The Emmys are an awards show, so, of course, there are winners and losers. You can read all about them here. But then there are the figurative winners and losers — the people, networks and series that seem more ascendant after the ceremony, and the ones that are a little worse for wear. Here’s a look at a few of them.
Winner: FX and “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
The show won awards for best limited series, best lead actress for Sarah Paulson, best lead actor for Courtney B. Vance and best supporting actor for Sterling K. Brown, among others. That’s huge for the show and creator Ryan Murphy, but also for FX, which has become a truly exciting network, which has “The Americans,” “Fargo” and “American Horror Story.” This year, it was the second-most-nominated network.
Loser: Jeffrey Toobin
Who? Exactly. He is the journalist who wrote the book that “The People v. O.J. Simpson” was based on.
Winner: “Game of Thrones”
The HBO show now has more Emmys than any scripted series ever. Tonight’s wins included outstanding directing for a drama (Miguel Sapochnik), outstanding writing (D.B. Weiss and David Benioff) and outstanding drama series.
Sub-winner: Amanda Peet
The actress was not nominated for anything, but she got two shout-outs from her husband, “Game of Thrones” showrunner Benioff — who made sure to use her full name when thanking her. Twitter also got pretty excited when she was spotted in the audience.
Loser: All the easiest targets
The usual suspects were thoroughly ridiculed. There were multiple Donald Trump jokes (host Jimmy Kimmel also referred to Melania as Malaria), and “Transparent” showrunner Jill Soloway referred to the presidential nominee as “one of the most dangerous monsters to ever approach our lifetimes.” Meanwhile, Kimmel delivered the requisite Bill Cosby dig. Coming back from a commercial break, the announcer introduced Cosby as if he were about to take the stage. It was all a ruse, though. The host just wanted to see how the audience would react.
Winner: Transgender actors
When Jeffrey Tambor collected his Emmy for best actor in a comedy series, he said, “I would not be unhappy were I the last cisgender male to play a transgender character on television.” And with that, he brought attention to a growing sentiment that transgender actors should be given more opportunities — especially as transgender characters become more common.
Loser: Maggie Smith
Technically, Dame Maggie was a winner; she won an award for her supporting role on “Downton Abbey.” But during his opening monologue, Kimmel pointed out that Smith never shows up to the Emmys and promised that anyone who wasn’t there to accept their award would have to forfeit. So Smith’s win was more of a punchline than anything. As soon as her name was announced, the audience started snickering. And that was before Kimmel stormed onstage.
“Maggie, if you want this, it’ll be in the lost and found,” Kimmel said.
Winner: The “Stranger Things” kids
They delivered sandwiches, delighted the audience with an Uptown Funk dance and made a most-memorable red-carpet appearance. When Giuliana Rancic asked the kids about their fashion choices — which was kind of weird, right? — Gaten Matarazzo said, “Yeah, uh, I went to this place and got this tux. I got it at the rental place — Neil Allyn.” That was definitely the most entertaining response of the night to the obligatory “What are you wearing?”
Loser: Terrence Howard
Going off-script is not Howard’s strong suit. On the red carpet, he called his “Empire” character Lucious Lyon something that had to be bleeped out, before his wife admitted that he sometimes brings that character home with him — and she did not seem to be saying it in a joking way. “Yeah, I got people hanging in the bathroom,” Howard said to lighten the mood. Or something. Making this all the more uncomfortable is the fact that Howard has admitted to hitting one of his ex-wives.
Winner: Jeb Bush
He may not have had any energy on the campaign trail, but he found enough to deliver a very funny bit with Kimmel.
Loser: Brainless late-night shows
Although James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” won an Emmy for variety special, Corden’s “Late Late Show” got beat out by “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” which also bested Jimmy Fallon’s nightly flip-cup tournament (a.k.a. “The Tonight Show”).
Rancic’s red-carpet interviews were not perfect, but they were certainly a huge step up from previous years, when her inane questions competed for attention with the dreaded mani-cam. This year she posed substantive questions that clearly required some advanced preparation. She asked Regina King about the 20th anniversary of “Jerry Maguire” and talked to Tony Hale about the pin he was wearing in support of an anti-slavery nonprofit.
But then this happened.