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Twelve seniors were presented with awards to recognize their commitment to being outstanding high school athletes (Photo by Zoe Gister).
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“Game of Thrones,” “Veep” win big at yet another mediocre awards show

Most recent major award shows, excluding the Tony’s, have been tedious in retrospect, with predictable winners and few funny bits. The Television Academy tried to change that this year with new rules for nomination that try to accommodate the vast and growing number of programs currently on air and online.

Samberg2015Emmys (courtesy of Fox)

These changes included a stricter separation between Drama and Comedy categories, as well as the exception of allowing up to eight nominees per category depending on how close the voting results were.

With a wider range of nominees than past years, the Emmys were finally set up to recognize a number of actors and shows that haven’t seen much love in the past. The 2015 host–SNL alum and current “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star Andy Samberg–has shown his hosting chops at the smaller Independent Spirit Awards in 2013, but the major awards show was a chance for him to show off his growth as a comedian and performer throughout the past decade.

Knowing how much potential Samberg has to be funny is just part of the reason why the 67th annual Emmy Awards were a bit of a letdown. This year’s awards were far from the worst in recent memory, but the writing and hosting, as well as predictable winners–despite the academy’s new format–made for an overall lackluster show.

However, the show did have its entertaining moments. The show opened with a musical number that featured cameos from Jon Hamm, Kerry Washington, and Will Forte, among others, and a parody of Les Misérables that satirized the increasing amount of television content currently available to viewers. Another pre-filmed bit that parodied the end of the “Mad Men” finale also achieved the level of humor viewers expected from Samberg.

The show hit a bit of a rough patch as Samberg delivered his opening monologue to the crowd live. While there were a number of funny jokes about racism and sexism in media and politics, not all of them landed and the order felt out of place at times.

Allison Janney won her seventh Emmy overall and her second for her role as a supporting actress in “Mom,” despite Anna Chlumsky’s dazzling episode this season on “Veep” while Tony Hale won his second Emmy for supporting actor. Though hilarious on “Veep,” Hale wasn’t as deserving as some of his castmates–notably Matt Walsh and Timothy Simons–who weren’t nominated.

After Samberg delivered one of his best and most shocking jokes of the night about “Girls,” Jimmy Kimmel performed a drawn-out bit that ultimately ended with Jeffrey Tambor winning for lead actor in a comedy. The queen of comedy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, won her fourth consecutive award for “Veep,” and while it would have been refreshing for Amy Poehler to take an award home for “Parks and Recreation,” Louis-Dreyfus’s performance outshined her competitors again this past season. Had there been fewer repeats and more surprises in other categories, her win may have felt more earned.

A new rule in this year’s voting process separated Outstanding Reality-Competition Program from the other categories, resulting in the sole reality award handed to “The Voice.” The show continued with the Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special categories. “Olive Kitteridge” swept the category, winning six out of the seven awards it was nominated for.

The Emmy’s eventually returned to presenting awards to more accessible series and proceeded to give Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show” three farewell awards instead of spreading the love to superior newcomer “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” that went more in-depth into current issues this season than any other show in the category. The only Variety award that “The Daily Show” wasn’t eligible for went to “Inside Amy Schumer” for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series.

Uzo Aduba unsurprisingly won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama for her truly deserving performance in “Orange is the New Black,” and Peter Dinklage won his second Emmy for “Game of Thrones.” The writers and directors of “Game of Thrones” won both categories, so it wasn’t surprising when they took home the award for Outstanding Drama Series at the end of the night.

In one of the better moments of the show, Jon Hamm finally won Best Actor in a Comedy Series for playing Don Draper on “Mad Men”–Hamm’s win was the first time a “Mad Men” actor won an Emmy in 36 nominations. I would have liked to see the dynamic Tatiana Maslany take home the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for playing more than seven different characters on “Orphan Black,” but winner Viola Davis’s moving speech won me over.

At the end of the night, “Veep” broke the three-years too long streak of perennial favorite “Modern Family” for Outstanding Comedy Series.

The Academy’s new format this year was meant to accommodate for the ever-growing content and platforms through which TV is viewed. Unfortunately, only a fraction of these shows were recognized Sunday night, and the many that did get nominated but didn’t win were mentioned only briefly in the opening.

Even though the Emmys are just an award show, they are a reminder that television continues to provide relevant entertainment. A small change in the production of show–for instance including the entertaining montages and scenes that engaged new viewers in 2011–could better create a three-hour long show as entertaining as the shows it celebrates.

