with an open umbrella on stage.
Kenan Thompson performs his “Friends” themed opening dance number.
Mark Terrill/Invision/AP

Preferably: Kenan Thompson’s opening

Rather than spend his monologue toasting celebs around the room or feeling the need to prove how smart he was, “SNL” vet Kenan Thompson opted to crack a few gentle jokes on TV before he moved on to some flashy dance numbers based on hit TV-themed songs of the past like “Friends,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Game of Thrones,” and “Stranger Things.”

It wasn’t exactly a scintillating monologue packed with memorable zingers, save for a Leonardo DiCaprio dig, but Thompson’s safe choice didn’t outdo his welcome and set the tone for an energetic night that puts the spotlight on television.

Michael Keaton on stage with an Emmy.
Michael Keaton delivers his speech on his “Dopestick” victory.
REUTERS

Preferably: Speech by Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton, 71, has been in Hollywood for a long time — but this was his first Emmy win (for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie, for “Dopesick”), and he gave a very sane speech on how He was fascinated by television growing up, and his family was supportive and never made him feel stupid, although they were “not exactly patrons of the arts.”

He added: “We’ve all been through tough times over the years. I had some doubters. You know what? We are cool”, which got a big round of applause from the hall.

Matthew Macfadyen holding an Emmy on stage.
Matthew Macfadyen gives his speech for his “Succession” victory.
AFP via Getty Images
Jennifer Coolidge on stage with an Emmy.
Jennifer Coolidge dances as the playoff music begins during her Emmy-winning performance for “The White Lotus.”
AFP via Getty Images

Worst: Too many big stars get playoff music too soon

Taking home the trophy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for “Succession,” it felt like Matthew MacFadyen could barely open his mouth to deliver his speech before the music kicked him out — which was weird , since Michael Keaton got to tell a rather lengthy anecdote during his win. But at least MacFadyen had a few seconds to throw in a reference to his character Tom Wambsgans as “crazy gift of a role.”

When Jennifer Coolidge won (for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for The White Lotus), the music began to trick her before she could churn out anything more than a brief amusing anecdote about a lavender bath she let in her dress “swell”. Visibly distraught and nervous, she protested, “Wait, this is a one-time thing!” and continued to thank people while they doggedly talked about the music. She then began dancing along, flapping the mic and using the playoff music to her advantage, drawing huge applause and laughter.

Sheryl Lee Ralph sings on stage with an Emmy.
An emotional Sheryl Lee Ralph burst into song to thunderous applause during her Emmy win.
Getty Images

Preferably: Sheryl Lee Ralph sings

A visibly emotional Ralph broke down in tears when she was announced as the winner of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for newcomer comedy Abbott Elementary. As she took to the stage to deliver her speech, she belted out Dianne Reeves’ “Endangered Species” and treated everyone to a performance that received a standing ovation from the audience.

Afterward, she gave a short speech in which she said, still almost singing, “Anyone who’s had a dream and thought it couldn’t come true, I’m here to tell you, this is what faith looks like.”

“Give Sheryl Lee Ralph a Tony for her Emmy acceptance speech, please and thank you.” a viewer tweeted. She also makes history as the second black woman to win this category (Jackee Harry was the first, for NBC’s “227” in 1987).

Best: Reference to the Oscar swatter

The slap in the face by Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars, which was heard around the world, was the most dramatic moment at an awards ceremony in decades. It’s hard to tune into the Emmys without wondering if something like this could happen — and when “SNL” cast member Bowen Yang came out, he and Thompson cleverly joked about it without mentioning it in so many words.

Yang claimed he was the “backup host” in case something went wrong, to which Kenan replied, “What could possibly go wrong?” Yang explained, “You did see the oscars? So many things could go wrong…” Thompson said, “Is that a threat? Because if it’s like that, it’s a hate crime,” and Bowen added, “Not if I’m doing it, because then it’s representation.”

With that joke, they covered much of the Oscars slap discourse (and the racist undertones of much of the surrounding conversation). But by not saying it, they also danced neatly around a subject everyone is tired of hearing about. So they had to have their cake and eat it too and wink at the audience about the slap without making a boring number of jokes about it.

Kenan Thompson, Jason Sudeikis and Kumail Nanjiani during the bit.
Kenan Thompson, Jason Sudeikis and Kumail Nanjiani during the bit.
Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

Worst: The bartender bit

Halfway through the ceremony, Kumail Nanjiani joined Thompson for an unfunny part in which Nanjiani acted as a bartender and failed miserably.

“Someone ordered an extra dirty martini and I spat in it, is that right?” he asked. Jason Sudeikis also joined in briefly, but didn’t do anything funny – it was more the visual equivalent of a name drop, just to show us someone funny was present.

There’s nothing wrong with Nanjiani or Sudeikis, but it was the kind of pointless, time-wasting bit that plagues awards shows. And it stood out because it was otherwise relatively free of them.

But it wasn’t all bad — the part ended with a cute “Kenan & Kel” reunion when Kel Mitchell came to the bar to order a “good burger” in a throwback to their ’90s Nickelodeon show, where Thompson his start appeared, and the two men embraced.

Rhea Seehorn at the 2022 Emmys.
Rhea Seehorn being snubbed for Better Call Saul.
Getty Images

Worst of all: snubs for some excellent shows

Three of the year’s best dramas — “Better Call Saul,” “Severance,” and “Yellowjackets” — all received tremendous snubs. In one of the categories they all competed in – Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series – “Succession” instead won (and it also won for Outstanding Drama Series). In the acting category, Zendaya won for Euphoria ahead of Melanie Lynskey for Yellowjackets.

It’s not that “Succession” or Zendaya are undeserved, but “Succession” is beginning to dominate in a way that’s becoming boring, while “Euphoria” is a show that’s questionably written and includes claims of a “toxic” work environment . Better Call Saul went home empty-handed after a stellar final season, leaving the series still with no wins for the 46 nominations it garnered during its run.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/12/the-best-and-worst-moments-of-emmys-2022/ The Best and Worst Moments of the 2022 Emmys

Emma Bowman

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