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8 Surprises and Snubs of the 2016 Emmy Winners

By  · Published on September 20th, 2016
A sample of the diverse winners from left to right: Jill Soloway, Alan Yang and Aziz Ansari, Rami Malek

You guys. This was a seriously great year for the winners at the Emmys. From queer women (like Sarah Paulson and Kate McKinnon) to nonwhite actors (Rami Malek and the Master of None team of Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang for example) to new shows (Orphan Black and Mr. Robot) being crowed, it seemed like diversity and progress were the name of the game at Sunday night’s show. Even the repeat winners of Game of Thrones and Veep were exciting and welcomed wins with both shows coming off of series best work. Of course, however, no awards show is perfect and there were a lot of welcomed surprises mixed in with dissatisfying snubs.


Rami Malek: Malek’s win was not so much of a surprise as it was sign of moving forward. His electric performance propelled Mr. Robot’s first season into the spotlight and kept viewers coming back each week. It is completely unlike anything else on television right now and, perhaps, that is exactly why he beat out everyone else in his category. We are comfortable with the characters his competitors play in their shows, even fellow first time nominee Matthew Rhys, because they have been around for several seasons. Plus it was super satisfying and excited to see Malek become the first nonwhite actor to win in this category in 18 years.

An instantly iconic Emmys moment.

Tatiana Maslany: The best and most deserving win of the night came as a total shock: Tatiana Maslany taking home gold for Best Actress in a Drama Series for her many, many roles in Orphan Black. Many pundits saw this award going to Viola Davis or Robin Wright, but a new voting system seemed to work in Maslany’s favor. This year, the TV Academy replaced their preferential ballot where voters had to rank each of the nominees to a popular ballot where they listed just their number one choice. Regardless of the specifics on HOW she won, her win was the highlight of the whole ceremony and basically broke the Internet.

Ben Mendelsohn: Now, I did not see this one coming considering the facts that Mendelsohn’s screen time was significantly reduced in season two and that Netflix just recently cancelled Bloodline. Mendelsohn, though, is a critic favorite from the show and probably benefited from the fact that the two Game of Thrones actors (Peter Dinklage and Kit Harrington) most likely split the votes. Whatever the case, I am definitely happy for Mendelsohn’s win.

Susanne Bier: Bier was nominated against five other male directors in her category and beat them all. That is just freaking awesome. Way to kick butt for the ladies, Susanne Bier.


The Americans: This show losing out on everything (except for Character Actress Margo Martindale at the Creative Arts Emmys last week) is a travesty. I would have absolutely loved to have seen it take home the top prizes, but knew realistically that it was not going to happen. I did, however, think it had a shot at actually taking home the only below the line award it was up for: Best Writing for a Drama Series. This is a show driven by its smart dialogue and they submitted a stellar episode (the season four finale “Persona Non Grata”) for consideration. The winners of the other categories it lost to are incredible and deserving, but there is no way that GoT’s “Battle of the Bastards” is the superior writing showcase.

My personal reaction to The Americans losing.

House of Cards: It looks like Netflix’s flaMgship show will continue to be the perennial bridesmaid of the Emmys. Among its 13 nominations, many pundits were predicting stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright to take home the top acting prizes, but both lost out to fresh new winners. Hard to believe that these two stars are still waiting for their first wins, but here we are. Maybe next time.

Fargo: Almost all of the Limited Series categories, with the exception of Sarah Paulson locking for Best Actress in a Limited Series, were a neck and neck competition between two FX shows: Fargo and American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson. While People vs. O.J. came out a dominant winner, the excellent second season of Fargo came away empty handed at this Sunday’s telecast (it previously won two at the Creative Arts Emmys). Most pundits were predicting a win for supporting actress Jean Smart, but she lost to Regina King and the other “American Crime” show.

AMC in general: Gone are the days when AMC reigned supreme at the Emmys; it’s all about HBO now, folks. In a breakdown of winners by network and show, one can see that the premium cable giant garnered a massive 22 wins, with over half belonging to GoT. This was the first year at the Emmys for AMC without their beloved Mad Men or Breaking Bad and it showed. All the way at the bottom is AMC with just two wins, one being the aforementioned win for Susanne Bier directing The Night Manager.

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