From Rita Wilson Rapping to 'Ted Lasso' Winning Big: All of the Best Moments from the 2021 Emmys

Take a look back at all of the must-see moments from the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards  

01 of 18

Billy Porter Ran the Red Carpet

73rd Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals
Getty

The red carpet did not disappoint this year, especially with Billy Porter dominating with a stunning sequence of fierce poses. Later in the night, Saturday Night Live's Bowen Yang had everyone talking about his sky-high silver boots and The Crown's Emma Corrin brought the oohs and ahhs with their "crucible realness" ensemble.

02 of 18

Cedric the Entertainer Got Rita Wilson to Rap to Biz Markie

Cedric the entertainer
CBS

Host Cedric the Entertainer kicked off the show with a feel-good musical number requiring help from some of the night's guests and nominees. Rapping to the tune of the late Biz Markie's "Just a Friend," Cedric had the audience dancing and passed the mic off to LL Cool J, Mandy Moore, Brendan Hunt, Lil Dicky, Billy Porter and Rita Wilson, among others.

"This is the Emmys people, that's how we do it!" Cedric said when they wrapped the song, adding, "R.I.P. to the one and only Biz Markie."

Watch the full opening number here.

03 of 18

Hannah Waddingham Made Us Cry

HANNAH WADDINGHAM

Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham teared up (so did we!) and excitedly shouted multiple times (so did we!) during her outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series acceptance speech. She got especially emotional while thanking the show's creator and star, Jason Sudeikis.

"Jason, you've changed my life with this and more importantly my baby girl's. Honestly, I'm so privileged to work with you," Waddingham said while accepting the award.

The actress also gave a shoutout to her parents and all the people in her life who help her, adding, "This single mum wouldn't be standing here without you."

04 of 18

Brett Goldstein's Speech F------ Ruled

BRETT GOLDSTEIN

The Ted Lasso winning streak continued as Brett Goldstein won outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for his role as Roy Kent. He shared that he was "very, very specifically told" he was not allowed to swear like his character so, of course, he followed with a string of expletives that were ultimately bleeped out.

Goldstein then went on to thank those involved in the series, including his castmates. "To my teammates that I'm nominated with and all my team," he said, "this cast made me sick, they're so good."

05 of 18

Julianne Nicholson and Evan Peters Stanned Kate Winslet

Evan Peters, Julianne Nicholson, Kate Winslet
CBS; Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty. Inset: Rich Fury/Getty

HBO's Mare of Easttown stars Julianne Nicholson and Evan Peters both won in their respective outstanding supporting actress/actor in a limited or anthology series or a movie categories, and dedicated a part of their speeches to the one and only Kate Winslet.

"Man, you're good at acting," Nicholson said with a laugh about Winslet. "Turns out, you're good at caring for a whole production. You led all of us every step of the way with such care and intelligence and love."

"If you hadn't called and asked if I wanted to join you in Philly, I probably would have read the first two episodes, thought 'Nah, the priest did it,' and stayed home. So I owe this to you," she said to her co-star.

Peters chose to be succinct with his tribute, shouting really loudly at Winslet to thank her for simply "being KATE WINSLET."


Both were sweet and effective.

06 of 18

Kerry Washington Remembered Michael K. Williams: 'We Love You'

Kerry Washington and Michael k Williams
CBS; Paras Griffin/Getty

While presenting the award for supporting actor in a drama series, Washington honored nominee Michael K. Williams, who died on Sept. 6 at the age of 54.

"Michael was — it's crazy to say Michael was — a brilliantly talented actor and a generous human being who has left us far too soon," she said. "Michael, I know you're here because you wouldn't miss this. Your excellence, your artistry will endure, we love you."

07 of 18

John Oliver and Lorne Michaels Honored Norm Macdonald

John Oliver and Lorne Michaels, Norm Macdonald
John Oliver, Norm Macdonald, Lorne Michaels. CBS Photo Archive/Getty; Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images; John Salangsang/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

John Oliver, who won outstanding variety talk series for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for the sixth year in a row, and Lorne Michaels, who won with the cast of Saturday Night Live for outstanding variety sketch series, both included a moment to shine a spotlight on the late Norm Macdonald, who died on Sept. 14 at the age of 61 after a private nine-year battle with cancer.

Oliver said, "And I just want to say, this is an award for a comedy. No one's funnier, in the last 20 years than Norm Macdonald. So, if you have any time in the next week. I just spent time YouTubing clips of Norm and Colbert because it just doesn't get better than that. Thanks so much."

Michaels ended his speech by saying, "And here I'd like to pay tribute to one of the best we ever had. Norm Macdonald."

08 of 18

The Snub Support Group Had Us Laughing

subbed actors sketch
cbs

As host, Cedric made the effort to comfort stars who've gotten snubbed by the Emmys, year after year. The hilarious sketch included actors Jason Alexander, Zooey Deschanel and Alyson Hannigan, with a surprise cameo from Fred Savage.

Watch the full sketch here.

09 of 18

The Cast of Schitt's Creek Killed Time Onstage

Cast of Schitts Creek

A roar of applause filled the room as Dan Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Annie Murphy and Eugene Levy came to the stage to present the comedy directing and writing categories. As the crowd got livelier, Dan cut to the chase and said, "Thank you so much, there's nothing on the prompter." The "glitch" got the cast of Schitt's Creek to slip back into their beloved characters, letting fans enjoy glimpses of David, Moira, Alexis and Johnny Rose bickering like a family again.

