73rd Primetime Emmy Awards
A poster featuring an Emmy statuette in front of a dark background with lights scattered around
Promotional poster
Date
Location
Presented byAcademy of Television Arts & Sciences
Hosted byCedric the Entertainer
Highlights
Most awards
Most nominations
Comedy SeriesTed Lasso
Drama SeriesThe Crown
Limited or Anthology SeriesThe Queen's Gambit
Television/radio coverage
Network
Runtime3 hours, 15 minutes[1]
Viewership7.83 million
Produced by
Directed byHamish Hamilton

The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards honored the best in American prime time television programming from June 1, 2020, until May 31, 2021, as chosen by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.[2] The award ceremony was held live on September 19, 2021, at the Event Deck at L.A. Live in Downtown Los Angeles, California, and was preceded by the 73rd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards on September 11 and 12. During the ceremony, Emmy Awards were handed out in 27 different categories. The ceremony was produced by Reginald Hudlin and Ian Stewart, directed by Hamish Hamilton, and broadcast in the United States by CBS and Paramount+. Cedric the Entertainer served as host for the event.

At the main ceremony, The Crown became the first drama series to sweep the major categories, winning seven awards including Outstanding Drama Series. Ted Lasso led all comedies with four wins including Outstanding Comedy Series, while Hacks won three awards. Mare of Easttown also won three awards, leading all limited series, but Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series went to The Queen's Gambit. Other winning programs include Halston, Hamilton, I May Destroy You, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, RuPaul's Drag Race, Saturday Night Live, and Stephen Colbert's Election Night 2020. Including Creative Arts Emmys, The Crown and The Queen's Gambit led all shows with 11 wins each, while Netflix won 44 awards to lead all networks and platforms.

Winners and nominees

Jason Sudeikis, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series winner
Jason Sudeikis, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series winner
Jean Smart, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series winner
Jean Smart, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series winner
Josh O'Connor, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series winner
Josh O'Connor, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series winner
Olivia Colman, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series winner
Olivia Colman, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series winner
Ewan McGregor, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie winner
Ewan McGregor, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie winner
Kate Winslet, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie winner
Kate Winslet, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie winner
Hannah Waddingham, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series winner
Hannah Waddingham, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series winner
Tobias Menzies, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series winner
Tobias Menzies, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series winner
Gillian Anderson, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series winner
Gillian Anderson, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series winner
Evan Peters, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie winner
Evan Peters, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie winner
Julianne Nicholson, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie winner
Julianne Nicholson, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie winner

The nominations for the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards were announced on July 13, 2021, by Ron and Jasmine Cephas Jones via a virtual event.[3] Including nominations at the 73rd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, The Crown and The Mandalorian tied for the most nominations, with 24 each. HBO and HBO Max received a combined 130 nominations, making them the most-nominated network, ahead of Netflix by only one nomination.[4] Ted Lasso became the most-nominated first-year comedy series in the awards' history with 20 nominations. The Apple TV+ sports comedy surpassed the record held by the Fox musical comedy-drama Glee, which received 19 nominations in 2010.[5] Michaela Jaé Rodriguez of the series Pose became the first transgender person to be nominated for a major acting Emmy Award.[6][7] Additionally, 43 non-Anglo actors received nominations for acting, besting the previous record of 36.[8]

The winners were announced on September 19, following the Creative Arts Emmys on September 11 and 12.[9] The Crown and The Queen's Gambit led all series with 11 wins each.[10] The two shows gave Netflix its first series wins after 30 previous nominations for comedy, drama, and limited series dating back to 2013.[11] The Crown won all seven drama categories at the main ceremony, becoming the first show to sweep the major drama categories.[12] It also became just the third show to complete a sweep of the major categories, following Angels in America as a limited series in 2004 and Schitt's Creek as a comedy in 2020.[13][14] The Queen's Gambit became the first web series to win Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series.[15] Netflix led all platforms with 44 wins, marking the first time it won more awards than any other network or platform[16] and tying the record set by CBS in 1974 for the most wins by a network in a year.[17] The Handmaid's Tale was nominated for 21 awards but did not win any, breaking Mad Men's record of 17 winless nominations in 2012 for the largest "shutout" in Emmys history.[18]

In individual achievements, RuPaul became the most-awarded black individual in Emmys history with his win as a producer of RuPaul's Drag Race for Outstanding Competition Program.[19] Michaela Coel became the first black woman to win for limited series writing for I May Destroy You.[20] Jean Smart became the second woman to win Emmys for lead, supporting, and guest acting in comedies, after Betty White.[21] Directing wins for Lucia Aniello and Jessica Hobbs marked the first time women won Emmys for comedy and drama directing in the same year.[22]

