All the 2015 Emmys’ standout winners, shocking speeches and funny moments

Viola Davis
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
Amidst the bejeweled dresses, plunging necklines, and quirky bow ties, this year’s Emmy Awards were filled with, well, awards. There were a few standout winners, surprise losers, fun moments, and bittersweet speeches in between that made it an all-around entertaining night. If you didn’t get a chance to watch, here’s the highlight reel.

Big winners, surprise losers

One of the biggest winners of the night was VEEP, which finally collected on its potential by taking home awards for Lead Actress (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss), and Supporting Actor (Tony Hale), as well as knocking the mighty Modern Family out of its spot to win for Outstanding Comedy Series.

But, for many reasons, the two biggest awards were for Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Drama. Viola Davis gave an elegant and moving acceptance speech after winning for her role in ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder. She is the first African American woman to win in Best Actress in a Drama, and Davis addressed the racial elephant in the room with grace. “African American women can’t win for roles that aren’t there,” she declared. Clearly, that’s changing. Indeed, her fellow nominee Taraji P. Henson (Empire) was a favorite to win in the category, but there is also much work to be done when it comes to diversity in Hollywood.

Meanwhile, Jon Hamm has been nominated for his role as Don Draper for every year Mad Men has run, but never won until last night. The actor crawled up on stage to humbly accept his award for the role that came to its conclusion this year, and received a standing ovation for it. It felt like some much needed closure for both Hamm and the troubled character he played for so long.

HBO (surprise, surprise) was really the biggest TV titan of the night, taking home awards (and many thanks) for a number of its programs, including VEEP, the miniseries Olive Kitteridge, and, of course, Game of Thrones. The latter broke records, in fact, bringing in a total of 12 awards. Through its run to date, Game of Thrones has received a total of 83 Emmy nominations, including 24 from this year alone.

There were plenty of expected winners as well, like Alison Janney for Oustanding Actress in a Comedy Series for Mom (her 10th Primetime Emmy), the great Bill Murray for his supporting role in in the miniseries Olive Kitteridge, and Amy Schumer’s new sketch show Inside Amy Schumer, which took home a trophy for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series.

But a few surprises as well, like Uzo Aduba (aka Crazy Eyes), who bested the competition to win Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy for her role in Orange is the New Black for the second year in a row, and gave one of the most emotional speeches of the night.

Jon Stewart got a nice send-off for The Daily Show winning a trio of awards, including Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series, Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, and Outstanding Variety Talk Series.

The Walking Dead was a serious omission from the event. While AMC got its kudos via a few Better Call Saul nominations, the show was shut out from the awards, along with Empire – both shows that broke ratings records in their first seasons. Homeland was also shut out, along with House of Cards, save for Reg E. Cathey’s win as a guest actor. Downton Abbey was also noticeably absent from the winner’s list. And while die-hard fans lobbied for Tatiana Maslany to get nominated for her multiple roles in Orphan Black, she lost out to some serious competition.

Other big winners included Jeffrey Tambor for his lead role in the comedy Transparent, Game of Thrones for Outstanding Drama Series, Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a drama, and Bessie for Outstanding TV movie. You can view the full list of winners here.

Follow us to the next page for video clips and must see moments from the big night.

Must-see moments

As is the case every year, there were plenty of memorable moments this year beyond just the dolling out of golden statues. Here are 12 must-see moments from the event.

The opening montage

The opening montage kicks off the show, so it’s important to capture viewers’ attention, and try to incorporate many of the shows being nominated. This year was no different. Host Andy Samberg is at a dinner party full of chatter about the latest shows, none of which he has seen. So he grabs a pile of DVDs and heads down to a bunker, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt-style, where he spends the next year catching up on every show imaginable. Well, except Castle, that is.

Goodbye to True Detective

Samberg made a few below-the-belt jabs during his opening, aimed at everyone from Bill Cosby to the (former) Subway guy/pedophile, Jared Fogle. (Interestingly, it was the same joke for both.) But when it comes to TV land, the most hurtful one was aimed at True Detective, when he declared that we said goodbye to the series this year, even though it’s still on. Ouch.

Ricky Gervais accepts award he didn’t win

Who can blame him? After being nominated 22 times, including this year, and anticipating another loss, Ricky Gervais asked for someone to pass him an Emmy, then pretended he had just won it. Along with some fake crying, he urged attendees to snap a few pics and post them to social media. Sadly, Gervais was right in his assumption and indeed lost. Again.

Jimmy Kimmel eats the nomination

Oh, the power. Jimmy Kimmel wants to prove that, since he has the envelope, he could decide the fate of the winner. So he opens it before announcing the nominee names, cuts out the winner’s name, and eats it. And yes, he announces their names and the winner (Jeffrey Tambor) with a mouthful of paper. Yum.

Lorne Michaels gets World’s Best Boss mug

A total of 40 nominees this year have worked for Lorne Michaels at some point in their career, many on Saturday Night Live. So, says Samberg, they pooled their money together to buy him the mug. But oops, according to the winner envelope it should have gone to Shonda Rhimes instead.

James Corden livens up the accountant presentation

Usually, the most boring part of the ceremony is the presentation of the Ernst & Young accountants. Not if James Corden has anything to do with it. His introductory speech was given with gusto, calling them heroes who work with nothing but mathematics. Not only did he encourage the entire audience to give them a standing ovation, but he then proceeded to get a selfie with the three representatives. Something tells me that one won’t be going viral. Good try, though, Corden.

Andy Samberg reveals his HBO Now login

I wonder how many people actually tried? Samberg declared that, since HBO says they aren’t worried about password sharing, he’d give out his account information. Sure enough, spelled out across the screen was a user name and password for what he alleged to be his account.

Tribute to the shows that have ended

Jokes aside, there was a short, but lovely, tribute to the shows that ended this year, including Mad Men, Parks & Recreation, Boardwalk Empire, and Nurse Jackie. But wow, spoiler alert: If you’ve been meaning to binge watch any of these, you may wish to skip past this section.

John Oliver’s jabs at Alex Trebek

John Oliver was only on stage for a few minutes to present the award for limited series, but he had the audience in stitches as he declared that really, every show on TV is technically a limited series, except for Jeopardy. The world could end, he says, but Alex Trebek would still be there correcting librarians and passive-aggressively making fun of contestants’ hobbies. So true.

The In Memoriam tribute

This video montage is always a must-see at the show, and this year’s edition let us pay tribute to those we lost this year, including Joan Rivers, B.B. King, Wes Craven, Bob Simon, Leonard Nimoy, Dick Van Patten, Jan Hooks, and Frank Gifford, among others.

Tatiana Maslany eats a can of beans

Samberg check out the red carpet camera to see what’s going on out there. It looks desolate until we see Tatiana Maslany come into view with a metal detector, looking for loose change. She finds a can of beans instead, starts munching away, and ends up in a brawl with Tony Hale. It was silliness to the max.

Tracy Morgan presents the final award

While many thought his upcoming hosting gig for the new season of Saturday Night Live would be the first time we saw Tracy Morgan in the spotlight following his terrible car accident, he surprised everyone by walking on stage (no cane!) to present the final award. Near tears, the actor is clearly not quite himself just yet, but showed glimpses of the Morgan we all know and love. It was a beautiful way to end the show.

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