10 of 18

Jason Sudeikis Thanked Lorne Michaels with a Poop Joke

Jason Sudeikis

During his outstanding lead actor in a comedy series acceptance speech for his work on Ted Lasso, Jason Sudeikis thanked his family, his kids, mentors and teachers, including Lorne Michaels, "who went to go take a dump now, perfect," he joked, before adding, "He's gonna get home and he's gonna watch it, he loves watching the Emmys at home. It's fine, it's fine."

11 of 18

Cedric Ticked Off His TV Wives

Cedric tv wives
cbs

During another sketch, host Cedric the Entertainer got hilariously ambushed by his TV wives Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood), Niecy Nash (The Soul Man) and Terri J. Vaughn (The Steve Harvey Show). When confronted and asked to choose who is his favorite, the women got fed up and left to go find Bridgerton's Regé-Jean Page instead.

12 of 18

RuPaul Made History

Rupaul

Upon wining outstanding competition program for RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul thanked all of his lovely drag children and ended his acceptance speech with encouraging words to those who want to join the Drag Race family.

"But really thanks to all of our lovely children on our show from around the world. They are so courageous to tell their stories of courage and how to navigate this difficult life, even more difficult today. This is for you and for you kids out there watching, you have a tribe that is waiting for you," he said. "We are waiting for you, baby. Come on, Mama."

This win made RuPaul the record holder for most Emmys for any Black artist with 11 total.

13 of 18

Debbie Allen Received the Governors Award

Debbie Allen

Choreographer, director, producer and actress Debbie Allen received the esteemed Governors Award for her numerous contributions to television, commitment to inspiring marginalized youth through the performing arts and mentorship, and her philanthropic endeavors.

Allen's award was introduced with a video recapping her life and career voiced by Gayle King before Jada Pinkett Smith, Ellen Pompeo, Ava DuVernay and Michael Douglas welcomed her on stage. The stars held canes in tribute to her Fame character and repeatedly tapped them on the floor as she made her entrance to a standing ovation.

"Let this moment resonate with women across the world, across this country and across the world, from Texas to Afghanistan," Allen said near the end of her speech. "Let them know. And also with young people who have no vote and who can't even get a vaccine, they're inheriting the world that we live [in] that we leave them. It is time for you to claim your power, claim your voice, say your song, tell your stories, it will make us a better place. Your turn. Thank you."

14 of 18

Michaela Coel Gave Invaluable Advice: 'Write the Tale That Scares You'

Michaela Coel

Michaela Coel won outstanding writing for a limited or anthology series or movie for her HBO show I May Destroy You, and destroyed us with her powerful acceptance speech.

"Okay, thank you so much. I just wrote a little something for writers," she began after accepting her award. "Write the tale that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain that isn't comfortable. I dare you."

"In a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others to help us better determine how we feel about ourselves and to in turn feel the need to be constantly visible," she continued. "Visibility these days seems to somehow equate to success. Don't be afraid to disappear from it, from us, for a while, and see what comes to you in the silence."

She added, "I dedicate this story to every single survivor of sexual assaults. Thank you."

15 of 18

Kate Winslet Won Lead Actress in a Limited Series

Kate Winslet

The actress won one of the top awards of the night for her role in Mare of Easttown: outstanding actress in a limited or anthology series or a movie. The win marked Winslet's fourth Emmy nomination and second win.

"Mom, mom they're standing up!" the star said of receiving a standing ovation while accepting the award. "Oh my God, thank you so much!"

After composing herself, she went on to shout out her fellow nominees.

"In this decade that has to be about women having each other's backs," she continued, "I support you. I salute you. I'm proud of all of you. Mare of Easttown it seemed to — I don't know — it was this cultural moment and it brought people together and gave them something to talk about other than a global pandemic and I want to thank everyone for watching our show."

Winslet also called out the show's creator, Brad Ingelsby. "This is you, this is all you," the mom of three said to him. "You created a middle-aged, imperfect flawed mother and you made us all feel validated."

16 of 18

Olivia Colman Dedicated Her Win to Her Dad, Who Died 'During COVID'

Olivia Coleman

The Crown's Olivia Colman honored her late father during her outstanding lead actress in a drama series acceptance speech. She grew emotional, saying, "I'm going to be very quick because I'm very teary as my wish my dad was here to see this. I lost my daddy during COVID, and he would have loved all of this."

17 of 18

Stars Were Honored in Emmys' In Memoriam Segment

in memoriam
cbs

The Emmy Awards honored members of the entertainment industry who died this past year with a montage, as Leon Bridges and Jon Batiste performed the stirring "River."

"Over the past year, we have lost so many of our loved ones," Uzo Aduba said in an introduction. "But we treasure our memory of each of them and we rejoice in having them in our lives."

The stars who were honored included Norm Macdonald, Michael K. Williams, Ed Asner, Olympia Dukakis, Christopher Plummer, Dustin Diamond, Cloris Leachman and Cicely Tyson.

18 of 18

Queen's Gambit Became Queen of the Night

The Queen’s Gambit

Checkmate! The cast of The Queen's Gambit won the Emmy for outstanding limited or anthology series or movie. The elated group joined producer William Horberg on stage as he gave his acceptance speech.

"This award is for the fans who told their friends, who became fans who told their friends: 'Dude, you got to watch the orphan girl chess drama,' " he said.

"Thank you to Netflix, you guys did the rarest thing of all these days, you took a chance on risky material and you trusted the filmmakers," he continued before thanking the Queen's Gambit crew.

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