TV

Politics and Trump references centrestage at 2017 Emmys

Television's glittering Emmy Awards placed politics front and centre on Sunday night, lavishing The Handmaid's Tale with awards for its bleak portrait of an authoritarian America.

The glitzy ceremony in downtown Los Angeles - the first under the administration of President Donald Trump - was widely expected to have a strong political flavour, and host Stephen Colbert set the tone in his opening monologue.

"However you feel about the president, and you do feel about the president, you can't deny that every show was influenced by Donald Trump in some way," he said. "All the late night shows, obviously, House Of Cards, the new season of American Horror Story."

Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale and HBO miniseries Big Little Lies were the big winners, with five statuettes each.

Big Little Lies cast members Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Alexander Skarsgard all went home with Emmys, along with director Jean-Marc Vallee. It also won outstanding limited series.

The Handmaid's Tale, Hulu's acclaimed series based on the 1985 novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, won awards for writing and directing as well as the biggest prize of the night - outstanding drama series.

Ann Dowd, picking up her first Emmy at age 61 for her portrayal of brutal instructor Aunt Lydia, spoke of how her award was "a dream", while outstanding lead actress Elisabeth Moss turned the air blue with an expletive-strewn acceptance speech.

Atwood, 77, said: "One takeaway would be 'never believe it can never happen here', which was one of the premises that I used for the book. And, as I've often said, nothing went into the book that people hadn't done."

Hulu will have the most to celebrate at the post-show parties, stealing a march on rival streaming platform Netflix, which won just four statuettes.

On a night that rewarded ethnic diversity, Sterling K. Brown picked up lead actor in a drama for This Is Us while Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe, Riz Ahmed and Donald Glover also made it to the podium.

But politics was always going to be the story of the awards from the moment John Lithgow picked up the first one - best supporting actor in a drama for his acclaimed turn as Winston Churchill in Netflix's British royal drama The Crown.

"In these crazy times, his life even as an old man reminds us what leadership and courage in government really looks like," he said.

NBC's long-running comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live (SNL) went into Emmys week with 22 nominations - the joint-highest total alongside Westworld - after a year of mercilessly spoofing the new commander-in-chief.

Its haul of five Creative Arts statuettes included outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for Melissa McCarthy for her "Unhinged Spicey" take on former White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

SNL took four statuettes, with Kate McKinnon tearfully accepting the award for best supporting actress in a comedy series for her portrayal of Hillary Clinton. Alec Baldwin won best supporting actor in a comedy for his Trump impersonation. - AFP

Main winners

  • BEST DRAMA SERIES
    • The Handmaid's Tale
  • BEST COMEDY SERIES
    • 
Veep
  • BEST LIMITED SERIES
    • Big Little Lies
  • BEST ACTOR, DRAMA
    • Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
  • BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA
    • Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale
  • BEST ACTOR, COMEDY
    • Donald Glover, Atlanta
  • BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY
    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • BEST ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE
    • Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
  • BEST ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE
    • Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
  • VARIETY TALK SERIES
    • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
    • Saturday Night Live
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