Amazon Wins First Primetime Emmy, Leading Strong Night for Streaming Services

Photo by Phil McCarten/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images
Jill Soloway

Jill Soloway took home the Emmy for best directing in a comedy series for her work on 'Transparent.'

Amazon Studios was a big winner at the 67th annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night, marking a strong Emmy showing for streaming services. The studio, a division of the Seattle-based e-commerce giant, won two awards during the three-hour televised ceremony. 

Jill Soloway took home Amazon’s first Primetime Emmy Award for best directing for a comedy series, calling out the tech giant’s CEO in an acceptance speech that also advocated for trans rights. Her win was quickly followed by Jeffrey Tambor’s win for lead actor in a comedy series for his turn as transgender woman Maura Pfefferman. 

Much has been made of Netflix’s foray into original programming, with critically beloved series House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, but despite Netflix’s multiple nominations over the last three years, 2015 was the first year that nontraditional outlets outside of the broadcast and cable networks took home multiple major Emmy awards — David Fincher won outstanding director for a drama series in 2013. 

In its first Emmys showing, Amazon has figured out how to both delight critics and Television Academy voters, even though it is resting entirely on the groundswell around one show. At the Creative Arts Emmys on Sept. 15, Transparent took home three trophies, including guest actor in a comedy series for Bradley Whitford, officially earning Amazon entry to the Emmy-winners club. 

The show earned 11 total Emmy nominations, more than any other comedy series nominated this year. That helped Amazon, a newcomer to the Emmys, rank 12th among nominated networks and platforms with 12 total nominations. (Bosch had one nom for main titles.)

Netflix, meanwhile, scored a win on Sunday night in the supporting actress category for Uzo Aduba’s turn as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in Orange Is the New Black. 

In total, Netflix had 34 nominations — 11 for House of Cards, seven for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and four for Orange Is the New Black — placing it seventh among nominated networks. It won three awards at the Creative Arts Emmys, including one for documentary Virunga in the cinematography for nonfiction programming category.

Last year, Netflix went home empty-handed from the Primetime Emmy Awards after taking home seven trophies at the Creative Arts ceremony. At this year's ceremony, neither Amazon Studios nor Netflix won for outstanding comedy series or outstanding drama series.