Emmys: The Winners' Reactions

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

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jeffrey Tambor, Amy Schumer and more reflect on their wins.

Mark Burnett, reality competition series winner for The Voice:

"This is young America's favorite show," exec producer Mark Burnett said of The Voice's second Emmy win for outstanding reality competition series. While the producers behind the NBC singing competition series relished their win over The Amazing Race — it was Monday that Burnett hoped to win as The Voice returns for its new season in 24 hours. "Let's hope we win tomorrow," Burnett said when asked if he thinks The Voice will represent NBC's lone Emmy win Sunday. As for NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, the exec producer praised now host Arnold Schwarzenegger but stopped short of confirming what the former governor's "You're fired" phrase will be, though he did address the question with an enthusiastic, "You're terminated!"

Allison Janney, supporting actress in a comedy winner for Mom, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, lead actress in a comedy winner for Veep

Allison Janney and Julia Louis-Dreyfus trotted out backstage together, where the former described how she felt about tying Ed Asner and Mary Tyler Moore as the only actor to win seven acting trophies. "It's never not bad to win an Emmy," said the Mom star, who's putting her seventh Emmy in her kitchen with her first six. "It's extraordinary." As for Louis-Dreyfus, she expertly channeled Veep alter ego President Selina Meyer when asked to comment about Kentucky clerk Kim Davis' refusal to grant licenses to gay marriage: "I'll tell you something. I think President Meyer would find a very expressive way of not expressing an opinion, straddling the subject so to speak. She would applaud her right to not do what she did, say something about the law of the land and, at the end of the day, not say one goddamn thing."

Jill Soloway, director of a comedy series winner for Transparent:

First-time Emmy winner Jill Soloway, whose dramedy Transparent is based on her life, used her platform backstage to build upon her acceptance speech calling for transgender equality. "People talk about the trans tipping point — and we're in such the early days of the trans civil movement," she told reporters Sunday. She singled out trans friends who are repeatedly denied jobs and noted that she hoped her Amazon comedy would help further the conversation. "If people understood … they'd work harder to change that," she said, plugging TransEquality.org. "It's amazing that a TV show, an Emmy and Amazon creates cultural change — and political change must follow." Soloway also used her time with reporters to push for more diversity behind the camera. "Directing is litigating for the way I see the world. Straight white men have had their hands on the camera and protagonists for way too long," she said, calling for more women, people of color and transgender directors behind the camera.

Jeffrey Tambor, lead actor in a comedy series winner for Transparent:

First-time Emmy winner Jeffrey Tambor — who became the first actor or actress to win an Emmy for playing a transgender character (for Amazon's Transparent) — called Maura Pfefferman a 71-year-old teenager in that she's still learning how to be herself (and put on makeup, as well as walk in heels). Tambor, who had been nominated six other times for supporting work, called playing Pfefferman a "huge responsibility" because he wanted to do it right — and because "lives are at stake." "With our stories and our humor, we're moving the whole question forward. … I always thought there was teaching in the laughter and in humor. With the laughter and real humor, you can kill prejudice and keep it far away." Like series creator (and fellow Emmy winner) Soloway, Tambor hoped that the victories mean more people check out the Amazon comedy. "This is bigger than me; it represents Amazon and what the trans community is doing and what the show is about. We're the little engine that could. I hope more people watch it and get to experience this revolution."

Frances McDormand, lead actress in a limited series or movie winner for Olive Kitteridge:

Speaking on behalf of the many winners of outstanding miniseries Olive Kitteridge, lead actress winner Frances McDormand was not shy about her desire to keep mining the character in more projects. "I want you all to start a social media campaign so we can all film more short stories from Olive Kitteridge," said McDormand, noting that there's more from Elizabeth Strout's source material that didn't make it into the mini.

Amy Schumer, creator of outstanding variety sketch series winner Inside Amy Schumer:

Amy Schumer had a lot of women to thank for her Emmy victory. "My best friends are mostly female comics, and I'm lucky to be around a strong, supportive group of women. I feel very supported by them," she said backstage. The Trainwreck star wasn’t sitting next to her fellow writers when her name was called onstage, which she attributes to being "newly famous," but she was still thrilled to share the award with them. "We’re all such a group of dirtbags," she said. Schumer also had some advice for how she gets through the red-carpet insanity. "I usually disassociate, which is something only available to you if you had a poor childhood," she joked. When asked about the Kanye West-Kim Kardashian red carpet fall, she explained that she just wanted to add a dose of reality into the celebrity couple’s lives. "What I attribute that moment to is seeing these two people who are mega-moguls in their prime in the moment and wanting to do something to remind people that we're all human and no one is more special than anyone else," she said. As for who she’s up for making out with tonight? "Anyone who is willing. Literally anyone. I brought my own lube."

Regina King, supporting actress in a limited series or movie winner for American Crime:

Regina King was almost as excited about her win as she was for lead actress in a drama victor Viola Davis. Veteran actress King found out about Davis' history-making win — becoming the first African-American actress to win in a leading role — backstage. "I want to curse right now!" she enthused. "That's pretty awesome. Her performance [in ABC's How to Get Away With Murder] was jaw-dropping to me. I felt like I was watching an actor's clinic." As for when her name was called from the stage, King didn't really believe she had won. "Did they really say that?! I wasn't expecting it!" she said, calling the ABC anthology a "special experience." In terms of celebrating, King said she'd knock back two martinis.

