Billy Porter made history as the first openly gay black man to win an award for Lead Actor in a Drama series, and Patricia Arquette used her acceptence speech to champion trans rights.
The 71st Emmy awards took place over the weekend, with highs, lows, and many well-deserving winners. The community bid goodbye to Game Of Thrones, which aired its final season this year and won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series - one of only two Emmys the show won this year, despite being nominated for 14 reports The Guardian. Peter Dinklage received an award for his performance as Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, beating out Game Of Thrones castmates Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Alfie Allen, among other contenders. The night's big winner was Fleabag, which bagged 4 awards for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Fleabag writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge also took home awards for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. The award for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series was won by Jodie Comer, who essays the delightful nihilistic assassin Villanelle in Killing Eve, also written by Waller-Bridge. Bill Hader beat out The Good Place star Ted Danson and Schitt's Creek patriarch Eugene Levy to win Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as an awkward hitman in Barry. While The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel missed out on the award for Outstanding Comedy series this year, cast members Tony Shalhoub and Alex Borstein bagged awards for their roles in the show. The full list of awards and winners can be found here.
Billy Porter made history at the Emmys this year, winning the Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series award for his standout role as Pray Tell in Pose, making him the first openly gay Black man to do so. "I have a right to be here. You have a right to be here. We all have a right," Porter said in his acceptance speech, drawing rapturous applause from the audience as he basked in the historic moment.
"I have the right, you have the right, we all have the right." #PoseFX star Billy Porter (@theebillyporter) celebrates his historic win for lead actor in a drama https://t.co/WmT1Fmyol4 #Emmys pic.twitter.com/gmQdRoAyH2— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) September 23, 2019
One of the standout moments of the awards was when Jharrel Jerome won an award as Best Lead Actor in a Limited Series for his standout role in Ava DuVernay's When They See Us, the highly anticipated Netflix series about the five men falsely accused of rape, formerly referred to as the Central Park Five. “This is for the men we know as the Exonerated Five,” Jerome said as he accepted his award, while the now Exonerated Five raised their fists in solidarity from the audience. Incidentally, he became the first Afro-Latino person to win the award.
Another stirring moment from the awards show came via Patricia Arquette, who dedicated her award for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series for her role in The Act, to her late sister, Alexis Arquette. Arquette used her speech to speak about Alexis, a trans actor and activist who passed away in 2016, and highlighted the pressing need to end the persecution of the transgender community. “I'm in mourning, Alexis, and I will be the rest of my life for you until we change the world, until trans people are not persecuted," Arquette said. "And give them jobs, They're human beings, let's give them jobs, let’s get rid of this bias that we have everywhere."
“I am in mourning every day of my life, Alexis, and I will be the rest of my life until we change the world so that trans people are not persecuted.”— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 23, 2019
Thank you Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) for showing up every day for the trans community. #Emmys 💙💗⚪ pic.twitter.com/oggCNa6qWi
Michelle Williams, who won the award for Best Lead Actress in a Limited Series for her role in Fosse/Verdon, also used her acceptance speech to talk about an important issue — gender pay equality. Williams has spoken about the issue publicly after the revelation that she was paid significantly less than costar Mark Wahlberg for the movie All the Money in the World, and further pressed upon the issue with a stirring speech as she accepted her award. "My bosses never presumed to know better than I did about what I needed in order to do my job and honor Gwen Verdon," Williams said as she accepted her award. “The next time a woman, and especially a woman of color – because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterpart – tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her.”
Michelle Williams on getting paid equally at the Emmys: "So the next time a woman, and especially a woman of color because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterpart, tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her."— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) September 23, 2019