Host without a host: The highlights of the 2019 Emmys

Ana Costanzo, Staff Writer

By Ana Costanzo

In the golden age of television, the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards honored the incredible small-screen talents of 2019… doing so without a host. This decision proved to weigh upon the award show as it opted for a commentator with a microphone to grace audiences with mindless quips and purposeless jests. It was a blatant attempt to hone attention to a faceless voice which live audiences covered with boisterous applause. Instead of honing the no-host scheme, the award show opted to fill the void; however, the commentator was in a prison, and unfortunately for audiences, someone decided to give the prisoner a mic. At least the Emmys was a memorable night for TV. Here are a list of the night’s best moments: 

Winning Outstanding Lead Actress, Outstanding Director, Outstanding Writing, and Outstanding Series in the Comedy field, Fleabag swept the awards away from other contenders such as Barry, Veep, Russion Doll, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Good Place, and Schitt’s Creek (has anyone ever heard of this?) And rightly so. Its compelling narrative about a sex addict explores the possibility of gritty perversion, an idea rare to come by not only because of its biting honesty, but also its female perspective. 

2019 has proven to be a big year for Bill Hader as the Emmys nominated Barry (which he stars in,  co-created, and co-writes some episodes’ screenplays) for six awards; the Emmys also recognized Documentary Now! (which he stars in, co-created, and co-writes episodes’ screenplays, as well) with four nominations. Not only is he monopolizing TV, but also movie screens as he stars in upcoming Disney blockbusters, and he portrays Richie Tozier in It: Chapter Two. Just what can’t this guy do? He certainly can’t lose an Emmy. Hader won the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. The nation seemingly can’t get enough of the former Saturday Night Live star.

The vivacious Billy Porter won for his portrayal of Godfather Pray Tell in the show Pose which is based on underground LGBTQ house balls in the 1980s. Winning Best Actor in a Drama Series, Porter lit up the Emmys with his moving speech of acceptance and love, being the first openly gay person to win a Best Actor award, while commanding the  show with his ensemble tuxedo gown and deluxe hat. 

Not only was 2019 a year for comedy, but it also proved a year for drama, most notably HBO’s Chernobyl. There’s a reason why the show is a limited series. With its horrific dramatization of a whispered disaster, it portrays the dangers of corrupt government while also displaying the heroic manner of everyday men and women fighting for life after Russia’s horrific nuclear meltdown. The show won for Best Directing, Writing, and Outstanding Series for a Limited Series or Motion Picture. This would not be HBO’s only award show winner of the night…. 

In a not-so-final-twist, the ending minutes of the Emmys proved powerful storytelling after eight grudging seasons of lies and betrayal as deserving of the accolade. Of course Game of Thrones won Outstanding Drama Series. It was bound to happen, and yet, I still was compelled to stare wide-eyed at my television screen. In a year of visionary storytelling, the Emmys wrapped it up in a Christmas bow to say farewell to a beloved show. Winter came and went and what receptive audiences are left for the Emmys shall wait to till next awards season to see which show fills the void of an empty space.