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2021 Emmy winners: Who took home the big awards?

TV’s biggest night has come and gone.  The Primetime Emmy Awards took place Sunday, September 19 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, with The Crown, Ted Lasso, and The Queen’s Gambit among the big winners.

With shows nominated from every major streaming service and across every genre, HBO led the pack in terms of nominations with an impressive 130. The Crown and The Mandalorian, from Netflix and Disney+, respectively, each had 24 nominations.

When it comes down to it, though, it’s all about the wins. The Crown and Ted Lasso both took home multiple awards in the biggest categories. Which shows, streaming services, and actors took home awards? Here’s a rundown of the results.

Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II in a scene from The Crown.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Uzo Aduba (In Treatment)
Olivia Colman (The Crown)
Emma Corrin (The Crown)
Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Mj Rodriguez (Pose)
Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country)

Winner: While Uza Aduba was a favorite to win, and Mj Rodriguez made history as the first trans actor to receive a leading category nomination, Olivia Colman’s performance as the resigned and dry-witted Queen Elizabeth II proved too tough to beat. With The Crown being one of the two most-nominated shows, it’s no surprise the Netflix series took home a win in this category (among many others) for Colman. This marks her first win and fourth nomination: Colman was previously nominated for her role in The Crown in 2020.

Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles in The Crown.
Alex Bailey / Netflix

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country)
Josh O’Connor (The Crown)
Rege-Jean Page (Bridgerton)
Billy Porter (Pose)
Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason)

Winner: Josh O’Connor’s name was called in this category for his role as Prince Charles. This marks the British actor’s first nomination and win. A stage actor, O’Connor is previously known for his television roles on series like Peaky Blinders, Hide & Seek, and Ripper Street.

Ewan McGregor sitting at a desk on the phone in a scene from Halston.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Paul Bettany (WandaVision)
Hugh Grant (The Undoing)
Ewan McGregor (Halston)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton)
Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton)

Winner: In one of the most surprising wins of the night, Ewan McGregor took home the award in this prestigious category. He impressed as fashion designer Roy Halston in the Netflix miniseries about his life. The series was adapted from the 1991 book Simply Halston by Steven Gaines and chronicled the designer’s rise and fall, from the creation of the pillbox hat worn by Jackie Kennedy to his personal and professional troubles. This marks McGregor’s first Emmy win: He was nominated three times before, most recently in 2017 for Fargo.

Kate Winslet as the lead character in Mare of Easttown.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You)
Cynthia Erivo (Genius: Aretha)
Elizabeth Olsen (WandaVision)
Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit)
Kate Winslet (Mare of Easttown)

Winner: While all five women in the category gave amazing performances, the predictions that Kate Winslet would win were proved correct. She delivered a passionate speech about the escapist crime drama and her character, a “middle-aged, imperfect, flawed mother,” that she says helped “everyone feel validated.” This marks Winslet’s third Emmy nomination and second win: She last won in 2011 for Mildred Pierce and was nominated in 2006 for Extras.

Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso in the Apple TV+ original series.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)
Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)
Kenan Thompson (Kenan)

Winner: It was no surprise that Jason Sudeikis took home the win for this category, adding an Emmy next to his Golden Globe for his hilarious title role in Ted Lasso. Apple’s pandemic hit is about an American football coach who travels to England to coach a soccer team. Aside from the cultural differences and Lasso being universally unwelcome by players and fans alike, there’s one bigger detail getting in the way: He has no knowledge of their version of “football.” It’s without a doubt a breakout year for the Saturday Night Live alum.

Jean Smart in Hacks.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Aidy Bryant (Shrill)
Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Tracee Elliss Ross (Black-ish)
Jean Smart (Hacks)

Winner: While Kaley Cuoco impressed with her turn in The Flight Attendant, the show skews more toward drama than comedy. Tracee Ellis Ross and Allison Janney are mainstays in this category, but Jean Smart delivered a powerful performance in HBO’s Hacks that earned the veteran actor her first Emmy in two decades (she previously won for Frasier and Samantha Who?)

Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown.
Des Willie / Netflix

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gillian Anderson (The Crown)
Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown)
Madeline Brewer (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Aunjanue Ellis (Lovecraft Country)
Emerald Fennell (The Crown)
Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale)

Winner: Fans were mesmerized by how beautifully and seamlessly Gillian Anderson was able to transform herself into Margaret Thatcher. And the veteran actor was handsomely rewarded for her work with an Emmy for the role. She dedicated the award to her longtime manager Connie in a very short and sweet speech.

