Emmys: Best and Worst Moments of 2017 Awards Ceremony

6:54 PM 9/17/2017

by Katherine Schaffstall and Kara Haar

Stephen Colbert hosted the awards show honoring the best TV from the past year.

The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards took place Sunday night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, with Stephen Colbert hosting the ceremony live on CBS.

Below, The Hollywood Reporter recaps the most memorable moments of the night.

  • Colbert's Musical Number and Opening Monologue

    Colbert began the show with an opening number about how the world may be going through turmoil, but everything is great on TV. With the help of Anthony Anderson, Allison Janney and Chance the Rapper, Colbert danced and sang his way through the worlds of This Is Us, Stranger Things, Veep and The Americans.

    Following the musical performance, the host addressed the past year in television. He also thanked Game of Thrones, on behalf of all of the nominees, for the HBO show’s ineligibility this year.

    Other highlights from the monologue include Colbert trying to get Milo Ventimiglia to reveal how his This Is Us character dies and a joke about HBO melting their Emmys down to pay for next year's hacker ransom.

    Of course, the speech became political when Colbert reminded the audience of how President Trump is bitter about never winning an Emmy for The Apprentice. Colbert then showed a tweet from 2014 in which Trump stated that the 2014 Emmys host Seth Meyers did a poor job and that he must have had “marbles in his mouth.” The camera then cut to Meyers with marbles falling out of his mouth.

  • Sean Spicer's Surprise Appearance

    Following jokes about Trump being the biggest star of television this past year, Colbert expressed his hope that the ratings for this year’s awards ceremony would be up to Trump's standards. Sean Spicer then rolled out onstage behind his infamous podium. Making reference to time as White House press secretary, he said, “This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period. Both in person, and around the world.”

    “Melissa McCarthy, everyone!” Colbert responded. The actress won an Emmy last weekend for her portrayal of Spicer on Saturday Night Live.

  • Stephen Colbert Goes to 'Westworld'

    In a prerecorded bit in between awards, a naked Colbert visited the Westworld Diagnostic Facility as a malfunctioning "host," poking fun at HBO's breakout hit Westworld.

    Bernard Lowe, played by Jeffrey Wright, asked, “Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?” Colbert then responded, “Every day since November 8th." 

  • Alec Baldwin Dedicates His Win to Trump

    Alec Baldwin won the Emmy for best supporting actor in a comedy series for his portrayal of President Trump on Saturday Night Live.

    While accepting the award, the actor said, “At long last, Mr. President, here is your Emmy,” referencing Colbert’s opening monologue in which he reminded the audience of Trump’s bitterness at not winning an Emmy of his own for The Apprentice.

    The Emmy winner also made another jab at the president when he mentioned that this past year he and his wife, Hilaria, did not have a baby: “You put that orange wig on, it’s birth control, trust me.”

  • Kate McKinnon Thanks Hillary Clinton During Acceptance Speech

    The Saturday Night Live actress won her second Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series during the awards ceremony. Her speech included a special shout-out to Hillary Clinton, and she praised the politician for her “grace.”

    McKinnon is known for portraying Clinton on SNL and shared the screen with the politician in a sketch last season in which Clinton played a bartender giving McKinnon’s Clinton a pep talk during the 2016 election.

    The acceptance speech also included acknowledgments for the show’s writers and her castmates.

  • RuPaul Dressed Up as an Emmy Award

    The reality show host pretended to be a gold statuette in a sketch with host Stephen Colbert.

    "Do you like Oscar?" Colbert asked.

    "He’s cute," responded RuPaul's Emmy. "We actually dated for a little while. I had to break it off, I just couldn’t date a man who’s naked all the time holding a sword." 

  • Jackie Hoffman Yells “Damn It” After Losing

    Jackie Hoffman, who was nominated for best supporting actress in a limited series for her role on Feud: Bette and Joan, was caught on camera yelling, “Damn it! Damn it!” after Laura Dern was announced as the category winner.

    Hoffman later took to her Twitter to poke fun at her reaction. "Laura Dern had famous parents. Forgive me for being from real people #elitism #Emmys2017," she wrote in one tweet. She later made a series of outlandish claims about Dern, including that she "looted art from Nazi victims" and "runs a child porn ring" with the hashtag, #soreloser.

  • Rachel Bloom Sings a Song for the Accountants

    Colbert isn’t the only person who showed off his musical chops at the Emmys. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom took the stage during the ceremony to introduce the accountants from Ernst & Young, performing a theatrical song-and-dance routine to introduce what she claimed is “the best part of the show.”

  • Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel Poke Fun at Oscars Flub

    The host of the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards referenced the Moonlight/La La Land incident that took place at the Oscars earlier this year. 

    At the 89th Academy Awards, La La Land was mistakenly named best picture. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty read the wrong name after the envelopes were mistakenly switched. The cast of La La Land made their way to the stage to begin their speech before Kimmel, the Oscar host, interrupted the cast to explain the real winner was Moonlight.

    Since the infamous Oscar flub, many award shows have poked fun at the moment. During the Emmys, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel drowned their sorrows after losing the best variety talk series award to Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.

    “Sometimes they put the wrong name in the envelope,” said Kimmel. “It's possible that happened here.”

    “Not tonight,” Colbert replied.

  • 'Handmaid’s Tale' Wins Best Drama Series

    The Hulu original series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel won the final award of the evening, capping a big night for the streaming series.

    When accepting the award, showrunner Bruce Miller thanked members of MGM for supporting the series. He joked, “You guys supported us when we wanted to do horrible things to Rory Gilmore,” referencing Gilmore Girls and Handmaid's Tale actress Alexis Bledel.

    The Handmaid’s Tale is the first streaming series to win the best drama prize. Series regulars Elisabeth Moss and Ann Dowd also won best actress in a drama series and best supporting actress in a drama series during the ceremony. Earlier in the night Reed Morano won the Emmy for outstanding directing for a drama series, while Miller accepted the award for outstanding writing in a drama series. Alexis Bledel previously won the best guest actress in a drama series award at the Creative Arts Emmys Awards.