LOS ANGELES — It was business as usual in the two major categories at the Emmys on Sunday night, as HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” repeated as winners for best drama and comedy.
But for a ceremony that can be numbingly predictable, the Emmys were energized by a slew of first-time winners in the acting categories and a tour de force in the limited series category by FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”
The success of the O.J. series set the theme for the evening as Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Vance and Sterling K. Brown all scored their first Emmy victories. Rami Malek won his first Emmy as well in a wide-open race for best actor in a drama, for his role as the tortured hacker in USA’s “Mr. Robot.” And in a big upset, Tatiana Maslany won as best actress in a drama for her numerous performances in BBC America’s “Orphan Black,” beating out the likes of Robin Wright, Claire Danes and last year’s winner, Viola Davis.
Kate McKinnon of “Saturday Night Live” provided a change of pace, too, upsetting Allison Janney, a seven-time Emmy winner, as best supporting actress for comedy. Likewise, Louie Anderson won his first Emmy in the best supporting comedy category for his role as a suburban mother in FX’s “Baskets.”
There was a changing of the guard in the variety category, as John Oliver’s show, “Last Week Tonight,” ended the 13-year run of Comedy Central victories.