Diversity wins as Handmaid’s Tale, Veep and Big Little Lies triumph at Emmys

Diversity was the big winner at an Emmy awards in which the most successful shows were female-led and the most successful men were African-American.

Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale – the Hulu streaming-service’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian feminist novel – was named the Best Drama series, with its star Elisabeth Moss winning the award for the Best Actress in a Drama. Ann Dowd won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama and there were also awards for the directing, another woman Reed Morano, and the writing, for the creator Bruce Miller. It was a particular victory for Hulu, beating bigger rivals Amazon and Netflix to become the first streaming service to win the Best Drama series Emmy.

The mini-series Big Little Lies also picked up five awards in its categories; Best Limited Series, Best Actress for Nicole Kidman, Best Supporting Actress for Laura Dern and Best Supporting Actor for Alexander Skarsgard. Its director, Jean-Marc Vallee was also honoured. Collecting her awards, Kidman said that she and co-star Reese Witherspoon had created the show because there weren’t enough good roles for women.

In the comedy category, Best Series went to Veep, with the Best Actress Emmy going to its protagonist Julia Louis-Dreyfus for a record sixth successive year.

This is Us star Sterling K Brown was name the Best Actor in a Drama – the first time a black actor had won in that category for two decades – while Donald Glover won the Best Actor in a comedy award for Atlanta. He also became the first black winner of the Best Director of a Comedy Series Emmy, while Lena Waithe was the first African-American woman to win for comedy writing, for the show Master of None, which she co-wrote with the star, Aziz Ansari.

At a ceremony devoted to American television, British winners are often few and far between, but British Asian Riz Ahmed was named Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie, or The Night Of and Charlie Brooker took the honours for Best Writing for a Limited Series or TV Movie for an episode of Black Mirror, which was also named the Best TV Movie.

A British comic, little known in the UK, John Oliver, won two awards for the satirical show Last Week Tonight.

With diversity running through the ceremony like a stick of rock, politics was never far from the forefront, with many winners poking fun of Donald Trump, including Alec Baldwin, whose Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy recognised – among other roles – his parodying of the President on the sketch-show Saturday Night Live.

There was shock from the audience when one comedy interlude came from none other than President Trump’s former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, himself mocked on Saturday Night Live. He made fun of his own much pilloried comments about the number of people who watched Donald Trump’s inauguration by standing at a podium, resembling that at the White House, and claiming “this will be the largest audience to witness the Emmys, period — both in person and around the world.”

There was similar shock from awards predictors when two of the shows with the most nominations, Westworld and Stranger Things, went home empty-handed.

Other shows that might have expected to feature, the final season of Game of Thrones and the revival of Twin Peaks weren’t screened in time to be eligible so they will have to wait another year to see how highly members of America’s TV academy rated them.

The full list of the 2017 Emmy winners:


Best Comedy: “Veep” (HBO)

Best Drama: “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)

Best Limited Series: “Big Little Lies” (HBO) 

Best Actress, Comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” (HBO)

Best Actor, Comedy: Donald Glover, “Atlanta” (FX)

Best Actress, Drama: Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)

Best Actor, Drama: Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us” (NBC)

Best Actress, Limited Series or TV Movie: Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies” (HBO)

Best Actor, Limited Series or TV Movie: Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of” (HBO)

Television Movie: “Black Mirror: San Junipero” (Netflix)

Supporting Actor, Drama: John Lithgow, “The Crown” (Netflix)  

Supporting Actress, Drama: Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)

Supporting Actor, Comedy: Alec Baldwin, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

Supporting Actress, Comedy: Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

Supporting Actor, Limited Series or Movie: Alexander Skarsgard, “Big Little Lies” (HBO)

Supporting Actress, Limited Series or a Movie: Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies” (HBO)

Variety Sketch Series: “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

Directing for a Comedy Series: Donald Glover, “Atlanta” (“B.A.N.”) (FX)

Variety Talk Series: “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” (HBO)

Reality Competition Program: “The Voice” (NBC)

Writing for a Comedy Series: Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe, “Master of None”(“Thanksgiving”) (Netflix) 

Writing for a Drama Series: Bruce Miller, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (“Offred (Pilot)”) (Hulu)

Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Drama: Charlie Brooker, “Black Mirror: San Junipero”(Netflix)

Directing for a Drama Series: Reed Morano, “The Handmaid’s Tale”(“Offred (Pilot)”) (Hulu)

Directing For a Limited Series: Jean-Marc Vallée, “Big Little Lies” (HBO)

Directing for a Variety Series: Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live” (“Host: Jimmy Fallon”) 

Writing for a Variety Series: “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”(HBO)

*Structured Reality Program: “Shark Tank” (ABC)

*Unstructured Reality Program: “United Shades of America With W. Kamau Bell” (CNN)

*Guest Actress, Drama: Alexis Bledel, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)

*Guest Actor, Drama: Gerald McRaney, “This Is Us” (NBC)

*Guest Actress, Comedy: Melissa McCarthy, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

*Guest Actor, Comedy: Dave Chappelle, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

*Animated Program: “Bob’s Burgers” (FOX)

*Reality Host: RuPaul Charles (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”)

*Awards presented during the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony on Sept. 9-10.