"The Handmaid's Tale" wins big at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards

Last Updated Sep 17, 2017 11:56 PM EDT

The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards opened with a skit that began with Stephen Colbert forging some metal in a blacksmith's workshop. "Okay, I made all the Emmys statues," said Colbert.

Anthony Anderson walked in and said to Colbert, "I'm glad you're the white guy they have hosting the Emmys."

Allison Janney joined Colbert and Anderson and the three talked about the state of affairs in the world. Janney said, "I heard HBO is bringing back the confederacy."

"I know the world is getting crazy, but look on the bright side -- TV is getting better," said Colbert.

Janney said she bet Colbert couldn't sing his argument, but he rose to the challenge.

Colbert sang, "Everything is better on television. When the world's so scary you close your door and hide, open up, let 'Archer' slip inside."

Colbert bounced around from the set of "Archer" to the set of "This is Us," singing, "It's so good to feel so sad," and visited the sets of "Veep" and "The Americans." He stood behind Selina Meyer of "Veep," played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and sang, "Imagine if your president was not beloved by Nazis."

Chance the Rapper made a cameo to rap along, and Colbert continued onto the set of "The Handmaid's Tale." He finally walked onto the Emmys stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles with several Handmaids, who disrobed to dance in sequined bodysuits.

Colbert began his monologue and said, "This is TV's highest honors -- us celebrating us. Tonight we binge ourselves. Can you feel it? This room is crackling with the collective energy of people who, for the last 48 hours, have consumed nothing but distilled water and Crest Whitestripes."

Colbert jokingly thanked "Game of Thrones" for not being eligible for Emmys this year, making room for other shows to win. Then he thanked CBS CEO Les Moonves and said, "I literally have to thank him -- it's in my contract."

The host then gave a heartfelt shoutout to the first responders in the recent disasters around the country.

"They have been working tirelessly following the disasters in Texas and Florida," he said. "We have to thank also the friends who showed up with food, the neighbors with boats, the nuns with chainsaws and the complete strangers who stepped up to help rebuild." He directed viewers to donate at HandinHand2017.com and said Billy Eichner was on hand to take calls -- Eichner sat in the audience with a landline glued to his ear.

Colbert talked about how much streaming services like Netflix and Hulu changed the landscape of TV and then cracked, "Everybody loves streaming video -- just ask Ted Cruz."

He also gave a shout-out to broadcast networks and said, "CBS will have twice as many Sheldons as any other network in history."

Colbert added, "This has been a great year for diversity in TV. In fact, for the third year in a row, this is the most diverse group of nominees in Emmy history." He listed prominent black actors nominated for awards like Viola Davis and Anthony Anderson and then said, "And of course, Bill Maher. I assume he's black since he's so comfortable using the n-word."

Then, Colbert tore into President Trump.

"You may not like it, but he's the biggest star," he said. Colbert continued and said that every show has been influenced by Mr. Trump and mentioned that Mr. Trump never won an Emmy for "Celebrity Apprentice" after getting nominated two years in a row.

"Why didn't you give him an Emmy? If he had an Emmy, I bet he wouldn't have run for president, so in a way this is all your fault," said Colbert.

Later, he cracked, "But he didn't [win], because unlike the presidency, Emmys go to the winners of the popular vote.

He asked how big the audience of the Emmys was and Sean Spicer surprised the audience. The former White House press secretary came out with a podium, who said, "This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, both in person and around the world."

The stars of "Big Little Lies" presented the award for best supporting actor in a drama series, which went to John Lithgow for "The Crown."

Gina Rodriguez and Shemar Moore presented outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series, which went to Kate McKinnon for "Saturday Night Live." McKinnon cried and said, "Being part of this season of 'Saturday Night Live' is the most meaningful thing that I will ever do ... Thank you to Hillary Clinton for your grace and grit." 

Riz Ahmed and Issa Rae took the stage to present outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie, which went to Laura Dern for "Big Little Lies." She thanked the Television Academy for recognizing women and said, "I want to thank the TV Academy for honoring our show and working with this incredible tribe of fierce women."

Dave Chappelle and Melissa McCarthy took the stage. Chappelle joked, "I am truly amazed by how many black people are here. I counted 11 on the monitor." They presented directing for a comedy series, which went to Donald Glover for "Atlanta."

Allison Janney and Anna Faris presented the award for variety sketch series, which went to "Saturday Night Live." Lorne Michaels accepted the award on behalf of the show. 

8:50 p.m.: Colbert gets his "programming" checked

A naked Colbert got pulled into a Delos lab off of "Westworld" and was interrogated by Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe, who was checking his programming. Colbert, who suddenly seemed to have an Adonis-like body, pointed out that he was perfectly good as he was. 

Back at the Emmys, L.L. Cool J and Gabrielle Union presented writing for a drama series, which went to Bruce Miller for "The Handmaid's Tale." 

