Emmys: 'Atlanta's' Donald Glover Nabs Lead Actor, Best Director for a Comedy Series
Glover made history as the first African-American to win in the best directing category.
Atlanta's Donald Glover accepted the Emmy for lead actor in a comedy series as well as best directing for a comedy series, making him the first African-American to win in the directing category.
"I want to thank Trump for making black people number one on the most oppressed list," said Glover of the President while accepting his best actor honor. "He’s probably the reason I’m up here."
While onstage, Glover also thanked his family including his unborn son and his partner Michelle: "You love me no matter how crazy I get." He also thanked Atlanta director and producer Hiro Murai for teaching him the art of directing, as well as for being his best friend.
"This really belongs to Hiro Murai. He taught me everything about directing. He had the eye for this show first, and we sat down and he's just amazing. I really want to give this to Hiro and just say, 'I love you and thank you for being my best friend.'"
The director beat out Jamie Babbit for Silicon Valley, Mike Judge for Silicon Valley, Morgan Sackett for Veep, David Mandel for Veep and Dale Stern for Veep.
Speaking about his history-making win, Glover said he wasn't concerned with such labels. "I'm glad I was able to make history but that's not what I was trying to do," he said. I was trying to make great content."
Despite the two twins, Atlanta failed to take best comedy series from repeat champion Veep. "I was trying to beat Veep this year. Hopefully next year," Glover backstage of the HBO political satire, which is heading into its final season. "I mean that with love because I love their show."
Atlanta, which offers up a surreal take on Atlanta's rap scene, won the Golden Globe for best comedy series as well as the comedy actor trophy for Glover last January. The FX comedy, which will start shooting the second season in about a month, racked up six total nominations for the basic cable network — including best comedy, best actor in a comedy, best directing for a comedy and best writing for a comedy (for two different episodes, that is).
The Hollywood Reporter's chief television critic Tim Goodman called the Atlanta "beautiful, funny and evocative" in his review. "The series is wholly original in that it's an existential young black comedy about surviving the day — without explicitly trying to be representative of any of those things. Its simplicity and execution are shockingly self-assured as it avoids being pigeonholed," he wrote. "And in that, Atlanta immediately becomes one of the most fascinating shows on television."
The series marked Glover's return to TV after Community, which he starred in for five seasons. In a recent THR cover story, Community creator Dan Harmon acknowledged that the show was never the same after Glover left. "I needed to convince myself that Donald leaving wasn't the death of the show, but now that it's all over, I think we can agree that it was," he said.
In between Community and Atlanta, Glover headlined a semi-autobiographical comedy for NBC in 2012. He also launched a successful rap career under the name Childish Gambino. Recently, he turned his attention to film, where he's starring as Lando Calrissian in the eagerly awaited Han Solo spinoff movie. The Atlanta writers room moved to London, where the Lucasfilm movie was being shot, in order to write the second season near Glover.
"It's been a pretty good year," he said with backstage a laugh about his many projects. "I know everyone else is having an awful one but mine was OK."
Glover even snuck in a joke about the recent behind-the-scenes turmoil on the Han Solo film, where Chris Miller and Phil Lord were replaced by Ron Howard. "I got three great directors for the price of one," he said. "I've just been very lucky to work with talented people over the years."