5 Memorable LGBTQ Moments at the 2018 Emmy Awards

Written by | Entertainment, Screen

"SNL" star Kate McKinnon

"SNL" star Kate McKinnon on the red carpet at the 70th Annual Emmy Awards (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

The 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards promised they would deliver a more diverse awards ceremony, but how did they do when it came to LGBTQ representation? In a night that saw many jokes fall flat (sorry, hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che) and few people of color taking home trophies, there were some moments saluting LGBTQ artists and people telling our community’s stories worth remembering.

5. Matthew Rhys and the Queer Eye Guys

When the gentlemen of Netflix’s Queer Eye entered – seemingly dressed as delegates to an intergalactic peace conference, their ensembles were so bizarrely fascinating we could barely pay attention to their patter. However, their presence seemed apt when they presented the award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama to Matthew Rhys. Though Rhys won for his performance on FX’s The Americans, many in our community remember him fondly as one of the grooms in the groundbreaking gay wedding on Brothers & Sisters, and we’re always glad to see the Academy praise the work of a staunch ally.

4. Merritt Wever wins for Godless

The world collectively fell in love with Merritt Wever as Edie Falco’s sidekick on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, but she has gone on to play LGBTQ roles on both AMC’s The Walking Dead and Netflix’s Godless. Last night, she won for the latter, on which her character – widowed by a mine accent – goes on to share a romance with the Western’s resident school teacher (and former prostitute) Callie. Wever’s genuine surprise at winning makes us hope she continues to take on daring, award-worthy roles.

3. Alex Borstein Wins for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel deserves accolades in its own right, but the slew of Emmy Awards the show took home (eight in total) can also be seen as long overdue recognition for the work of Amy Sherman-Palladino, beloved for such shows as Gilmore Girls and Bunheads. Perhaps a similar phenomenon was at work in the win of Alex Borstein, who known for very funny work on Mad TV and voicing Lois on Family Guy. Borstein took home an Emmy for her role as Maisel’s delightfully butch talent booker and manager Susie Meyerson, and though we’re not yet sure if the character is meant to be seen as lesbian or gender non-conforming, we love how she serves up a stark contrast to the skirt-sporting wives and mothers elsewhere on the series.

2. The Assassination of Gianni Versace Wins for Best Limited Series

It often seems like the “Limited Series” category of the Emmys had been waiting for gay visionary Ryan Murphy to come along and claim it with bold anthology series like American Horror Story, American Crime Story and Feud. That said, it was still satisfying to see Ryan Murphy (looking dapper in a patterned pastel jacket) accept awards for directing and producing The Assassination of Gianni Versace, calling out the work of his many talented collaborators and dedicating one of the awards to victims of hate-based violence. We were also pleased to see Darren Criss awarded for his manic, vulnerable, alluring turn as the show’s titular assassin, Andrew Cunanan.

1. RuPaul Wins the Emmys

From being a highlight of an otherwise wan opening number to striking a pose with Leslie Jones (while presenting an Emmy to Regina King) to accepting the award for Outstanding Reality Competition Program for RuPaul’s Drag Race — one of five Emmys the show took home for its tenth season, RuPaul was captivating and commanding. It’s easy to see why he also won an Emmy for hosting the dragstravaganza, and when he finished by shouting out his trademark “Everybody say love!”, we wanted to say, “Amen!”

For Future Hosting Consideration

While we would probably not nominate Jost and Che for a return to hosting, it’s worth making mention of some of the LGBTQ talent in the house at this year’s awards who might make better alternatives down the road. Going the SNL route, Kate McKinnon – who also attempted to rally the troops during the opening number and helped delightfully welcome Betty White as part of a salute to the Awards’ 70th Anniversary – certainly has the comedy and song-and-dance chops to handle the gig. Tituss Burgess would undoubtedly turn in a musical extravaganza for the ages with his unmatched voice and show-stopping energy. And Hannah Gadsby, acclaimed for her Netflix special Nanette, offered more comedy and social commentary in her few moments presenting than in all of those endless and unfunny back-and-forths between the hosts and usually funny Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen put together. Also, naturally, we would watch RuPaul host the opening of an envelope.

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Last modified: September 18, 2018