A scene from The Crown featuring Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian)
O-T Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale)
John Lithgow (Perry Mason)
Tobias Menzies (The Crown)
Max Minghella (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Chris Sullivan (This Is Us)
Bradley Whitford (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Michael K. Williams (Lovecraft Country)

Winner: Despite some seriously stiff competition in this category, Tobias Menzies won the award for his role as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Menzies was not present at the ceremonies, so his award was accepted by presenter Kerry Washington. Prior to reading the nominees, Washington gave a heartfelt tribute to honor the late nominee Michael K. Williams, who passed away earlier this month.

Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca in Ted Lasso.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live)
Hannah Einbinder (Hacks)
Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)
Rosie Perez (The Flight Attendant)
Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live)
Juno Temple (Ted Lasso)
Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso)

Winner: With two women from Ted Lasso vying for the statue in this category, it was Waddingham’s brilliantly conniving performance as Rebecca, the “Iron Queen” football club owner with a soft side, that brought home the award. Waddingham beautifully captures the essence of a woman who seemingly has everything, yet is working to become the true self she lost so many years ago. Her chemistry with Jason Sudeikis and fellow nominee in the category, Juno Temple, contributes to both the humor and sweetness of the show.

Roy Kent on the field in a scene from Ted Lasso.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Carl Clemons-Hopkins (Hacks)
Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso)
Brendan Hunt (Ted Lasso)
Nick Mohammed (Ted Lasso)
Paul Reiser (The Kominsky Method)
Jeremy Swift (Ted Lasso)
Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live)
Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live)

Winner: “I was very specifically told that I was not allowed to swear,” said Goldstein during his acceptance speech before honoring a favorite pastime of his character from the show by presumably swearing as the network censored his words. The angry, surly, foul-mounted aging footballer Roy Kent who Goldstein plays is rarely heard without uttering expletives. Goldstein, who was actually hired as a writer for Ted Lasso before being cast in one of the lead roles, was the second cats member of the night to take home an award for the Apple TV+ series.

Two people play chess in The Queen's Gambit on Netflix.

Outstanding Limited Series or Movie

I May Destroy You (HBO)
Mare of Easttown (HBO)
The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime Video)
WandaVision (Disney+)

Winner: Considering how innovative WandaVision was, many believed that the Marvel show might just have taken the win. But because of how much time has passed, many forgot how The Queen’s Gambit was Netflix’s biggest scripted series to date with 62 million household views. Fans might have moved on from the brilliance of the series to binge others, but the series hadn’t been forgotten by Television Academy peers, and it was The Queen’s Gambit for the win.

Prince Charles and Diana with arms locked in a scene from The Crown.
Des Willie / Netflix / Netflix

Outstanding Drama Series

The Boys (Amazon Prime Video)
Bridgerton (Netflix)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Lovecraft Country (HBO)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Pose (FX)
This Is Us (NBC)

Winner: While it would have been nice to see fan-favorite The Mandalorian take home this prestigious award, or even Amazon Prime Video’s brilliantly violent The Boys, it was expected that Netflix would win for The Crown, and indeed, it did. Emmy-winning performances from Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II,  Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles, and Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip helped make for one of the most impressive seasons yet.

Ted Lasso and his assistant coaches on the sidelines of season 2 of the Apple TV+ original series.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Outstanding Comedy Series

Black-ish (ABC)
Cobra Kai (Netflix)
Emily in Paris (Netflix)
Hacks (HBO Max)
The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
Pen15 (Hulu)
Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

Winner: It would have been a shock if Ted Lasso, now in its second season, didn’t win, considering how much attention and critical acclaim the Apple TV+ original series has been getting this year. Many have praised Lasso for being an endearing source of positivity, driven by the title character’s infectious silver-lining optimism, which came at a perfect time during the scary early days of the pandemic.

More notable awards categories

The winners for these other awards categories are bolded.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Thomas Brodie Sangster (The Queen’s Gambit); Daveed Diggs (Hamilton); Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You); Jonathan Groff (Hamilton); Evan Peters (Mare of Easttown); Anthony Ramos (Hamilton)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Renee Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton); Kathryn Hahn (WandaVision); Moses Ingram (The Queen’s Gambit); Julianne Nicholson (Mare of Easttown); Jean Smart (Mare of Easttown); Phillipa Soo (Hamilton)

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

Conan; The Daily Show With Trevor Noah; Jimmy Kimmel Live; Last Week Tonight With John Oliver; The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

A Black Lady Sketch Show; Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Reality Competition Series

The Amazing Race; Nailed It!; RuPaul’s Drag Race; Top Chef; The Voice

Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
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