Viola Davis is First African American to Win Best Actress Emmy

The 67th annual Emmy Awards went down on Sunday night, and lots of history was made. This year’s show set a record for people not caring about the Emmys, with 11.9 million viewers representing a new low for the awards show overall and a sharp 4 million drop in viewers from last year. Those who did still tune in saw some more positive history and almost-history for the TV awards show, which may or may not have made sitting through an hours-long awards show worth it.


After seeing a surge of success in recent years, original series on streaming services like Amazon and Netflix took a backseat to the old guard, as HBO dominated this year’s show. HBO shows received 43 Emmys (14 on the televised portion of the awards) this year, just shy of the record 44 won by CBS in 1974. HBO’s success was keyed by “Veep,” which won for outstanding comedy series and earned Julia Louis-Dreyfus the award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series. “Game of Thrones” did the same for the drama categories, pulling in outstanding drama series and an outstanding supporting actor award for Peter Dinklage. Streaming services weren’t totally held out of the major awards, though, with Jeffrey Tambor earning an outstanding lead actor award for his work in the Amazon Original “Transparent.”

The most compelling moment of the night came when Viola Davis won the award for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her role in ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder,” making her the first African-American to win that award. In her acceptance speech, she pointed to the accomplishments of fellow African-American actresses in both film and television, pointing to a lack of opportunities as a big reason behind the lack of awards for people of color, saying ‘You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.’ Hopefully that’s something else that becomes history.

Via New York Times