Long-standing barriers fell at Sunday’s Emmy Awards as Viola Davis became the first non-white actress to claim top drama series acting honors, Jon Hamm finally won for “Mad Men,” and “Game of Thrones” overcame voters’ anti-fantasy resistance to claim the most trophies ever in a season.
An emotional Davis, who won for her portrayal of a ruthless lawyer in “How to Get Away With Murder,” invoked the words and spirit of 19th-century African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” Davis added. “You cannot win Emmys with roles that are simply not there.”
“Empire” star Tariji P. Henson, another black nominee in the category, stood and applauded Davis’ win. Other African-American actresses who prevailed Sunday were Uzo Aduba and Regina King, who won for supporting performances.
“Mad Men” star Hamm claimed the best drama actor Emmy that eluded him seven times before. He bypassed the steps to the Emmy stage, scrambling onto it on his stomach.
“There has been a terrible mistake, clearly,” said Hamm, who played troubled ad man Don Draper in the series that ended its run without adding another best-drama trophy to its haul of four previous wins.
It lost to “Game of Thrones,” which became only the second so-called “genre” series, after sci-fi drama “Lost,” to win. The blood-soaked fantasy saga won a combined 12 Emmys on Sunday
Peter Dinklage nabbed the best supporting drama actor award for “Game of Thrones,” which also won writing and directing trophies. Tracy Morgan, the actor-comedian seriously injured last year in a car accident, made a triumphant return to reveal “Game of Thrones” the best drama series.
Host Andy Samberg noted that the 67th Emmys coincided with the 67th birthday for George R.R. Martin, whose novels are the basis for “Game of Thrones.” A smiling Martin was in the theater audience to accept the congratulations, and was onstage for the big win.
“Transparent” emerged as an early winner at Sunday’s Emmy Awards, capturing a best comedy actor trophy for Jeffrey Tambor and a directing award for its creator, and giving both winners a chance to pay tribute to the show’s trangender themes.
Singer Jason Derulo is 26. … Actress Maggie Grace is 32. … TV personality Nicole Richie is 34. … Singer Liam Gallagher is 43. … Actor Luke Wilson is 44. … Singer Faith Hill is 48. … Actress Cheryl Hines is 50. … Film writer-producer Ethan Coen is 58. … Actor Bill Murray is 65. … Author Stephen King is 68. … Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen is 81.
Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.