This year’s Emmy winners didn’t waste their time in the spotlight.
From Reese Witherspoon’s impassioned plea for more stories about women to Sterling K. Brown’s tribute to the great actors that came before him, here are some of the night’s gold-worthy speech moments.
Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman stumped for women
It was a big night for women at the Emmys, as three female-focused tales (“Big Little Lies,” “Veep,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale”) took home major prizes.
Witherspoon acknowledged this in her speech while accepting the award for best limited series, saying, “It’s been an incredible year for women in television.”
She also called on Hollywood to “bring women to the front of their own stories and make them the heroes of their own stories.”
Executive producer and star Nicole Kidman thanked viewers on stage for watching a show “about issues” and recalled how the show was created “out of our frustration because we weren’t getting offered great roles.”
“So now, more great roles for women, please,” she said.
Kidman also picked up the prize for best actress in a limited series, a category in which she was up against Witherspoon.
Sterling K. Brown gave a shout-out to Emmy greats
In the speech for his second-ever Emmy win, “This Is Us” star Sterling K. Brown took a moment to reflect on those great actors who have also won the lead actor in a drama statue and the characters they played – like Bryan Cranston’s Walter White, Jon Hamm’s Don Draper (whom Brown referred to as “Dick Whitman,” the character’s real name), and Andre Braugher’s Det. Frank Pembleton.
The latter was an especially meaningful shout-out as Braugher was the last black actor to win in this category back in 1998.
“I just want to say, Mr. Braugher, whether it is at Stanford University or on this Emmy stage, it is my supreme honor to follow in your footsteps,” he said.
Brown went on to thank his cast mates and NBC executives. He had more to say, but was cutoff by Emmy producers with music, much to the dismay of social media.
“You can play,” Brown protested as the music started. “Nobody got that loud music.”
Elisabeth Moss got bleeped thanking her mom
Moss was the frontrunner to win the best actress in a drama award heading into Sunday night, but she didn’t seem to know it on stage.
A seemingly surprised Moss, who is also an executive producer on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” gave a joy-filled, breathless speech thanking her cast, writers, and family.
When it came time to thank her mom, who was her Emmy date, Moss let her guard down, perhaps too much for the Emmy censors.
“My mother, you are brave and strong and smart and you have taught me that you can be kind,” she said, before getting cut off for using profanity.
When the sound returned to the broadcast, Moss was played off.
The actress returned to the stage moments later as the show picked up the biggest award of the night, best drama.
Lena Waithe made history
With a co-writing credit on an episode of “Master of None,” Lena Waithe became the first black woman to win the Emmy for outstanding writing for a comedy series.
Waithe was honored with Aziz Ansari for the episode “Thanksgiving,” which chronicled her character’s coming out story told over several years.
In her speech, Waithe, who based the episode on her own experienced, thanked her “LGBTQIA family.”
“I see each and every one of you,” she said. “The things that make us different, those are our superpowers. Every day, when you walk out the door, put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world. Because the world would not be as beautiful as it is without us in it.”
Ann Dowd got emotional
The best supporting actress in a drama category was a tough one.
With the likes of Chrissy Metz (“This Is Us”), Thandie Newton (“Westworld”), Millie Bobby Brown ("Stranger Things”), Uzo Aduba ("Orange Is the New Black”), and Samira Wiley ("Handmaid’s Tale”) as her competition, Dowd came out on top and was overcome with emotion.
“Well, I think this is a dream, you know,” she said. “I know it’s an actor’s dream and I’m deeply grateful to you.”
This was the first Emmy win for Dowd, a long-time character actor whose portrayal of the cruel Aunt Lydia in “Handmaid’s Tale” drew widespread critical praise.
“I’ve been acting for a long time and that this should happen now, I don’t have the words. So I thank you,” she said.