The 68th Annual Emmy Awards: What Worked and What Didn’t

It’s always bothered me that the Emmys aren’t considered the beginning of awards season. That honor goes to the Hollywood Film Awards, which occur towards the end of the year and aren’t even aired on TV for the public to see. Beside that, the Emmys kickstart an exciting few months followed by the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Critics Choice Awards, People’s Choice Awards and culminated by the Academy Awards. This is 100% why I stand by the fact that the Emmys are the beginning of awards season. 

Like television, the Emmys are a constant. There’s never any scandal or drama—that aspect of Hollywood seems to overlook television (cue the obligatory joke that all of Hollywood overlooks television, AKA the basis of Seth Meyers’s monologue in 2014). There’s a diverse range of actors and shows nominated yearly, and history is made yearly with new nominees, winners and winning streaks. So yeah, the Emmys are a pretty important night in television. If you watch TV, you should watch the Emmys. 

But, just in case you didn’t this year (shame on you!), here’s a recap of what did and did not work this year.

What worked:


A lot of people showed up on the carpet ready to wow audiences. Kristen Bell, Viola Davis, Sarah Paulson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laverne Cox, America Ferrera, Priyanka Chopra, Tina Fey, Kathryn Hahn, Sarah Hyland, Sophie Turner, Rami Malek (in his white jacket) and countless others looked amazing on the carpet.

A special shoutout goes to Ellie Kemper, nominated for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, who turned up to the Emmys in a bright, yellow-toned Jenny Packham gown. Never in a million years would I have envisioned that gown working on Kemper on the carpet, yet when I saw it, I couldn’t look away. Kemper is the only person who could have pulled that look off.

What didn’t work:

Lack of Zac Posen Designs 

His clean lines and solid colors are stunning, and I wish he had designed more gowns for the night. 

What didn’t work: 

Same winners, same categories. 

Game of Thrones, Jeffrey Tambor for Transparent, Julia Louis Dreyfus for Veep. After a while, it gets a bit boring to watch the same people get up and accept the same awards, especially when there is a lot of new, deserving talent.

What worked: 

Julia Louis Dreyfus’s acceptance speech 

I always say and stand by the statement that even if JLD’s acting in Veep was sub-par, she deserves the Emmy for the speech she delivers each year. They’re always hilarious! This year she said something along the lines of how Veep went from being a political satire to a sad documentary-like show. But the most memorable part was seeing her tear up dedicating the award to her father, who passed away just two days before the Emmys. We could see how important it was to her, and that definitely made the repeat worth it.

What worked: 

Andy Samberg and Kit Harington 

They had a great little bit where the two of them said a bunch of stock phrases that could be used in next year’s promos. You just know that Samberg came up with these and sweet, soft-spoken Harington was so down to perform them with Samberg. If the academy doesn’t use these in next year’s promos, they’re definitely missing out on a great opportunity.

What didn’t work: 

They spelled poor Kit Harington’s name wrong!

What worked:

Leslie Jones’ monologue

In which she came on stage with some people from Ernst and Young and talked about how she had to add online security to her Twitter account. It was nice to see Jones, who is such a genuinely positive and funny woman, make light of all the awful things that have happened to her online in the past few months.

What didn’t work:

People attacking Leslie Jones

I’m just really sick of everyone who has attacked Jones recently. I will fight them myself. 

What worked:


What didn’t work:


He was perfect. In fact, I was tempted to make this entire article about how blessed we were as people to have had Jimmy Kimmel as our Emmys host this year.

I think somebody on television, and especially talk show hosts or variety comedy actors, should always host the Emmys. This proved true two years in a row. Last year, Andy Samberg was a hosting novice who took the Emmys stage and made it his own. This year, Kimmel kept the ball rolling. 

Kimmel has always had a dry sense of humor that works to make all audiences laugh. Every time he made a remark about how long the ceremony was, and how we’d all be watching well into our 80s, I couldn’t help but to agree and laugh along. 

Sure, he had a lot of little gags running through the show, such as having his mom make everyone in the audience peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with little notes in them, handing out juice boxes (I actually stood up and clapped when he went up to David Schwimmer, who played Robert Kardashian in The People vs. OJ Simpson, and just kept handing him boxes and saying, “juice…juice.”) and berating Maggie Smith for never showing up to collect her awards in person.

Obviously, the best part was when Matt Damon showed up. Fans know that Kimmel and Damon have a running “feud” that shows up on Kimmel’s late night show quite often. I was waiting for them to take advantage of this, and the icing on the cake was Damon’s quick Good Will Hunting reference. 

This year’s Emmys were an exciting, entertaining, and high-energy production. Obviously, a lot of great things happened, and if I were to cover all of them, I’d basically just reproduce the show. You can watch the entire 2 hour 7 minute 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards currently on Hulu, but don’t let me catch you doing the same next year.

Watch live! When the people who make your daily TV come together to honor television, it’s always bound to be a good night.