The best and worst moments of Emmys 2022: Speeches, snubs and no slaps

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The 2022 Emmys turned out to be a beach roadshow—nothing too controversial happened (no, nobody slapped anybody). But it also moved at a brisk pace and included enough dynamic and funny moments that it wasn’t even a bad show.

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Host Kenan Thompson played it safe, and did a solid job of grazing things as well, injecting some laughs, but nothing too distracting. It was a big night for “Ted Lasso,” the freshman ABC comedy “Abbott Elementary,” as well as HBO’s “The White Lotus” and “Succession.”

Brett Goldstein and Jason Sudeikis both won for “Ted Lasso”, and it won for Outstanding Comedy Series, while producer Quinta Brunson and co-star Sheryl Lee Ralph both wrote and starred for “Abbott Elementary”. Trophies won. Meanwhile, Jennifer Coolidge and Murray Bartlett both won acting awards for “The White Lotus” and the show won “Outstanding Limited Series”. Amanda Seyfried and Julia Garner both also took home trophies (for “The Dropout” and “Ozark” respectively), while “Succession” took home the Outstanding Drama Series trophy.


Although it was a quiet night, there was room for real feelings, such as Lizzo giving a speech in which she said, “When I was a little girl, I only wanted to see me in the media. Someone as fat as me, like me.” As black, as beautiful as me,” which garnered applause.

Lizzo gives her speech during her victory for the Outstanding Contest event for “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls”.
AFP via Getty Images

and Sherrill Lee Ralph, who cried and burst into tears when she won for “Abbott Elementary,” a standing ovation. (She also made history as the second black woman to win that category). And, there were some amusing moments, such as when Jean Smart said during her speech (for her “hacks” win), “And I lost a bet, so thanks to the botox.”

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Here’s a look back at the best and worst moments of the night.

Kenan Thompson sits on an Orens sofa on stage with an open umbrella.
Kenan Thompson performing his opening dance number on the theme “Friends”.
Mark Terrill / InVision / AP

Best, Kenan Thompson Inauguration

“SNL” vet Kenan Thompson opted to make some gentle jokes about TV past songs like “Friends,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Game” before transitioning to some catchy dance numbers based on hit TV themed songs. Of Thrones” and “Stranger Things.”

It wasn’t a brilliant monologue full of memorable zingers other than a sarcasm at Leonardo DiCaprio, but Thompson’s safe choice didn’t derail its reception, and it set the tone for an energetic night that keeps the focus on TV.

Michael Keaton holding an Emmy on stage.
Michael Keaton delivers his speech for his “dopstick” victory.

Best, Michael Keaton’s speech

Michael Keaton, 71, has been in Hollywood for a long time—but it was his first Emmy win (for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for “Dopesic”) and he gave a really cool speech about how Television was thrilled growing up, and his family supported him and never made him feel stupid, even though they were “not exactly patrons of the arts.”

He also said, “Over the years, we all have gone through tough times. I have some doubts. you know what? Hum Mast Hain,” which received a lot of applause from across the room.

Matthew Macfadyen holding an Emmys onstage.
Matthew McFadden giving his speech for his “Succession” victory.
AFP via Getty Images
Jennifer Coolidge on stage with an Emmy.
Jennifer Coolidge dances as the play-off musical begins during her Emmy win for “The White Lotus”.
AFP via Getty Images

very bad: Lots of big stars getting play-off musicals soon

When he took home the trophy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for “Succession,” it seemed like Matthew McFadden barely had to open his mouth to deliver his speech before the music could play—which was odd, because Michael Keaton had a long story to tell from his victory. But, at least McFadden had a few seconds to slip in a reference to his character Tom Wambsgans as “the bonkers gift of a role.”

