“The White Lotus” proved to be the hothouse flower of the Emmys.
Mike White, the creator of the HBO series, comes from an eclectic entertainment background, writing the film “School of Rock” but also appearing as a contestant on the reality show “Survivor.”
“Don’t come for me—please don’t vote for me off the island,” Mr. White said in one of his acceptance speeches.
HBO and sister streaming service HBO Max dominated the night with 12 wins, adding to their tally of 26 combined wins from the initial Emmy ceremonies. HBO’s reputation as the Emmy heavyweight for the company and the television industry as a whole hit hard, as the pandemic-era streaming boom faces the harsh realities of dwindling subscribers, budget cuts and cancellations.
HBO, which repeatedly won Best Drama for “Succession,” faced pressure from its parent company Warner Bros. Discovery to cut costs, most recently laying off 70 employees at HBO and HBO Max. (HBO Max also received an award for Gene Smart’s performance in “Hacks”.)
Netflix, dealing with market pressure and loss of subscribers, scored just three wins Monday night, bringing the streamer’s total Emmy tally to 25. “Squid Game” sought to become the first foreign language series to win the award.
HBO’s “Succession” went to the awards ceremony with 25 nominations in all categories, the highest number of all shows. The saga about backstabbers in a family business group won a total of four Emmys, including its second Drama Series win. “Succession” first won the top prize in 2020, but dropped out of the Emmys last year due to pandemic delays.
Matthew McFadden won for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role as the son-in-law seeking the approval of his Titan father-in-law. Producer Jesse Armstrong received the award for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series.
“The White Lotus”, a scintillating social satire set in a fictional resort in Hawaii, came out in the evening with 20 Emmy nominations, one of the most heights for any show. Eight out of 14 nominations in the running for supporting actor and actress for limited series were for the cast of “White Lotus”. In total, “The White Lotus” won 10 Emmys, including five from the Creative Arts Emmys held last week.
Jennifer Coolidge, who played a loopy resort guest on the series, took home the award for Best Supporting Actress. The producers of the Emmys tried to kick her off the stage during her acceptance speech, first with operatic music and then with something more peppy. But instead of going, she started dancing while swinging in a tight green outfit. Even as the audience cheered, Ms Coolidge did not finish her speech. His co-star Murray Bartlett, who played the chaotic manager of the hotel, also won for his performance.
In other drama categories, Lee Jung-jae won the Best Actor award for Netflix’s bloody South Korean sci-fi thriller “Squid Game”.
Zendaya won her second Best-Actress Award for her role as a troubled teen in HBO’s “Euphoria.” She was up against Laura Linney (“Ozark”), Melanie Lynskey (“Yellowjackets”), Reese Witherspoon (“The Morning Show”), and Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”).
Zendaya is now 26 years old and remains the youngest woman to receive the award. She was 24 at the time of her first Best Actress win.
In her acceptance speech, Zendaya expressed solidarity with fans of the show and its character, Rue, a high-school student struggling with drug addiction. She dedicated the award to “someone who has loved Rue, or feels like they are a Rue,” she said, thanking fans for sharing their stories with her: “I want to share them with me. and I take them with Rue.”
“Dopesic” (the opioid crisis), “The Dropout” (Theranos Scandal), “Inventing Anna” (a socialite scammer) and “Pam & Tommy” (the ’90s celebrity sex tape). The one to beat was “The White Lotus”, which tested the definition of “limited series” with the second season premiering in October. Michael Keaton won the Best Actor in a Limited Series award for his role in the Hulu series “Dopesic,” a drama about the opioid epidemic.
After receiving his trophy, he quipped, “The fake smile I am making makes my face hurt.” It was his first Emmy nomination and win for an acting role.
In comedy, Jason Sudeikis won Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as a big-hearted football coach with a troubled personal life in “Ted Lasso.” Among the actors he defeated were comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short, who were also competing for Best Actor in a Comedy award. Mr. Sudeikis won the award last year as well. In the show’s most recent season, he mined his sunny character for deep wounds, which may help explain his frantic optimism.
Sherrill Lee Ralph won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for her role as kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard in the ABC mockumentary “Abbott Elementary” about a Philadelphia elementary school.
Kenan Thompson begins the show with jokes about Zendaya, young people who don’t know what TV is and the whitewashing of the “Succession” cast.
He quipped about the series’ numbers on the bad behavior of the rich—including the night’s big nominee, “Succession.”
“‘Succession’ is the only show that has three brothers, and no brothers either,” he said.
He also addressed young people in the audience who he assumed would not know what a TV broadcasting network was. NBC, he explained, “is a network that used to show ‘The Office’.”