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Emmys 2019: Fleabag, Killing Eve and Game of Thrones among big winners


Story by Jack Foley

BRITISH talent won big at the 2019 Emmys, with triumphs for Fleabag, Killing Eve and Game of Thrones among the victors.

Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge had a particularly memorable night, taking home the prize for best leading comedy actress, best comedy series and best comedy writing, while Killing Eve star Jodie Comer won best leading drama actress for playing lethal assassin Villanelle.

Game of Thrones was named outstanding drama series for its eighth and final season, with Peter Dinklage also named best supporting actor in a drama series. The show won 12 awards in total when added to the trophies it took home at last week’s Creative Arts Emmys.

And the wins came despite a lukewarm critical and fan reception to the final series, which had prompted some to call for it to be re-written and shot again.

Game of Thrones is already the most honoured series and most-nominated drama in Emmy awards history.

Returning to Fleabag‘s triumphs, Waller-Bridge’s win for leading comedy actress was a particular surprise, as she was nominated against Emmy favourite Julia Louis-Dreyfus – who had been widely tipped to land the prize for her performance in the final season of Veep (a role she has been recognised for six times already).

But Waller-Bridge remained unflappably light-hearted in victory, joking: “It’s so wonderful and reassuring to know that a dirty, pervy, angry and messed-up woman can make it to the Emmys.”

And when taking to the stage a fourth time to pick up the trophy for best comedy series, she commented: “This is getting ridiculous! Fleabag started as a one-woman show at the Edinburgh Festival in 2014, and the journey has been absolutely mental to get here.”

And paying tribute to Fleabag‘s “hot priest”, she added: “Season two would not have exploded in the way that it did if it wasn’t for Andrew Scott, who came into our Fleabag world like a whirlwind and gave a performance of such depth and complexity it elevated the whole thing.”

The show’s director, Harry Bradbeer, won the prize for best director for a comedy series. He commented: “I think for a director, something like Fleabag only comes along once in your life. Thank you Phoebe for coming into my life like some kind of glorious grenade. Scientists are still trying to work out how someone so incredibly talented can be so utterly lovely.”

Jodie Comer’s win for her performance in Killing Eve tops off an extraordinary year for the actress, who also won a TV BAFTA in May for the same role.

“I was not expecting to get up on this stage tonight,” she said. “I cannot believe I’m in a category alongside these women, one of them who is my co-star Sandra Oh. Safe to say Sandra that this Killing Eve journey has been an absolute whirlwind and I feel so lucky to have shared the whole experience with you.”

Other British winners included Ben Whishaw, who won best supporting actor in a limited series for his role in A Very English Scandal alongside Hugh Grant (who had also been among the nominees).

Charlie Brooker won best television movie for Netflix show Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, a win he said he was “quite unprepared for”. The interactive show was innovative in the way that it allowed viewers to choose the way the film’s storyline unfolded.

In his speech, Brooker thanked his two children, joking: “I can never limit your video game screen time again, if I do I’m a disgusting hypocrite [because] it sometimes pays off.”

British writer Jesse Armstrong was recognised for his work on Succession, the Brian Cox-fronted drama about a media family, which won him best writing for a drama series.

Armstrong made reference to the strong UK showing at the ceremony in his speech, saying: “Quite a lot of British winners, maybe too many? Maybe you should have a think about those immigration restrictions.”

Of other notable victories, Pose star Billy Porter win for best actor in a drama series made history as the first openly gay black man to not only be nominated in the category but to win as well.

The 50-year-old reference James Baldwin in his speech, commenting: “I’m so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day. [He] said, ‘It took many years of vomiting up all the filth that I had been taught about myself and halfway believed before I could walk around this earth like I had the right to be there.’”

He added: “I have the right. You have the right.”

Sky and HBO co-production Chernobyl also claimed a top prize, winning Outstanding limited series, as well as writing for a limited series, movie or drama (for Craig Mazin) and directing for a limited series (for Johan Renck).

HBO reclaimed its dominance of the awards ceremony, a year after it and Netflix tied with 23 wins… with the streamer making history as the first of its kind to at least co-lead the pack. Put together with the Creative Arts ceremonies, HBO’s total haul came in at 34.

Second-placed Netflix finished with 27, while Amazon finished up with 15.

The ceremony, which recognises excellence in television, took place in Los Angeles on Sunday night (September 22, 2019), and was only the fourth one ever not to have a host.

More than 25,000 members of the Television Academy vote for the awards, which were first presented in 1949.

View the main winners at a glance