While a record was set for diverse nominations and the ceremony featured many presenters of color,[23][24] white individuals won all 12 major acting trophies. This led to the hashtag #EmmysSoWhite trending on Twitter, echoing #OscarsSoWhite from the 87th Academy Awards in 2015.[25][26] For comparison, the previous year saw four black winners in the acting categories.[27] In total, only three individuals of color spoke when accepting awards – RuPaul, Coel, and Debbie Allen – though there were other winners of color on producing and writing teams.[23] The Creative Arts Emmys were more diverse, with three of the four guest acting winners being black and many people of color winning in technical categories, though those awards are considered less notable.[28][29]

Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface, and indicated with a double dagger (‡).[30][31][a] For simplicity, producers who received nominations for program awards, as well as nominated writers for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, have been omitted.

Programs

Programs

Acting

Lead performances

Lead performances

Supporting performances

Supporting performances

Directing

Directing

Writing

Writing

Governors Award

The Governors Award was presented to Debbie Allen "in recognition of her numerous contributions to the television medium through multiple creative forms and her philanthropic endeavors around the world".[34][35]

Nominations and wins by program

For the purposes of the lists below, "major" constitutes the categories listed above (program, acting, directing, and writing), while "total" includes the categories presented at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Shows with multiple major nominations
Nominations Show Network
13 Ted Lasso Apple TV+
11 The Crown Netflix
The Handmaid's Tale Hulu
9 Hamilton Disney+
8 WandaVision Disney+
7 Mare of Easttown HBO
Saturday Night Live NBC
6 Hacks HBO Max
I May Destroy You HBO
Lovecraft Country HBO
The Queen's Gambit Netflix
5 The Flight Attendant HBO Max
The Mandalorian Disney+
Pose FX
3 Black-ish ABC
Bridgerton Netflix
The Kominsky Method Netflix
This Is Us NBC
2 A Black Lady Sketch Show HBO
The Boys Prime Video
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver HBO
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert CBS
Mom CBS
PEN15 Hulu
Perry Mason HBO
The Underground Railroad Prime Video
Shows with five or more total nominations[36]
Nominations Show Network
24 The Crown Netflix
The Mandalorian Disney+
23 WandaVision Disney+
21 The Handmaid's Tale Hulu
Saturday Night Live NBC
20 Ted Lasso Apple TV+
18 Lovecraft Country HBO
The Queen's Gambit Netflix
16 Mare of Easttown HBO
15 Hacks HBO Max
12 Bridgerton Netflix
Hamilton Disney+
9 The Flight Attendant HBO Max
I May Destroy You HBO
Pose FX
RuPaul's Drag Race VH1
7 Allen v. Farrow HBO
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver HBO
The Social Dilemma Netflix
The Underground Railroad Prime Video
The Voice NBC
6 The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart HBO
Bo Burnham: Inside Netflix
David Byrne's American Utopia HBO
The Kominsky Method Netflix
Queer Eye Netflix
This Is Us NBC
5 A Black Lady Sketch Show HBO
Black-ish ABC
The Boys Prime Video
Dancing with the Stars ABC
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet Netflix
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Disney+
Halston Netflix
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert CBS
Top Chef Bravo
Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist NBC
Shows with multiple major wins
Wins Show Network
7 The Crown Netflix
4 Ted Lasso Apple TV+
3 Hacks HBO Max
Mare of Easttown HBO
2 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver HBO
The Queen's Gambit Netflix
Shows with multiple total wins[31]
Wins Show Network
11 The Crown Netflix
The Queen's Gambit Netflix
8 Saturday Night Live NBC
7 Ted Lasso Apple TV+
The Mandalorian Disney+
6 Love, Death & Robots Netflix
5 RuPaul's Drag Race VH1
4 Mare of Easttown HBO
3 Bo Burnham: Inside Netflix
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet Netflix
Hacks HBO Max
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver HBO
Pose FX
WandaVision Disney+
2 David Byrne's American Utopia HBO
Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square Netflix
Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal Adult Swim
Hamilton Disney+
I May Destroy You HBO
Life Below Zero National Geographic
Lovecraft Country HBO
The Social Dilemma Netflix