Similarly, when Jennifer Coolidge won (for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for “The White Lotus”), the music began to play before she gave a brief entertaining about taking a lavender bath. Can get more out of anecdote. Made her “swell” in her dress. Clearly distressed and bewildered, she protested, “Wait, this is a once in a lifetime thing!” and proceeded to thank the people obstinately talking over the music. She then began dancing to it, using the play-off music in her favor, flickering on the microphone, which was met with applause and laughter.

Sherrill Lee sings Ralph holding an Emmy on stage.
An emotional Sheryl Lee Ralph burst into applause during her Emmy win.
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Best: sheryl lee ralph sings

An emotionally emotional Ralph burst into tears when she was announced as the winner of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for the freshman comedy “Abbott Elementary.” On stage as she went to give her speech, she sang “Endangered Species” by Diane Reeves, treating everyone to a performance that received a standing ovation from across the room.

After that, she made a short speech, in which she said, still almost singing, “Anyone who’s dreamed and thought it couldn’t come true, I’m here to tell you that believing What does it look like?”

“Give Sheryl Lee Ralph a Tony for her Emmy acceptance speech, please and thank you.” Tweeted by a viewer, She also made history as the second black woman to win the category (Jackie Harry was the first for NBC’s “227” in 1987).

Best: Oscar’s Slap Reference

The Will Smith and Chris Rock Oscar slap, heard around the world, was the most dramatic moment to happen at an awards show in decades. It’s hard to tune into the Emmys without wondering if something like this might happen — and when “SNL” cast member Bowen Yang came out, he and Thompson cleverly poked fun at it without mentioning it in so many words.

Yang claimed to be the “backup host” in case something went wrong, to which Kenan replied, “What could possibly go wrong?” Yang explained, “Did you? See Oscar? So many things can go wrong…” Thompson said, “Is that a danger? Because if it is, it’s a hate crime,” and Bowen concluded, “If I don’t, because then it’s representation.”

With that joke, he covered a lot of the discourse surrounding the Oscar slap (and the racial undertones of much of the conversation surrounding it). But, not spelling it out, he also danced neatly around a topic that everyone is tired of hearing about. So, he had to have his cake and eat it too, without making throwback jokes about it, leaving the audience stunned by Thappad.

Kenan Thompson, Jason Sudeikis and Kumail Nanjiani during the bit.
Kenan Thompson, Jason Sudeikis and Kumail Nanjiani during the bit.
Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

Worst: Bartender Bit

In the middle of the ceremony, Kumail becomes involved with Nanjiani Thompson for a strange affair, with Nanjiani acting as a bartender and failing miserably.

“Someone ordered a martini, extra dirty, and I spit in it, is that right?” He asked. Jason Sudeikis also joined briefly, but he didn’t do anything funny — it was like the visual equivalent of a name drop, just to show us that someone funny existed.

Nothing wrong with Nanjiani or Sudeikis, but it was the kind of pointless, time-wasting bit that plagues awards shows. And it stuck because it was otherwise relatively free of them.

But, it wasn’t all bad—the bit ended with an adorable “Cannon and Kel” reunion, as Kel Mitchell came to the bar to order a “good burger” as a throwback to his ’90s Nickelodeon show. , where Thompson got his start, and the two men hugged.

Rhea Seehorn attending the 2022 Emmys.
Rhea Seehorn, who was snubbed for “Better Call Saul”.
Getty Images

Worst: Snobs for some of the best shows

The three best plays of the year — “Better Call Saul,” “Severance” and “Yellowjacket” — were all largely turned down. In one category they were drawn to – Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series – won “Succession” instead (and it also won for Outstanding Drama Series). In the acting category, Zendaya won “Euphoria” over Melanie Lynskey for “Yellowjackets.”

It’s not that “Succession” or Zendaya are ineligible, but “Succession” is starting to dominate in a way that’s getting boring, while “Euphoria” is a show that’s accused of questionable writing and a “toxic” work environment. “Better Call Saul” went home empty handed after a spectacular final season, so that the series still had no wins to show. 46 nominations It got racked up during its run.

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