This year’s Emmys were awash with shocking media moments, but in terms of the actual awards content, Donald Glover and Julia Louis-Dreyfus were among the winners who claimed historic victories at the ceremony.
Donald Glover became the first black director to win an Emmy for comedy direction, winning for Atlanta episode “B.A.N.”, an experimental standalone, that put the show in an alternate universe of Black Entertainment Television. This was one of the series’ best episodes do far, exploring an honest and funny look at race, black masculinity and outrage culture. Glover also took home the Emmy for lead actor in a comedy, becoming only the second black man to take the award – the first being Robert Guillaume, who won for Benson in 1985.
Elsewhere Lena Waithe (the first black woman ever nominated for comedy writing) took the Emmy for Master of None’s “Thanksgiving” episode, which she co-wrote with series creator Aziz Ansari. The story in the episode was inspired by Waithe’s own life, and followed her character, Denise, discovering her sexuality through her life and finally revealing it to her mother.
Reed Morano became only the second woman to win the Emmy was directing a drama series, for her work on the pilot episode of The Handmaid’s Tale. Mimi Leder was the first woman to win for ER in 1995.
Not all historic Emmy wins were first-timers however, as Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her sixth consecutive Emmy for her portrayal of career politician Selina Meyer on HBO’s Veep, making her the actress with the most Emmy’s for playing the same character. This also tires her with Cloris Leachman for the most acting victories, with a total of eight.
“It’s nuts,” Louis-Dreyfus said, summing up this remarkable run.