emmys2 e249f

The important meaning behind Sandra Oh’s jacket, Zendaya’s historic win and Catherine O’Hara’s long overdue victory made last night's 72nd annual Emmy awards one for the books. Last year the Emmys were heralded as a great awards show for female representation and although it is true that many talented women scored awards that night, they all had one thing in common: their whiteness. 

When Michelle Williams won the 2019 Emmy for Lead Actress in a Limited Series she said, “The next time a woman, and especially a woman of color — because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, male counterpart — tells you what she needs in order to do her job — listen to her.” 

This year the Emmys, perhaps in response to Williams' call, attempted to rectify this; three out of the five people nominated for Lead Actress in a Limited Series were Black women. In the other categories though, white female inclusion still seemed to count as diversity; four out of the six people nominated for Director of a Limited Series were white women. 

Thankfully, not only were women nominated but they also did a lot of winning. And, although a somewhat tired Jimmy Kimmel hosted, the female nominations and wins felt just as sweet. Here are BUST’s favorite moments (in no particular order): 

1. Zendaya's Major Win

In perhaps the most exciting moment of the night, Zendaya became the youngest winner of the Lead Actress in a Limited Series award for her role as Rue in HBO’s “Euphoria.” She accepted the golden statue surrounded by family and friends who made the whole affair seem much more like the typical, exciting award show. 

2. Catherine O'Hara's Long Overdue Victory 

Catherine O’Hara, a comedic legend, added to the “Schitt’s Creek” sweep of the comedy categories by winning Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her character Moira. O’Hara last won an Emmy in 1982 for comedy writing but has had our hearts ever since Moira graced our TV’s five years ago. In her acceptance speech, O’Hara remarked that the visibility of a complex, funny and dramatic older female character is not only liberating for herself but also for many other women. She said, “I will forever be grateful to Eugene and Daniel Levy for the opportunity to play a woman of a certain age — my age — who gets to fully be her ridiculous self.”

3. Annie Murphy's First Win

Following in her costars footsteps, Annie Murphy won Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Alexis on "Schitt's Creek." In her acceptance speech she said, “I’m so proud to be a part of a show that stands for love, kindness and inclusivity and acceptance. Those are things that we need more than ever right now.”

4. Julia Garner's Unexpected Win

For the second year in a row, Julia Garner won Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Netflix’s “Ozark.” This win was unexpected and Garner was physically affected by the shock but still took time to thank her fellow nominees saying, “You are the reason why I’m acting in the first place.”

5. Regina King's Success as a Badass Superhero

Regina King won a golden statue for her role in the HBO series, “Watchmen,” a show that got ample attention at last night’s awards. Her win as Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie as a Black female superhero is legendary and much deserved.

6. Uzo Aduba's Love for Shirley Chisholm

For her role depicting Shirley Chisholm in the show “Mrs. America,” Uzo Aduba won Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. Aduba left the virtual ceremony early to celebrate with her mother but before she did, she gave Chisholm a reverent thank you for paving the way. Aduba said, "In a time when - for women, black women, women of color - who were supposed to occupy a very narrow amount of space, she was not afraid to dare and live up to the fullness of her potential.” 

7. King and Aduba's Care for Breonna Taylor 

Both Uzo Aduba and Regina King used their screen time as Emmy winners to bring attention back to Breonna Taylor, the Black woman who was murdered by police in her Louisville home in March. Aduba sported a t-shirt with Taylor’s name and King donned her likeness under a pink suit. These two actresses constantly remind their audiences where the focus should be. 

8. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's Gratitude for Black Women 

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II won a golden statue for his role next to King in “Watchmen.” He dedicated his award to all the Black women in his life saying, “So, I dedicate this award to all the Black women in my life, the people who believed in me first. I call you my early investors. I love you. I appreciate you, and this one is for you.” 

HONORABLE MENTIONS: 

9. Sandra Oh's Impactful (and, cute) Jacket

Although Sandra Oh didn’t win an Emmy she still took the screen time opportunity to send a message. Her custom bomber jacket was made by a Korean-American brand, KoreLimited who used elements of both the Korean hanbok dress and the Black Lives Matter movement. The front of the jacket sported the words “Black Lives Are Precious” in Korean. Her support for this brand and her fellow female nominees is enough to keep us stanning for another year.

 

10. Our Love for "A Black Lady Sketch Show"

"A Black Lady Sketch Show" lost in the Variety Sketch Show category to Saturday Night Live which is, in and of itself, a funny joke. A Black Lady Sketch Show, which starred Robin Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, Quinta Brunson and Gabriella Dennis, was fresh, hilarious and a welcome addition to the sketch show universe. With, or without an Emmy, they’re still winners in our hearts. 

The 72nd Emmy’s provided a short break from the daily news cycle and encouraged us to celebrate female talent from the past year. Now, if you trust their judgement (but mostly ours), you must go enjoy “Schitt’s Creek,” “Euphoria” and “A Black Lady Sketch Show.”

 

Header collage by Aeva Karlsrud

More from BUST

Why Won't The Emmys Nominate Trans Actors For Awards?

Regina King's Directorial Debut Makes History

Meet The Real-Life Women Of Hulu’s New “Mrs. America,” A Series About The ERA

Madeleine Janz is a journalism student at the New School. She lives in New York City and enjoys film, as long as film means rewatching the same five rom-com's from the 90's every week. You can follow her @madilonglegs24 on Instagram and Twitter. 

Support Feminist Media! During these troubling political times, independent feminist media is more vital than ever. If our bold, uncensored reporting on women’s issues is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $25, $50, or whatever you can afford, to protect and sustain BUST.com. Thanks so much—we can’t spell BUST without U.