It might be remembered as a three-way battle, but there was no real battle about it. The 2024 Emmy Awards took place on Monday night (15 January), at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles, providing a night of nostalgia and warmly received predictability.
HBO’s universally acclaimed drama Succession ended the night as the biggest victor, winning a total of six awards, including the night’s most coveted Best Drama prize, as well as Best Actor (for Kieran Culkin), Best Actress (for Sarah Snook) and Best Supporting Actor (for Matthew Macfadyen).
The comedy strand, meanwhile, was dominated by FX’s knife-edge culinary comedy The Bear, with Jeremy Allen White, Ayo Edebiri and Ebon Moss-Bachrach taking home three of the four acting prizes. The show won six prizes overall. And in the limited series field, it was Netflix’s tit-for-tat thriller Beef that won the night, garnering five wins.
The ceremony, delayed since last September thanks to the dual writers’ and actors’ guild strikes, was hosted by Blackish star Anthony Anderson – an appointment that drew no small amount of controversy thanks to the actor’s history of sexual assault allegations.
Over the course of the three-hour event, there was a generous amount of light-hearted interludes, including a parody of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood that opened the show. Classic TV series were represented with cast reunions: The Sopranos stars Lorainne Bracco and Michael Imperioli appeared to introduce an award next to a portrait of the late James Gandolfini, while Katherine Heigl featured alongside her erstwhile Gray’s Anatomy co-stars. The surviving Cheers alumni also stopped by for a swift one, as did the five stars of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, who made light of the long-running sitcom’s continued snubbing by the Emmy voting body.
The role of awards show host has come under fierce scrutiny in recent weeks, thanks largely to Jo Koy’s badly received stint at the Golden Globes. Anderson’s shtick – including the presence of his mother as a deterrent to any winners considering hogging the limelight – seemed to go down well with attendees. Awards show mavens Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, meanwhile, delivered an award in the style of a Saturday Night Live Weekend Update segment.
It was something of a swansong for Succession, which came to a conclusive end in May. The media mogul drama has won the top gong for the past three years running; its sweep this year was never in doubt. HBO’s post-apocalyptic video game adaptation The Last of Us ended up winless in its wake, despite a slew of nominations. While the show – and series stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey – will surely be eyeing up success in the future, it’s an altogether more disappointing story for Better Call Saul, which ended its run shortly before Succession and also went home empty-handed.
Many of the night’s most entertaining moments could be found in the bursts of unexpected eccentricity. Pascal winningly continued a tongue-in-cheek feud with fellow Best Actor nominee Culkin, following the latter’s crude acceptance speech insult at the Globes; presenting an award, Pascal told the crowd that his visibly injured arm was the result of Culkin “beating the s*** out of” him. Accepting the award for his supporting turn in the miniseries Black Bird, Paul Walter Hauser delivered his speech in the form of a rap – all while seemingly chewing something in his mouth.
Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising achievement, though, belongs to Sir Elton John, whose win for his Disney+ concert programme Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium saw him become the 19th person in history to earn an Egot (an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony).
This year’s Emmys offered few surprises but when the winners are this strong, that’s probably no bad thing.