The hit HBO fantasy won its fourth Outstanding Drama trophy for its final season, while Peter Dinklage won his fourth Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, making him the only Game of Thrones performer to win an acting Emmy during the show’s run.
Fleabag, meanwhile, won four awards (the most of any program this evening), including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Director. Creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge also pulled off what was arguably the upset of the night, winning Outstanding Actress in a Comedy and besting Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who’d won the prize six times for each season of Veep and was angling for a perfect sweep for her turn in the final season of the political satire (Veep ultimately went home empty handed on the night).
Going without a host for the first time since 2003, the 2019 Emmy Awards instead relied on an array of presenters to pay tribute to — and periodically poke some fun at — the current TV landscape. The opening segment, for instance, featured Homer Simpson getting crushed by a piano and a flustered Anthony Anderson trying to keep the show together, before Bryan Cranston emerged to earnestly introduce a montage featuring clips of the night’s nominees.
Elsewhere, there was not only a standard in memoriam segment — helmed by Halsey, who covered Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time — but another for departing shows like The Big Bang Theory and Broad City (both Veep and Game of Thrones got their own special farewells). Actor Adam Devine also helmed an over-the-top song-and-dance number to introduce the Variety category, while comedian Thomas Lennon spent the night dropping one-liners about the winners with varying degrees of success (his most savage line: A shout out to “any of our previous lead actress winners who are watching tonight from prison… those two weeks are gonna fly right by” — a very pointed reference to Felicity Huffman).
While Game of Thrones won the top TV Drama prize, it didn’t fully dominate the category and instead made way for several first-time winners. Ozark picked up its first two Emmys, with Julia Garner beating out four GoT stars to take home the Outstanding Supporting Actress prize, while her co-star Jason Bateman won for Outstanding Director. Billy Porter beat out heavy-hitters like Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) and Kit Harrington (GoT) to win Outstanding Lead Actor for Pose, while Outstanding Lead Actress went to Jodie Comer for her turn in Killing Eve.
Outside of Fleabag‘s comedy dominance, Bill Hader scooped up his second straight Outstanding Actor in a Comedy trophy for Barry, while Tony Shalhoub and Alex Borstein won the Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress prizes for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
In the Limited Series category, Chernobyl was the biggest winner, securing trophies for Writing, Directing and Outstanding Limited Series. The acting awards, however, were divvied up amongst an eclectic mix of performers, three of whom delivered some of the most moving speeches of the night. Jharrel Jerome won Outstanding Actor for his turn in the Central Park Five series, When They See Us and dedicated his first win to “the men that we know as the Exonerated Five.” Patricia Arquette called for trans equality and honored her late sister, Alexis, while accepting her Outstanding Supporting Actress trophy for The Act. And Michelle Williams, upon winning Outstanding lead Actress for her turn in Fosse/Verdon, made an impassioned plea for closing the industry wage gap and creating a more welcoming environment for women and marginalized communities.
And in the Variety category, Saturday Night Live and Last Week Tonight cleaned up once again. The former won Outstanding Directing and Variety Sketch Series, while John Oliver’s HBO series won Outstanding Writing and its fourth straight Emmy for Outstanding Variety Talk Series.