At the 2017 Emmys, political art caught up with political sentiment

The majority of the shows honoured were either reactive to Trump or provided some catharsis in response to him

Christopher Hooton
Monday 18 September 2017 04:54 BST

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


It had become routine to the point of tedium, award ceremonies being filled with strident but ineffectual Donald Trump jokes and denouncements, and there was a disconnect watching celebrity after celebrity state that America was in political crisis then hand out an award in praise of, say, the direction in The Night Manager.

The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards was still replete with pithy Trump gags but this time it was the art being honoured that did the talking.

The Handmaid's Tale took home two of the night's top awards - Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Elisabeth Moss) - the adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel which struck a fortissimo chord this year in light of Trump's election. Political satire Veep also picked up two major awards, along with Atlanta, Donald Glover's FX comedy with strong political undertones. There were wins for the Trump-bashing Last Week Tonight with John Oliver too, and its peer Saturday Night Live picked up several prizes, a feat entirely down to the popularity of its political impersonations of late be it Trump, Spicer, Bannon or Clinton.

The Handmaid's Tale cast and crew receive the Outstanding Drama Series award (Photo: Getty)
The Handmaid's Tale cast and crew receive the Outstanding Drama Series award (Photo: Getty) (Getty Images)
Stephen Colbert: If Donald Trump had won an Emmy he might not have run for president

This all isn't to say that scripted political television will save America, but a nuanced, 10-episode season is certainly harder to dismiss in a tweet than a 30-second sound bite on the podium.

One issue with tonight's ceremony though: the Sean Spicer cameo. His inclusion marred the otherwise emboldening feel of the 2017 Emmys, inviting us to laugh with him as it celebrated content that took aim at him.

You can read the full list of winners here.

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