The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony on Sunday held a few big surprises, including stories by and about women dominating top awards and veteran NBC variety show Saturday Night Live leading the award count.
See the full list of the night’s winners here, but the year’s top winners overall were:
Saturday Night Live – 9
Big Little Lies – 8
The Handmaid’s Tale – 8
Stranger Things – 5
The Night Of – 5
Veep – 5
Westworld – 5
Here are five of the biggest surprises and moments from Sunday’s ceremony and what social media observers had to say about the results.
Host Colbert kicked the program off with a cameo-filled musical number (including a verse by Chance the Rapper, who urged viewers to record their shows and be politically active) followed by a similarly themed monologue meant jokes about Hollywood, the TV industry, and yes, politics, including an appearance from a former White House player that caused jaws to drop.
Can I just say Steven Colbert is the best host ever for making that opening Emmy speech.
— Kate (@kateherrera33) September 18, 2017
Stephen Colbert has literally not come to play tonight ? #EmmyAwards #emmys
— Morgan Borthwick (@mborthwickm) September 18, 2017
Stephen Colbert is killing the Emmy Awards opening ??
— Loretta Loff (@loff1hp) September 18, 2017
YES to @chancetherapper 's meta rap in the Emmy's opening number: TV is distraction but what about some action??? #TheEmmys
— Futaba Shioda (@FutabaShioda) September 18, 2017
Can that opening segment win an Emmy? #Emmys
— Abir (@wordsofabir) September 18, 2017
Thoroughly impressed with the Emmy's opening number!
— pimp c (@CoCoChantrel) September 18, 2017
Colbert’s Daily Show background means he never steers clear of politics, and after a politically charged opening musical number and monologue, he brought out a major surprise: former White House spokesperson and SNL subject Sean Spicer. And yes, it was kinda awkward for Melissa McCarthy, who won an Emmy for playing him at the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend.
The audiences face when Sean Spicer walked on stage!!! ??? #Emmys2017 #Emmy @StephenAtHome pic.twitter.com/KPxpNPMcmn
— Elise Edens (@EliseGnorga) September 18, 2017
Sean Spicer coming out on stage to mock himself (and basically Trump) during the Emmys is the greatest moment in TV history?? #EMMY2017
— Davey Douglas (@D3_triplethreat) September 18, 2017
I just called my parents to make sure they were watching the Emmy's because holy Sean Spicer #EmmyAwards2017
— Emily McComas (@EmilyRuthe) September 18, 2017
Not only did Glover take home an award for Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series — the first African-American person ever to do so — for an episode of Atlanta, he also won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy.
donald glover is one of the most talented people alive #Emmys
— Vinny Guadagnino (@VINNYGUADAGNINO) September 18, 2017
DONALD GLOVER IS AN EMMY WINNER! ATLANTA SHOULD WIN ALL THE EMMYS. #Emmys pic.twitter.com/Yqmq6Du4F2
— Denizcan James (@MrFilmkritik) September 18, 2017
Donald Glover won an Emmy for best directing and best acting tonight and I just can't comprehend how one person is so talented.
— Evan Winters (@Evan_Winters18) September 18, 2017
I feel like Dave Chappelle handing Donald Glover his Emmy, made his win even more epic #Emmys #BGNEmmys pic.twitter.com/Rv5BiEwm4B
— SiliconValleySteph (@ItsStephAlof) September 18, 2017
Both Dowd, a first-time winner, and McKinnon, who took home the trophy last year, were so overcome with emotion (and seemed to be in disbelief of their wins) that they were in tears throughout their (still-eloquent) speeches.
Congrats to Ann Dowd on your first #Emmy win! @HandmaidsOnHulu pic.twitter.com/UfpBsCM1Km
— Television Academy (@TelevisionAcad) September 18, 2017
#Emmys YES! Ann Dowd just won a well deserved Emmy. So full of joy for recognizing great talent!!
— Shannon Metterville (@S31Mom) September 18, 2017
Ann Dowd just Won an #Emmy for #HandmaidsTale . Her speech was so tender and authentic , she brought tears to my eyes .congrats Ann and MGM
— Roma Downey (@RealRomaDowney) September 18, 2017
My favorite actress in the world @anndowd just won a damn Emmy!! Thrilling!!!
— kathy najimy (@kathynajimy) September 18, 2017
Kate McKinnon tearfully thanking Hillary Clinton in her acceptance speech has me tearfully watching the #EmmyAwards2017
— Kristina (@glanvilluminati) September 18, 2017
Congratulations to two-time Emmy Award winning genius Kate McKinnon we love you ❤️ pic.twitter.com/wlax21tWDr
— Wishing Boot? (@iloveholtzbert) September 18, 2017
This is what a well-deserved exhale looks like. #TwoTimeEmmyWinnerKateMcKinnon pic.twitter.com/e4aiLS1B9J
— Kate McKinnon's Emmy (@KatesLostEmmy) September 18, 2017
Amazing. Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her 6th straight Emmy for Lead Actress on "Veep".
6 seasons so far, 6 Emmys.
— Jeric (@javiertionloc) September 18, 2017
The last time Julia Louis-Dreyfus didn't win an Emmy was in 2011. She is the Lebron James of television.
— ?? (@BombAssPhoenix) September 18, 2017
As a wrap gift for the final season of Veep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is giving one of her Emmy's to each member of the cast and crew
— benji (@benarmishaw) September 18, 2017
No one else is ever going to win an Emmy for Comedic Actress as long as Julia Louis-Dreyfus is on television. #Emmys
— Lew Archer (@MZGunter) September 18, 2017
OH MY GOD JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS BROKE THE EMMY RECORD
— carla (@rosehadleyjones) September 18, 2017
Taking Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Elisabeth Moss, Dowd’s Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for Alexis Bledel, as well as Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for Bruce Miller and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for Reed Morano, the Hulu original based on Margaret Atwood’s classic novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, proved to be the little drama series that could. Atwood got a standing ovation when she joined the cast and producers on stage.
Big Little Lies, also based on a novel by a female author, Liane Moriarty, also scored big wins for Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Television Movie for Nicole Kidman, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Television Movie for Laura Dern, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie for Alexander Skarsgård, and Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special for Jean-Marc Vallée.
The Handmaid's Tale was the best show I've watched this year so far, and that includes Patriot, Shameless, Fargo FX, and Better Call Saul.
— Proscuitto (@dtxcoolin) September 18, 2017
"Veep"! "Big Little Lies"! "The Handmaid's Tale"! And I just folded the laundry in the dark! So lots of big wins tonight for the ladies!
— Topher Bremlin (@TopherBremlin) September 18, 2017
Gotta say I loved The Handmaid's Tale. MT: ‘The Emmys https://t.co/Qv11sLuocG
— Louis Theroux (@louistheroux) September 18, 2017
Adding to the female milestones was Lena Waithe, the first black woman to win for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Waithe shared the award with Master of None co-writer Aziz Ansari for the episode “Thanksgiving.”