Nominations and wins by network

Networks with multiple major nominations
Nominations Network
41 HBO/HBO Max[c]
29 Netflix
22 Disney+
14 Hulu
13 Apple TV+
12 NBC
8 CBS
5 ABC
FX
4 Prime Video
2 Peacock
Showtime
Networks with five or more total nominations[38]
Nominations Network
130 HBO/HBO Max[c]
129 Netflix
71 Disney+
46 NBC
35 Apple TV+
26 CBS
25 Hulu
23 ABC
19 Prime Video
16 FX
11 VH1
10 National Geographic
8 Quibi
7 Fox
6 Paramount+
Showtime
5 YouTube
Networks with multiple major wins
Wins Network
10 Netflix
9 HBO/HBO Max[c]
4 Apple TV+
Networks with multiple total wins[31]
Wins Network
44 Netflix
19 HBO/HBO Max[c]
14 Disney+
10 Apple TV+
8 NBC
6 VH1
3 ABC
FX
2 Adult Swim
CNN
Fox
National Geographic
Showtime

Presenters

The awards were presented by the following people:[39][40]

Presenters at the ceremony
Name(s) Role
Seth Rogen Presented the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series[41]
Yara Shahidi Presented the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series[42]
Presented the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie[43]
Presented the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie[44]
Mindy Kaling Presented the award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series[45]
America Ferrera Presented the award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series[46]
Stephen Colbert Presented the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series[47]
Kerry Washington Presented the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series[48]
Presented the award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series[49]
Kaley Cuoco Presented the award for Outstanding Variety Talk Series[50]
Ken Jeong Presented the award for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series[51]
Presented the awards for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series[52][53]
Bowen Yang Presented the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series[54]
Jennifer Coolidge Presented the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series[55]
Presented the award for Outstanding Competition Program[56]
Presented the Governors Award to Debbie Allen[57]
Presented the award for Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie[58]
Patrick Stewart Presented the award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie[59]
Presented the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie[60]
Taraji P. Henson Presented the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie[61]
Presented the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series[62]
Catherine Zeta-Jones Presented the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series[63]
Aidy Bryant Presented the award for Outstanding Variety Special (Live)[64]
Amy Poehler Presented the award for Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)[65]
Uzo Aduba Presented the In Memoriam segment[66]
Awkwafina Presented the award for Outstanding Comedy Series[67]
Adrien Brody Presented the award for Outstanding Drama Series[68]
Angela Bassett Presented the award for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series[69]

Ceremony information

Cedric the Entertainer served as the ceremony's host.
Cedric the Entertainer served as the ceremony's host.

On March 2, 2021, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, also known as the Television Academy, announced that the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards would be held on September 19.[70] CBS broadcast the ceremony as part of a rotating deal among the "Big Four" networks (CBS, ABC, Fox, and NBC) signed in 2018.[71] Additionally, it was announced that the ceremony would be available live and on-demand via ViacomCBS's streaming service Paramount+.[70] Executive producers Reginald Hudlin and Ian Stewart returned after working on the previous year's ceremony, with Done and Dusted and Hudlin Entertainment producing. Hamish Hamilton also returned as director from the previous year.[72] On July 12, Cedric the Entertainer was announced as the ceremony's host.[73] Reggie Watts served as the DJ for the ceremony,[74] and MC Lyte was the show's announcer.[75]

In an interview with Variety, Hudlin and Stewart explained that they aimed to make the ceremony a "celebration" after the events of the previous year. They also sought to create a "party environment" for the audience and viewers at home.[75] Cedric voiced similar thoughts, remarking that "television got us through this last year" and seeking to honor that.[76] The usual theater seating was not included; instead, nominees were seated at tables with food and drink available.[77] According to Hudlin, he and Stewart had wanted to try such a setup for a while, and the ceremony offered a great opportunity for them to try it.[75] For nominees who could not attend in person for logistical reasons or due to health concerns, remote sites were set up; for instance, the cast and crew members of The Crown attended together from a remote site in London.[78]

Effects of COVID-19 pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the previous ceremony had been held as a virtual event with no in-person festivities. Jimmy Kimmel hosted the ceremony from Staples Center with no audience, while all nominees appeared remotely via video link.[79][80] Initially, the Television Academy planned to return to a modified in-person ceremony at the Microsoft Theater. However, due to concerns over SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant and increasing infections in California, it was announced on August 10 that the Primetime Emmy Awards and Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards would be relocated to another L.A. Live venue, the indoor-outdoor Event Deck, and have a further reduction in attendance.[81] The Event Deck had been used before as the site for the ceremony's Governors Ball afterparty,[82] which was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.[83] Attendees were asked to wear masks when not on camera and during commercial breaks.[78]

