By Lisa Richwine and Danielle Broadway
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Media dynasty drama “Succession” and feel-good comedy “Ted Lasso” took the top trophies at the Emmy awards on Monday, and a “Squid Game” actor landed a major acting prize as Hollywood handed out the highest honors in television.
“Succession” was named best drama series, an award the HBO show had won in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted its production schedule. The show, which secured four trophies overall, tells the story of the wealthy and back-stabbing Roy family as members jockey for power.
Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso” also was a repeat winner, claiming best comedy for the second straight year for its tale of an American football coach leading a British soccer team. Its stars Jason Sudeikis and Brett Goldstein were second-time winners of best comedy actor and supporting actor [L1N30G2HP].
Likewise, voters honored “Euphoria” star Zendaya as best drama actress and Jean Smart of “Hacks” as best comedy actress. It was the second win for each in those categories.
One newcomer to break through was Lee Jung-jae, who was named best drama actor for his role on South Korean thriller “Squid Game.” The dystopian story about cash-strapped contestants risking their lives for wealth became a global sensation after its release on Netflix a year ago.
The actor thanked the team behind “Squid Game” for “making realistic problems we all have to face come to life so creatively on the screen.”
The most-lauded show of the night was HBO’s “The White Lotus.” It won 10 awards including best limited series and acting trophies for Jennifer Coolidge and Murray Bartlett. Those wins helped HBO and streaming service HBO Max lead all other networks with 38 honors overall [L1N30J2CD].
Host and “Saturday Night Live” star Kenan Thompson kept a celebratory tone throughout the show, saying it was a time to appreciate one of the world’s favorite pastimes.
“What would we do without television, read books?” he joked, before joining dance numbers to theme songs ranging from classic sitcom “Friends” to current sci-fi hit “Stranger Things.”
Winners largely steered clear of politics or world events. One exception was “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong, who joked that it was a big week for “successions,” referring to King Charles taking over the British throne following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth.
“I’m not saying we’re more legitimate in our position than he is. We’ll leave that to other people,” Armstrong said.
British “Lasso” actor Goldstein, who plays foul-mouthed but soft-hearted soccer legend Roy Kent, said he was going to try not to swear after his profanity-laced remarks were cut off in Britain when he won last year, preventing his family from hearing them.
Then he added: “Mum, Dad … I fucking love you.”
Singer Lizzo earned an Emmy award for competition series for “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.” The musician said that as a little girl she had always wanted television to feature “someone fat like me, black like me, beautiful like me.”
“I’m going to go back and tell a little Lizzo something … you’re going to be that person,” she said.
Among other winners, Michael Keaton was named lead actor in limited series for playing a small-town doctor who becomes addicted to painkillers in “Dopesick.”
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Danielle Broadway; Additional reporting by Tim Reid and Dawn Chmielewski; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Stephen Coates)