Winner’s List:

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES

“Better Call Saul”

“Downton Abbey”

“Game of Thrones”

“Homeland”

“House of Cards”

“Mad Men”

“Orange is the New Black”

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES

“Louie”

“Modern Family”

“Parks and Recreation”

“Silicon Valley”

“Transparent”

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

“Veep”

LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA

Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”

Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline”

Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”

Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”

Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”

LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA

Taraji P. Henson, “Empire”

Claire Danes, “Homeland”

Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder”

Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”

Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”

Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

LEAD ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Timothy Hutton, “American Crime”

Ricky Gervais, “Derek Special”

Adrien Brody, “Houdini”

David Oyelowo, “Nightingale”

Richard Jenkins, “Olive Kitteridge”

Mark Rylance, “Wolf Hall”

LEAD ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”

Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story”

Queen Latifah, “Bessie”

Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Honorable Woman”

Frances McDormand, “Olive Kitteridge”

Emma Thompson, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street”

LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY

Anthony Anderson, “black-ish”

Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”

Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”

Will Forte, “The Last Man On Earth”

Louis C.K., “Louie”

William H. Macy, “Shameless”

Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY

Lisa Kudrow, “The Comeback”

Lily Tomlin, “Grace And Frankie”

Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer”

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”

Amy Poehler, “Parks And Recreation”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

REALITY-COMPETITION SERIES

“The Amazing Race”

“Dancing With The Stars”

“Project Runway”

“So You Think You Can Dance”

“Top Chef”

“The Voice”

VARIETY TALK SERIES

“The Colbert Report”

“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”

“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”

“Late Show With David Letterman”

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”

LIMITED SERIES

“American Crime”

“American Horror Story: Freak Show”

“The Honorable Woman”

“Olive Kitteridge”

“Wolf Hall”

VARIETY SKETCH SERIES

“Drunk History”

“Inside Amy Schumer”

“Key & Peele”

“Portlandia”

“Saturday Night Live”

TELEVISION MOVIE

“Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case”

“Bessie”

“Grace of Monaco”

“Hello Ladies: The Movie”

“Killing Jesus”

“Nightingale”

SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA

Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”

Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline”

Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”

Peter Dinklage, “Game Of Thrones”

Alan Cumming, “The Good Wife”

Michael Kelly, “House Of Cards”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA

Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey”

Lena Headey, “Game Of Thrones”

Emilia Clarke, “Game Of Thrones”

Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”

Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”

Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is The New Black”

SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY

Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

Adam Driver, “Girls”

Keegan-Michael Key, “Key & Peele”

Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”

Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Tony Hale, “Veep”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY

Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”

Niecy Nash, “Getting On”

Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”

Allison Janney, “Mom”

Kate McKinnon “Saturday Night Live”

Gaby Hoffmann, “Transparent”

Jane Krakowski, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

SUPPORTING ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Richard Cabral, “American Crime”

Denis O’Hare, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

Finn Wittrock, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

Michael Kenneth Williams, “Bessie”

Bill Murray, “Olive Kitteridge”

Damian Lewis, “Wolf Hall”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Regina King, “American Crime”

Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

Mo’Nique, “Bessie”

Zoe Kazan, “Olive Kitteridge”

WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES

Joshua Brand for The Americans, “Do Mail Robots Dream Of Electric Sheep?”

Gordon Smith for Better Call Saul, “Five-O”

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for Game Of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy”

Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner for Mad Men “Lost Horizon”

Matthew Weiner for Mad Men “Person To Person”

DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES

Tim Van Patten for Boardwalk Empire, “Eldorado”

David Nutter for Game Of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy”

Jeremy Podeswa for Game Of Thrones, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”

Lesli Linka Glatter for Homeland, “From A To B And Back Again”

Steven Soderbergh for The Knick, “Method And Madness”

WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES

David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik for Episodes, “Episode 409”

Will Forte for The Last Man On Earth, “Alive In Tucson” (Pilot)

Louis C.K. for Louie, “Bobby’s House”

Alec Berg for Silicon Valley, “Two Days Of The Condor”

Jill Soloway for Transparent, “Pilot”

Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche for Veep, “Election Night”

DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller for The Last Man On Earth, “Alive In Tucson” (Pilot)

Louis C.K. for Louie, “Sleepover”

Mike Judge for Silicon Valley, “Sand Hill Shuffle”

Jill Soloway for Transparent, “Best New Girl”

Armando Iannucci for Veep, “Testimony”

WRITING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL

John Ridley for American Crime, “Episode One”

Dee Rees, Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois and Horton Foote for “Bessie”

Stephen Merchant, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg for “Hello Ladies: The Movie”

Hugo Blick for “The Honorable Woman”

Jane Anderson or “Olive Kitteridge”

Peter Straughan for “Wolf Hall”

DIRECTING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL

Ryan Murphy for “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

Dee Rees for “Bessie”

Hugo Blick for “The Honorable Woman”

Uli Edel for “Houdini”

Tom Shankland for “The Missing”

Lisa Cholodenko for “Olive Kitteridge”

Peter Kosminsky for “Wolf Hall”

WRITING FOR A VARIETY SERIES

“The Colbert Report”

“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”

“Inside Amy Schumer”

“Key & Peele”

“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”

DIRECTING FOR A VARIETY SERIES

James Hoskinson for The Colbert Report, “Show 11040”

Chuck O’Neil for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, “Show 20103”

Amy Schumer and Ryan McFaul for Inside Amy Schumer, “12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer”

Jerry Foley for Late Show With David Letterman, “Show 4214”

Dave Diomedi for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, “Show 203”

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About the Contributor
Isabelle Marmur, Author