Late night hosts Seth Meyers and James Corden took the stage to present the award for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series, but not before complimenting each other on their shows and hosting skills. The award went to Alec Baldwin for "Saturday Night Live," his third Emmy win. As he accepted his award, Baldwin wondered aloud if the reason why his wife did not get pregnant during his time working on "Saturday Night Live" proved that his "orange wig" was "birth control." 

9:03 p.m.: Rachel Bloom performs a musical number

"There's only one reason to watch the Emmys you know, and here it is," sang Bloom as she tap-danced. "The best part of the show. The accountants from Ernst & Young ... After the accountants, it's all downhill from here. Accountants, let's make out." 

Alexis Bledel, who just won her first Emmy at the creative arts Emmys last week, and Gerald McRaney took the stage to present the award for outstanding directing for a limited series or movie. The award went to Jean-Marc Vallee for "Big Little Lies."

9:08 p.m.: A "9 to 5" reunion

Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda appeared onstage, arm in arm, and Parton said, "I've been looking forward to a '9 to 5' reunion" of her co-stars. 

Fonda recalled that in the film, they had a "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical" boss.

"We still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot," said Tomlin, perhaps alluding to Mr. Trump. 

The trio presented the award outstanding supporting actor in a limited series to Alexander Skarsgard for "Big Little Lies." 

9:17 p.m.: Colbert interviews "Emmy"

Colbert decided to meet "Emmy" herself. RuPaul was dressed up as an Emmy statue and put down her sphere for a sit-down with Colbert.

"I've been holding that thing up for 69 years," said "Emmy." "Honey, get out the china because I'm about to spill the tea."

She revealed that she once dated "Oscar," but "couldn't trust a man who's naked and holding a sword." 

"Emmy" had some words for winners and said, "If you win, own it, share it, love it. When you get up on that stage, don't say you're surprised by how heavy I am, because that's just plain rude."

Kaitlin Olsen and Tracee Ellis Ross presented the award for outstanding writing for a variety series, which went to "Last Week with John Oliver," its second Emmy ever. Oliver accepted the award on behalf of his writers.

"Star Trek: Discovery" star Sonequa Martin-Green and Jeremy Piven presented the award for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series, which went to Ann Dowd for "The Handmaid's Tale." Dowd, who sported a blue ribbon on her dress in support of the ACLU, looked stunned as she ascended the stage. She cried and said, "This is a dream; this is an actor's dream ... I'm deeply grateful to you." She thanked "Handmaid's Tale" author Margaret Atwood along with colleagues and production companies. Dowd wept the whole time during her acceptance speech. 

9:31 p.m.: Television Academy President Hayma Washington speaks

"Inclusion is defining television more and more," said Washington. He talked about how TV is telling the stories of LGBT people, women and people of color. "The television community embraces you and the stories you choose to create. The face of creativity is changing." 

Washington presented a video about the TV Academy's internship program, which makes diversity a priority. The video showed Oprah Winfrey saying, "It was important for me that there be major diversity behind the cameras." Washington introduced four interns from the program. 

The two Sheldons of CBS, Jim Parsons and Iain Armitage of "Big Bang Theory" and "Young Sheldon," respectively, presented the award for writing in a comedy series, which went to Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe for "Master of None."

Waithe thanked her "LGBTQIA family" and said, "The things that make us different, those are our super powers."

Kumail Nanjiani and Lea Michele presented reality-competition program, which went to "The Voice."

9:45 p.m.: Colbert recites a "Hollywood prayer"

Colbert returned with a typical Hollywood prayer and said, "Lord, thank you for giving us talent and beauty and the gaping hole inside of each of us that craves love and will never be filled." 

Rashida Jones and Mark Feuerstein presented the award for directing in a drama series, which went to Reed Morano for "Handmaid's Tale." She thanked Margaret Atwood and Elisabeth Moss, who she called her "ultimate inspiration," among others. 

Seth MacFarlane and Emmy Rossum took the stage to present outstanding writing for a limited series or movie. MacFarlane used his "Family Guy" talents to give a different voice to each nominee as he read the list. The Emmy went to Charlie Brooker for "Black Mirror." 

Viola Davis talked about how viewers see TV characters as "members of our extended family" and introduced Christopher Jackson of "Hamilton" to the stage. Jackson performed a spoken word piece in tribute to actors who died in the past year before he sang "As" by Stevie Wonder, which included lyrics like "I'll be loving you always." As a video played of late artists like Zsa Zsa Gabor, Adam West, Nelsan Ellis, Bill Paxton, Roger Moore, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Mary Tyler Moore and more. 

10 p.m.: Craig Robinson and Adam Scott claim they don't want Emmys

Robinson and Scott took the stage, and Scott claimed it was too stressful to be nominated and he was glad he didn't have any Emmy nods. 

Robinson said, "Can you imagine winning? You have to carry this trophy and it's like 20 pounds ... I don't even want to carry my ticket around." 

Robinson and Scott then complained more about how annoying it would be to win an Emmy before presenting the award for directing for a variety series. 

Don Roy King won the Emmy for "Saturday Night Live." It was his second win and 11th nomination. 

