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Culture

Greek-American Sarandos’ Netflix Ties Record for Most Emmy Wins with 44

September 21, 2021

LOS ANGELES – Netflix’s The Crown and The Queen’s Gambit combined with Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso to sweep top series honors at the Emmy Awards on September 19, a first for streaming services that cemented their rise to prominence in the television industry.

“I’m at a loss for words,” said Peter Morgan, the creator and writer of the British royal saga The Crown, which collected acting, writing and directing awards in addition to four acting honors.

His comment may also apply to the premium cable channels that once ruled the Emmy Awards and to the broadcast networks — including Sunday’s ceremony host, CBS — that have long grown accustomed to being largely also-rans.

Netflix won a leading total of 44 awards, equaling the broadcast network record set back in 1974, by CBS. The streaming service, which fielded the first drama series nominee, House of Cards in 2007, finally won the category.

Greek-American Ted Sarandos, whose paternal grandfather immigrated to the United States from Samos, is the chief content officer for Netflix.

Newcomer Apple TV+’s first top series came less than two years after it launched.

The Crown and The Queen’s Gambit tied for the most wins with 11 awards each, as Ted Lasso topped the comedy categories with seven trophies.

The Queen’s Gambit made Anya Taylor-Joy a star and Emmy nominee for her portrayal of a troubled chess prodigy. Executive producer William Horberg singled her out in his acceptance speech.

“You brought the sexy back to chess, and you inspired a whole generation of girls and young women to realize that patriarchy has no defense against our queens,” he said.

There was a bright spot for HBO with its limited series Mare of Easttown, the crime drama that earned four Emmys, including a lead acting award for star Kate Winslet. For broadcaster NBC, Saturday Night Live again came through with variety honors.

The ceremony proved disappointing as well to those scrutinizing diversity in Hollywood. The record number of nominees of color yielded only two Black winners, including RuPaul for RuPaul’s Drag Race and star-creator Michaela Coel’s writing award for I May Destroy You.

Cedric the Entertainer proved a game host, moving from a hip-hop opening number to gags and sketches, but the relatively small crowd — a result of pandemic precautions — was fairly muted in their response to him and others’ one-liners.

There was a feeling of personal sadness that pervaded the night, with a number of winners recounting the loss of loved ones.

The Crown stars Olivia Colman and Josh O’Connor won the top drama acting honors Sunday, with Jason Sudeikis, star of the warm-hearted Ted Lasso, and Jean Smart of the generation-gap story Hacks, winners on the comedy side.

Colman and O’Connor were a winning fictional mother-son duo: She plays Queen Elizabeth II, with O’Connor as Prince Charles in the British royal family saga that combines gravitas and soap opera.

“I’d have put money on that not happening,” Colman said of the award, calling it “a lovely end to the most extraordinary journey” with the show’s cast and creators. She cut her remarks short, explaining why she was growing tearful.

“I lost my daddy during COVID, and he would have loved all of this.” she said.

O’Connor gave a shoutout to Emma Corrin, who played opposite him as Princess Diana and was also a nominee Sunday, as a “force of nature.”

He also offered thanks to his grandmother, who died a few months ago, and his grandfather, Peter O’Connor, for the “greatest gifts” of kindness and loyalty.

The show opened with a musical number that featured Cedric the Entertainer rapping a modified version of the Biz Markie hip-hop hit Just a Friend with lyrics like “TV, you got what I need.” LL Cool J bounded from the audience as stars including Greek-American Rita Wilson, Mandy Moore and more dropped verses celebrating the breadth of television.

More information is available online: https://www.emmys.com/.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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