MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards saw a lot of previous winners earning trophies once more with a few surprises sprinkled throughout the evening. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was that a couple of critically-acclaimed shows that were bidding goodbye did not win as much as they were expected to.
Fan-favorite show Better Call Saul recently concluded its sixth and final season after spinning off from the equally popular Breaking Bad. That was not, however, enough to earn Emmys for the show, lead actor Bob Odenkirk, and supporting actress nominee Rhea Seehorn.
Another critical darling, Ozark, also finished its final season. Luckily for the Jason Bateman-led show, it wasn’t shut out at this year’s Emmys. For the second time in her career, Julia Garner won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for playing troubled Ruth Langmore on Ozark.
Garner faced a stacked field that included Seehorn, Patricia Arquette for Severance, J. Smith-Cameron and Sarah Snook for Succession, Christina Ricci for Yellowjackets, Jung Ho-yeon for Squid Game, and Sydney Sweeney for Euphoria.
While last year’s Emmys were dominated by wins for The Crown, Mare of Easttown, and Ted Lasso, there was a more even distribution of awards this year. Following Mare of Easttown’s haul in 2021 for HBO, a completely different limited series in The White Lotus snagged key trophies for the same network/streaming service.
HBO reaps rewards for The White Lotus
Sweeney was also nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie for her performance in The White Lotus. She was actually one of five nominees the show produced in the category, together with Connie Britton, Alexandra Daddario, Natasha Rothwell, and eventual winner, Jennifer Coolidge. The latter played the troubled Tanya, perpetually looking for love in the wrong places. She also beat out Kaitlyn Dever and Mare Winningham, both nominated for Dopesick.
The accolades for The White Lotus spilled over to the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie category. Murray Bartlett won for playing the morally ambiguous recovering drug addict manager of the resort, Armond. He topped his fellow castmates in Jake Lacey and Steve Zahn, Peter Skarsgard, Will Poulter, and Michael Stuhlbarg of Dopesick, and Seth Rogen for Pam & Tommy.
Actor/director and writer Mike White created The White Lotus and he won Outstanding Writing for a Limited Anthology Series or Movie for the show. Finally, The White Lotus also earned Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series, defeating Dopesick, Pam & Tommy, The Dropout, and Inventing Anna.
Jason Sudeikis repeated in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for playing the fish-out-of-water football coach of the same name in Apple TV’s Ted Lasso. He had to fend off a previous winner in Bill Hader for dark comedy Barry, comedy veterans Steve Martin and Martin Short for the whodunit murder mystery Only Murders in the Building, Donald Glover for Atlanta, and Nicholas Hoult in the historical farce The Great.
Brett Goldstein also won another Emmy for playing the grumpy and foulmouthed Roy Kent on Ted Lasso. This marked the second Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series award for Goldstein. He won over castmates Nick Mohammed and Toheeb Jimoh, past winner Henry Winkler and Anthony Carrigan from Barry, Tony Shalhoub from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Tyler James Williams of Abbott Elementary, and Bowen Yang from Saturday Night Live.
For another season of playing aging stand-up comedian Deborah Vance, the great Jean Smart won a fifth Emmy and her second consecutive for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for HBO’s Hacks. Smart took home the trophy over Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Kaley Cuoco in The Flight Attendant, Elle Fanning in The Great, Quinta Brunson in Abbott Elementary, and Isa Rae for Insecure.
While Hannah Waddingham won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Ted Lasso last year, she wasn’t as unfortunate in 2022. Instead, veteran actress and singer Sheryl Lee Ralph took home the trophy for Abbott Elementary, only the second Black actress to do so. Other nominees were Juno Temple and Sarah Niles for Ted Lasso, Hannah Einbinder in Hacks, Alex Borstein for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Janelle James for Abbott Elementary, and Kate McKinnon on her final season on Saturday Night Live.
Ted Lasso also earned the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, emerging from a stacked field that included Barry, Hacks, Only Murders in the Building, What We Do in the Shadows, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Abbott Elementary.
Emmys in Drama
Even as Garner won a third Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Zendaya became the youngest actress to win consecutive Emmys for her role as Rae on HBO’s Euphoria. A second straight award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series meant she beat out Laura Linney of Ozark, Melanie Lynskey of Yellowjackets, Reese Witherspoon from The Morning Show, and the pair of Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh in the final season of Killing Eve.
Matthew Macfadyen won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for playing insecure and browbeaten executive Tom Wambsgans on Succession. He edged out frequent sparring partner Nicholas Braun and Kieran Culkin also of Succession, Billy Crudup from The Morning Show, John Turturro and Christopher Walken in Severance, and Park Hae-soo and Oh Yeong-su of Squid Game.
In what was viewed as the biggest upset of the evening, South Korean actor Lee Jung-jae won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Squid Game. It was the first time an Asian actor won the award, and it pulled the rug from under several favorites. This included Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill in Better Call Saul, Jason Bateman as money launderer Marty Byrde in Ozark, Brian Cox as media tycoon Logan Roy and Jeremy Strong as his rebellious son Kendall in Succession, and Adam Scott as the morally conflicted Mark in Severance.
In another loaded field, the Outstanding Drama Series saw Succession win for the second time. The other nominated series were Better Call Saul, Ozark, Severance, Yellowjackets, Euphoria, Squid Game, and Netflix’s perpetually popular Stranger Things.
Long-time Saturday Night Live cast member Kenan Thompson hosted the award ceremonies from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Thompson was an interesting choice as his own self-titled sitcom was just cancelled after its second season.
Tallying total wins per network/service, HBO and streaming service HBO Max led everyone with 26 wins. Netflix was close behind with 23, followed by Disney+ with nine, while Hulu had eight and Prime Video earned six.