Priyanka Chopra and Anthony Anderson then took the stage to present the award for outstanding variety talk series. "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" won the award, making it the show's second win of the night. 

10:13: Colbert and Kimmel drink "Last Week Tonight" cocktail

Colbert and Kimmel drank what they called the night's specialty cocktail: a "Last Week Tonight"

"It's a really dry British cocktail," explained Kimmel. 

"It's so high-quality they can apparently only make it once a week," cracked Colbert. Kimmel then wondered if perhaps the Emmys had made mistakes in naming outstanding variety talk series, but Colbert rejected the idea. 

Edie Falco and Alec Baldwin presented lead actor in a comedy series. Donald Glover won for "Atlanta." 

He thanked the city of Atlanta and thanked his child. "I want to thank my baby, my son, for just being the joy in my life," he said. Then Glover slammed the president and said, "I want to thank Trump for making black people number one on the most oppressed list. He's the reason I'm probably up here."

Debra Messing and Chris Hardwick presented lead actress in a comedy series, which went to Julia Louis-Dreyfus for "Veep." She now holds the record for most Emmys won by a performer for the same role in the same series. 

Louis-Dreyfus revealed that the writers were thinking about having a storyline about impeachment, but they abandoned the idea. 

"We were worried someone else might get to it first," she joked.

Carol Burnett and Norman Lear appeared together. Lear said the two were celebrating 125 years of television comedy, and Burnett was quick to remind the audience that the number was shared between the two of them. They presented outstanding comedy series to "Veep." Executive producer David Mandel joked that he would be out of a job soon and that he'd be willing to do TV, but would prefer to work on film. 

Jessica Biel and Joseph Fiennes presented the award for lead actor in a limited series or movie, which went to Riz Ahmed for "The Night Of." Ahmed paid tribute to the late James Gandolfini, who was originally supposed to be in "The Night Of" before he died. Ahmed also thanked South Asian Youth Action and the Innocence Project for their help in preparing him for his role. 

10:34 p.m.: Outstanding lead actress in a limited series or move

Sarah Paulson and Jason Bateman presented outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie, which went to Nicole Kidman for "Big Little Lies." It was Kidman's first Emmy. 

Kidman thanked her co-star Reese Witherspoon and said, "Reese, I share this with you. Without you, I would not be standing up here." She also talked about the domestic violence her character on "Big Little Lies" faces and said, "We shed a light on domestic abuse. It is a complicated, insidious disease. It exists far more than we allow ourselves to know. It is filled with shame and secrecy and by you acknowledging me with this award, it shines a light on it even more." 

B.D. Wong and Matt Bomer appeared on stage to present outstanding television movie, which went to "Black Mirror" for "San Junipero." Charlie Brooker took the stage to accept the award and said he has heard people say 2017 feels like a "Black Mirror" episode.

He said, "But if I had written it, it wouldn't be quite so on the nose with all sorts of Nazis and hate." Brooker added, "Love will win," and joked, "Maybe if all of the beautiful people in this auditorium made love with each other, the world would be a far better place." It didn't happen, even after Brooker counted down. 

Cicely Tyson and Anika Noni Rose appeared together and Tyson, who got stage fright and paused as she spoke, said she was nervous. Then Tyson continued and said, "Fifty years ago for eight consecutive nights the country was united by a landmark television event. 'Roots' was the very first nightly miniseries," before Tyson and Rose presented outstanding series, which went to "Big Little Lies." 

Reese Witherspoon joked that she and Kidman decided that the microphone would choose who spoke, and since it was shorter, "It's me." 

Witherspoon said, "It's been an incredible year for women, can I just say. Bring women to the front of their own series ... Thank you for giving us these stories." 

Kidman said, "This is a friendship that created opportunities out of a frustration because we weren't getting offered great roles. So now, more great roles for women, please." 

Kyra Sedgwick and Dennis Quaid presented the award for lead actor in a drama series, which went to Sterling K. Brown for "This is Us," his second Emmy win and nomination. 

Brown said he was "always a fan" before he found success as an actor and he said, "So to my fellow nominees, I'm a fan. I love you all." 

He thanked his cast mates from "This is Us" and called them the "best white TV family a brother ever had," saying they were even better than Webster's family. 

Tatiana Maslany, who won an Emmy last year for "Orphan Black," and Jeffrey Dean Morgan took the stage to present outstanding lead actress in a drama series. The award went to Elisabeth Moss for "The Handmaid's Tale." It was her first Emmy win and ninth nomination. 

Moss seemed out of breath as she accepted her award and thanked Hulu, her colleagues, Margaret Atwood and her fellow nominees. She also thanked her mother, who was in the audience, for being a "f***ing bada**." 

10:59 p.m.: "The Handmaid's Tale" wins best drama series

The audience got on their feet as Oprah Winfrey presented the final award of the night, outstanding drama series. The award went to "The Handmaid's Tale." The series had 13 nominations. Showrunner Bruce Miller said to the audience, "Go home. Get to Work. We have a lot of things to fight for" before Colbert closed out the show. 

 

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    Andrea is an entertainment producer at CBSNews.com