When announcing the move to the Event Deck, the Television Academy explained that the change would allow the ceremony to "utilize an indoor/outdoor setting and more socially-distanced audience seating."[84] However, presenter Seth Rogen criticized the tent-based setup during the ceremony, remarking, "What are we doing? They said this was outdoors. It is not. They lied to us."[85] The comments, which were delivered off-script and partially tongue-in-cheek, led to criticism of the event on social media and reportedly frustrated producers Stewart and Hudlin. Cedric and Watts explained later in the ceremony the procedures that had been put in place to ensure a safe event.[86][87] The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health also clarified that the ceremony was fully compliant with COVID-19 regulations for film, television, and music productions, which included proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of the event.[88]

Category and rule changes

In December 2020, the Television Academy announced several rule changes for the 2021 ceremony, including merging the Outstanding Variety Talk Series and Outstanding Variety Sketch Series categories after previously splitting them in 2015.[89] However, this decision was reversed in February 2021.[90] Another rule change clarified that anthology series would compete in the limited series categories, which were renamed accordingly.[89] In June, it was announced that acting nominees and winners could request that the gender-neutral term "performer" be used instead of "actor" or "actress" on their certificates and statuettes.[91]

After trimming the number of categories at the main ceremony from 27 in 2019 to 23 in 2020, the Television Academy announced in July that the awards for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series and Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) would be moved to the main ceremony.[92] In August, the awards for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series and Outstanding Variety Special (Live) were also added to the main ceremony.[93][94] Other categories that had been presented at the main ceremony in previous years, such as Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series, were kept at the Creative Arts ceremony.[92]

Critical reviews and viewership

The broadcast generally received mixed to negative reviews.[95][96] Mike Hale of The New York Times remarked that the ceremony had "a certain level of spirit in the room — you got the feeling people were having a good time... But it was an insular jollity, one that didn't really come through the screen." He also criticized the scripted portions and noted that the best parts were "more off the cuff".[97] IndieWire's Ben Travers noted that the awards were "a traditional telecast" befitting CBS's light, safe programming and found that it lacked a "special sauce ... to distinguish it for anything good". He praised the stars of the evening but found the comedy and presentation poor, and he found the lack of diversity among the winners disappointing.[98] Entertainment Weekly's Kristen Baldwin found that most of the jokes "didn't just fall flat — they cratered",[99] while Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone called it "one long coffin flop" that "decided to remind everyone what sucked about [award ceremonies]".[100]

Some critics reviewed the broadcast more positively. Sonia Saraiya of Vanity Fair remarked that she generally enjoyed the ceremony and called it "a suave, sleek event", though she added that the lack of diversity among winners despite the diverse nominees and attendees "suggested that the Television Academy wants to be something different, but is still figuring out how."[101] Robert Lloyd from the Los Angeles Times found the ceremony "fun, if nerve-racking" given the apparent disregard for COVID-19 protocols, singling out the pacing and energy for praise; he also applauded the diversity of the presenters.[102] Several moments also received praise even from negative reviews, such as Michaela Coel's acceptance speech and Conan O'Brien "injecting a little anarchy into the proceedings" from the audience.[99][100]

The ceremony was viewed by 7.83 million people in the United States, representing an 23% increase over the previous year's ceremony, which was the least-viewed in Emmys history. It also achieved a 1.81 rating among adults ages 18–49, up from the previous year's 1.3 rating. The ratings figures only include those who watched the telecast on CBS, and not those who streamed it on Paramount+.[103] Viewership numbers were the best since the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2018,[104] and the ceremony snapped a six-year streak of record-low viewership.[1] Several publications remarked that the improved ratings were likely due to strong NFL broadcasts leading into the program.[105][106]

In Memoriam

The annual In Memoriam segment was presented by Uzo Aduba and featured Leon Bridges and Jon Batiste performing Bridges' song "River".[66][107][108]

In addition to the In Memoriam segment, several individuals were recognized elsewhere during the ceremony. Cedric the Entertainer opened the ceremony with a tribute to Markie with a television-themed version of the song "Just a Friend".[109] Michael K. Williams, who had been considered a frontrunner for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, was recognized by presenter Kerry Washington when she presented the category.[110][111] Jean Smart recognized Gilliland, her late husband, during her acceptance speech, while Lorne Michaels and John Oliver paid tribute to Macdonald during their speeches.[107]

Notes

  1. ^ The outlets listed for each program are the U.S. broadcasters or streaming services identified in the nominations, which for some international productions are different than the broadcaster(s) that originally commissioned the program.
  2. ^ Williams died between the end of Emmy voting and the ceremony.[32][33]
  3. ^ a b c d Parent company WarnerMedia combined HBO and HBO Max as a single platform for the purposes of counting nominations.[11][37]

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