Armando Iannucci, creator of best comedy winner Veep:

The team behind Veep didn’t seem too concerned that they broke Modern Family’s winning streak. "We’ve made history by this being the first time we’ve won best comedy," Iannucci countered backstage, adding: "So in many ways, the tradition is maintained.” When asked whether he’s beginning to regret his decision to leave the series and pass his showrunning duties on to Dave Mandel, he seemed sure of his decision. “Like Italian tennis players who bow out as soon as they win the Open, this is a good course to follow," he said. "I feel that I’ve taken the show to where I wanted to take it, and I’m pleased to pass it on. ... Every show can benefit from new energy and new names and new ideas."

Tracy Morgan, presenter for best drama:

Tracy Morgan continued his Hollywood return backstage after presenting the Emmy for best drama onstage. Talking to the press, the emotional actor repeatedly thanked his wife and his publicist, Lewis Kay, for sticking by him during his recovery from a June 2014 car crash that left him severely injured and claimed the life of his friend and fellow passenger, comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair. "It was very overwhelming," he said of his Emmy return. "I waited 15 months, and I missed this stuff. When I got onstage it was overwhelming for me, and I just had to not be so emotional in that moment. I just wanted to let them know that I missed them very much." A clearly touched Morgan got emotional when addressing his initial fears that he wouldn't be able to recover from the traumatic brain injuries and said a big part of his therapy was TV and seeing his friends in the industry. "In that moment when it first happened and I didn't see any hope … as the months went by, part of my therapy was seeing TV and seeing my friends and saying, 'Hey, I'm coming back.' " 

Morgan also said a big part of his recovery process was his desire to walk his wife down the aisle without the use of a cane. "After that, I said I'm going back," Morgan said, crediting longtime publicist Kay with coming up the idea of letting Hollywood welcome him back. Morgan also credited Saturday Night Live boss Lorne Michaels with setting an example of how to bring the funny back after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "If God can get you to it, he'll get you through it," Morgan said. "I’m here and we'll get through it. That's all my wife kept saying: 'We'll get to the funny again,'" he said. "I learned that from Lorne."

Jon Stewart, best variety talk series winner for The Daily Show:
Accepting his final win in the category, and confirming he won't be submitting the last batch of Daily Show episodes for 2016 consideration, Jon Stewart talked about the last weeks of filming his show — and mocked one reporter from Time Warner, saying "Time Warner Cable, you motherf—ers. I am still waiting for service." — and what he thinks of replacement Trevor Noah. "I think we were just trying to get the shows done without being too circumspect so we didn't get melancholy," he said, before moving on to Noah. "He's such a great guy and has such a great foundation for this. He has the best team in the business behind him."
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, co-showrunners of best drama winner Game of Thrones:
HBO’s fantasy hit Game of Thrones finally took home a best drama Emmy, knocking out tough competition like Mad Men along the way. "Did they change the rules or something?" Benioff, who is married to Amanda Peet, joked backstage. "They said you could win with dragons this year," the show’s other boss, Weiss, laughed before offering a more thoughtful explanation: "We knew that there would be some resistance at first [to the idea that a] show set in this genre, instead of a crime drama or a Western, could be a serious drama and worthy of the same kind of attention as those other dramas. We hoped that if we did our jobs, … we’d get there eventually."
Viola Davis, actress in a drama series winner for How to Get Away With Murder:
Viola Davis made history Sunday when she became the first African-American to win a lead actress in a drama Emmy. Talking to press backstage, Davis encouraged the press to stop discussing and writing about those firsts. "One of the things I admire about [Murder production company] Shondaland is that [my character] Annalise Keating wasn't written specifically for a black woman. I made her black because I'm black," she said. "What needs to happen in the writing is when you put pen to paper, you've got to let your imagination fly." She noted that while history had been made, the story is still ongoing. "My story doesn't end here. It feels fantastic, but my husband and I started a production company and there's so much work that needs to be done in so many areas in the business with actors of color; so many narratives that need to be seen by people [and] stories that need to be seen and felt that I know it doesn't end here." Asked about Matt Damon's recent controversial comments, Davis admitted that she doesn't think people know how to discuss race. "I don't know if it's because of the history that it feels like an indictment if we do that," she said. "People need to understand that there is a line and there is a difference when it comes to actors of color in this business — it's not an indictment. I'm very happy about a lot of things in my career, … but if it's been 67 years since an actress of color won an Emmy [in a leading role], there's certainly a line and it needs to be acknowledged."
Uzo Aduba, supporting actress in a drama series winner for Orange Is the New Black:
When Uzo Aduba finally hit backstage, she used the words "overwhelming," "grateful" and "humbling" to describe how she felt. The Orange Is the New Black actress nabbed her second consecutive Emmy for playing "Crazy Eyes" in the Netflix dramedy. She was also quick to point out the impact the prison series has had on society. "Art that has any kind of social context wrapped around it has the ability to effect social change. The social consciousness like this has found its way into our show and has created a conversation space to discuss issues [surrounding] mental illness, the penal system, gender issues, sexual orientation," she said, adding: "Those types of conversations hopefully create the jumping-off point for adjustments and changes to happen in our society." As for how she plans to celebrate, she says it will involve a lot of dancing with her fellow Orange castmembers.