And now for something completely different: the Emmys in January!
The 75th Primetime Emmy Awards aired at last on Monday night, following a four-month postponement brought on by last year’s dual Hollywood strikes. But the delay didn’t change a fundamental truth of live awards broadcasts: There are good moments, bad moments and excruciatingly awkward moments, all of which applied to Monday’s Emmys, as well. There are not typically kisses between The Bear‘s Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Matty Matheson, but hey, that happened, too.
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In the list below, we’ve distilled the three-hour ceremony down to the 14 best, worst, weirdest and wildest moments, from the aforementioned lip-lock in the broadcast’s final minutes to the ongoing “feud” between Succession‘s Kieran Culkin and The Last of Us‘ Pedro Pascal. For every gorgeous acceptance speech like the one Niecy Nash-Betts delivered, there was something odd and misplaced happening on that Emmy stage, like the Two and a Half Men reunion that featured much more Method acting than it needed to.
And because award show cringe is not limited to the actual ceremony, we’ve also included a red carpet pre-show encounter that left us shielding our faces with our hands. (It’s Hannah Waddingham, people! Google beforehand!)
Keep scrolling to see all of the highs and lows from Monday night’s Emmys ceremony, then drop a comment with your own picks!
WORST: Cringiest Red Carpet Interview
E! Live From the Red Carpet host Laverne Cox was “so excited… so excited” to meet Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series nominee Hannah Waddingham, then proceeded to call her… Hannah Waddington, just as Seth Rogen did when he announced she’d won her first Emmy in 2021. (D’oh!) The Ted Lasso star politely corrected Cox, but Cox had trouble hearing her — “Say it again, honey,” she requested — prompting Waddingham to say her own name for a third time before their interview got underway. — Ryan Schwartz
DRAW: Déjà View
We’re always down for revisiting classic TV theme songs, but did no one on this year’s Emmys production team remember that the previous Emmys (hosted by “mayor of television” Kenan Thompson) did the near-exact same thing with its opening? — Matt Webb Mitovich
BEST: Applegate Gets a Standing O
Emmy nominee Christina Applegate, who in 2021 revealed that she’d been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, was brought to tears when the entire audience got up on its feet and applauded her as she made her way to the podium to present the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. But even better than seeing how happy it made her was how she chose to respond. “Oh my God! You’re totally shaming me with disability [sic] by standing up,” she deadpanned. “It’s fine!” — R.S.
BEST: Pedro’s Fightin’ Words
Not since Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon kicked off their fake feud have we enjoyed two celebrities “hating” each other this much. At last week’s Golden Globes, Succession‘s Kieran Culkin told The Last of Us‘ Pedro Pascal to “suck it” after Culkin won the trophy for Best Lead Actor in a Drama — and apparently, his threats didn’t stop at words! Upon taking the stage at Monday’s Emmys, Pascal jokingly informed us that his shoulder is in fact in a sling because “Kieran Culkin beat the s—t out of me.” Cut to the perfectly deadpan expression on Culkin’s face in the audience, a commitment to the character that we almost wish he hadn’t broken with some laughter moments later. Commit to the bit for years to come, please! — Rebecca Iannucci
WEIRDEST: Two and a Half Men’s Quasi-Revival
The Emmys reunited many a cast on Monday night — including Grey’s Anatomy and Martin — but only one duo slipped into their former roles. Well, sort of. Although Jon Cryer was clearly talking about himself when he indicated that he’d previously won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, he referred to Holland Taylor as “Mom.” In turn, Taylor referred to Cryer as “Alan, darling.” But again, they weren’t actually in character. Odd! — R.S.
BEST: ‘I Want to Thank Me!’
Passionate, eloquent, short and sweet, Niecy Nash-Betts’ acceptance for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series checked off all the boxes of a great awards show speech. Our absolute favorite moment came toward the end, when, after thanking Dahmer co-star Evan Peters and executive producer Ryan Murphy, the veteran performer took a moment to thank herself. “I want to thank me for believing in me and doing what they said I could not do,” she said. “And I want to say to myself, in front of all you beautiful people, ‘Go on girl with your bad self! You did that!’” Yes you did, Niecy! Yes you did! — R.S.
WORST: Bring Back the Playoff Music!
We truly never thought we’d miss orchestral playoff music at an awards show, and yet, here we are! The decision to have Anthony Anderson’s mother verbally cut off winners’ speeches seemed funny and unique in theory, but in execution — like when The White Lotus‘ Jennifer Coolidge was forced to speed through her final anecdote while Mama Doris held up a clock sign — it felt much ruder and more abrupt than gentle violins ever could. Fortunately, Mama Doris popped up minimally after her encounter with Coolidge — a wise move on the producers’ part. — R.I.
BEST: A Mid-Snack Victory Lap
We’re guessing that Black Bird nominee Paul Walter Hauser wasn’t expecting to win, since he was busy snacking on a handful of treats when he was announced as the winner. But he recovered quickly, high-fiving people while still chewing on his way to the stage before excitedly greeting the Grey’s Anatomy cast (“My wife loves your show!”) and then rapping (!) his way through a rhyming acceptance speech. — Dave Nemetz
WEIRDEST: Paging Cosmo Kramer
Um, what happened to the seat fillers this year? Following Hauser’s acceptance, we were struck by how many empty seats there were inside the Peacock Theater — like, rows upon rows of empty seats. And so close to the main stage! Is that where Fox decided to cut back? — R.S.
BEST: TV’s Comedy Queens Retake the Throne
SNL icons Tina Fey and Amy Poehler got back behind the Weekend Update desk for a hilarious bit introducing the nominees for Best Live Variety Special, firing off great zingers about the Oscars and Mean Girls along the way. Our only complaint? It was too short. Can we just have them host the Emmys next year? And every year? — D.N.
BEST: Ali Wong’s No. 1 Fan
It’s not that we don’t want to see Bill Hader at the actual Emmy podium himself, winning for Barry or any other show. But throughout this awards season, we’ve kinda loved him even more as girlfriend Ali Wong’s biggest cheerleader, a role he filled adorably once again when Wong won Monday for her turn in Netflix’s BEEF. After congratulating Wong with a kiss, he beamed during her acceptance speech, then appeared to tell his seatmates afterward that Wong’s win was “awesome.” Soft men (and Ali Wong) for the win! — R.I.
WORST: An Ill-Timed History Lesson
We’ve spared you a jarring screenshot of Sept. 11 news footage, but the Emmys didn’t quite extend that same courtesy to viewers on Monday night. In a montage of 75 years’ worth of televised milestones, we had been enjoying the memories of scripted television’s biggest moments… which were abruptly interrupted by clips of real-life news events, namely the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. Mingled among scenes from Breaking Bad, Ellen and other shows, the sudden pivot to actual tragedy was strange and unnecessary. — R.I.
BEST: Ally McBeal Dancing, Baby!
Capping a night of very fun if rote cast reunions, Calista Flockhart, Greg Germann, Gil Bellows and Peter MacNicol — the men emerging from a unisex bathroom stall, clown car-style — winningly channeled their dance party-prone Ally McBeal characters. All that was missing was Vonda Shepard at a piano. And Jane Krakowski. And Lucy Liu. And…. — M.W.M.
WILDEST: Kiss Cam
What better way to celebrate your first win for Outstanding Comedy Series than by planting a big, fat kiss on your co-star? When Matty Matheson went up to accept on behalf of The Bear, Ebon Moss-Bachrach surprised “Fak” by giving him a big ol’ smooch. And it lasted quite a while! — R.S.
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