Emmys: 12 Memorable Moments From the 2018 Show

9:07 PM 9/17/2018

by Christi Carras

A wedding proposal was just one of the highlights of Monday's telecast.

Glenn Weiss proposes Jan Svendsen - Getty - H 2018
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Multiple standing ovations, conversations about diversity and sexual harassment, and a wedding proposal were just some of the standout moments from Monday’s 2018 Emmy Awards ceremony.

Perhaps the biggest watercooler moment was Oscars director Glenn Weiss’ onstage marriage proposal to his girlfriend, but honorable mentions included an opening song about diversity and a thank-you from Jeff Daniels to his TV horse.

Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" hosting duo Michael Che and Colin Jost emceed the ceremony live from the Microsoft Theater.

Read on for more memorable moments.

  • Oscars Director Glenn Weiss Proposes Live Onstage

    Winning the directing for a variety special award became just a small piece of 2018 Oscars director Weiss’ night after he used his opportunity on the Microsoft Theater stage to propose to his girlfriend, Jan Svendsen. "You wonder why I don't like to call you my girlfriend? Because I want to call you my wife," Weiss said to stunned faces in the audience, followed by jubilant applause.

    Weiss made the proposal official by inviting Svendsen up to the stage, where he got down on one knee and said, "Jan, I want to put this ring that my mom wore on your finger in front of all these people and in front of my mom and your parents watching from above. Will you marry me?” Svendsen accepted, and the pair sealed their engagement with a kiss before walking offstage.

  • Michael Che Gives Shout-Out to Colin Kaepernick

    At the end of the broadcast, hosts Jost and Che addressed the camera to thank the Emmys crew, the creative team and former NFL player Kaepernick, who made waves when he became the first of many to kneel during the national anthem in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

    The internet erupted with opinions from supporters and skeptics when Nike released an ad featuring Kaepernick that read “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” As evidenced by his statement, Che is on board.

  • Claire Foy Dedicates Lead Drama Actress Award to Matt Smith

    The Crown’s Foy had many people to thank for her lead drama actress win, but none more than her TV husband Smith. Foy made a statement by dedicating her award to her co-star on the show, which sparked controversy earlier this year when reports surfaced of pay inequity between Foy and Smith.

    Though several have criticized Netflix for paying a prince more than the queen, Foy stood by Smith throughout the media storm that followed — a gesture she carried through to her Emmys win. She also dedicated the award to the upcoming season three cast of the series, which features Olivia Colman as the new Queen Elizabeth II. Netflix has since announced that, “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.”

  • In Memoriam Segment Honors John McCain

    In addition to industry members including Aretha Franklin, Anthony Bourdain, Mitzi Shore, Harry Anderson, Neil Simon, Monty Hall, Burt Reynolds and Rose Marie, the TV Academy also chose to dedicate a section of the montage to late Sen. John McCain.

    Before he died in August, McCain was the subject of the HBO documentary John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls. The entire segment played to the soundtrack of Franklin singing a rendition of the gospel standard "Amazing Grace."

  • Regina King Gets Standing Ovation for Limited Series or Movie Supporting Actress

    While the rest of the audience rose to their feet to applaud Seven Seconds star King for winning lead actress in a limited series or movie, King stayed seated with her mouth wide open. 

    She then expressed her shock verbally during her speech when she admitted, “I didn’t have anything to say because I wasn’t really expecting this,” before taking a moment to address her series’ themes of racial injustice: “Thank you for the opportunity to tell a story and hold a mirror up to what’s going on today.”

    Che later revisited the moment after a commercial break when he welcomed viewers back by congratulating King on her win.

  • Rachel Brosnahan Calls for Americans to Vote

    During her acceptance speech for comedy actress, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Brosnahan got political, after thanking her colleagues and loved ones, by asking people to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.

    “So if you haven’t already registered, do it on your cellphone right now,” she told the audience. "Vote, show up and bring a friend to the polls.”

  • Thandie Newton Wishes Daughter Happy Birthday Onstage

    Newton had more to celebrate than just her supporting actress in a drama series win for her performance as Maeve in Westworld. After thanking HBO and God — whom she called “her” — the actress took a moment to wish her daughter a happy 18th birthday.

    “I get to guide you and love you and protect you,” Newton said before exiting the stage.

  • Jeff Daniels Thanks His TV Horse

    Daniels’ supporting actor in a limited series or movie acceptance speech took an unexpected turn when — in addition to his colleagues and family — the actor decided to give a shout-out to the trusty steed that accompanied his character, Frank Griffin, in Godless.

    “He was Jeff Bridges’ horse on True Grit, and I felt he was making unfair comparisons,” the actor quipped.

  • Henry Winkler Gets Standing Ovation for Supporting Actor in a Comedy

    After receiving five Emmy nominations since the 1970s that yielded nary a win, Winkler’s sixth and most recent nomination finally got him the long-sought Emmy, for supporting actor in a comedy. To celebrate the occasion, the entire audience rose to their feet to applaud the Barry star, who made light of his long road to Emmy gold in his acceptance speech.

    “I only have 37 seconds, and I wrote this 43 years ago,” he joked, before adding, "If you stay at the table long enough, the chips come to you, and tonight I get a chance to clear the table."

  • Sterling K. Brown, Kristen Bell, RuPaul and More Sing "We Solved It!"

    Instead of hosts Che and Jost, the top of the show featured a smattering of presenters and nominees who sang “We Solved It!” a song-and-dance number satirizing Hollywood’s diversity problem. SNL stars and supporting comedy actor nominees Kate McKinnon and Keenan Thompson kicked off the sing-along, with quippy lyrics like, “We solved it! We’ve gotten with the times. There’s room for all our voices, but mostly Shonda Rhimes.”

    Later, Brown, Bell, RuPaul and more joined the pair of comedians with their own additions, taking aim at everything from token characters of color to Roseanne Barr.

  • Che and Jost Tackle Sexual Harassment and Diversity in Opening Monologue

    The 2018 hosts did not shy away from controversial topics in the industry, dedicating much of their opening monologue to race and sexual harassment issues. Jost started the bit by congratulating "the many, many talented and creative people in Hollywood who haven’t been caught yet,” in reference to the #MeToo movement, as well as joking that the scariest news a network executive can receive besides Netflix dominating the nominees is, "Sir, Ronan Farrow is on line one."

    Later, Che broached the diversity discussion by calling out The Handmaid’s Tale’s themes of sexual violence and oppression ("It’s what black people call ‘history.’”), as well as bringing some lighter humor with wordplay inspired by Black-ish, or "how I’ve been asked to behave tonight.”

  • Betty White Gets Standing Ovation for Lifetime Achievement Award

    White was forced to wait several seconds before she began her acceptance speech for the lifetime achievement award while the audience jumped to their feet and cheered her onto the stage.

    When she did speak, she said she owed her career’s successes to Lorne Michaels and marveled at her own accomplishments — with a touch of humor. “It’s incredible that I’m still in this business, and you are still putting up with me,” she said.