‘A win for the ages’ – the biggest surprises of the 2022 Emmys | Emmys 2022

NOTnothing on Earth resists change quite like the Emmys. Seas may rise, mountains may fall, the sun may reach out and engulf us, but the Emmys will still be here, doing their best to do exactly the same as last year.

We all know how the Emmys work now. Once every half-decade, it coalesces around a comedy series and a drama series, and throws everything it’s got at them at the expense of several much better shows. You’ll remember the Modern Family era of the Emmys and the Veep era. It turns out that, like it or not, we are now immersed in the Ted Lasso era.

Almost everything, even remotely, comedy-related went Lasso’s way last night. Best Comedy, Best Comedy Actor, Best Comedy Supporting Actor, Best Director. Granted, Jean Smart won for Hacks and Abbott Elementary picked up a few awards — but it was yet another reminder that the Emmys will always play it safe when it comes to comedy. And nothing is safer than Ted Lasso, the comedic equivalent of rice pudding.

At least Ted Lasso didn’t win them all… Quinta Brunson, who took home the awards for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and Writing a Comedy Series for Abbott Elementary. Photography: Bonnie Osborne/ABC/Getty Images

Lasso’s dominance meant Barry won nothing. Barry, for crying out loud. One of the gnarliest, darkest and sleekest shows of the last 10 years, a season that rivals anything that’s ever been done. And it didn’t win anything. How unfair.

Besides comedy, the big winners were Succession and The White Lotus. There are fewer complaints about these shows because they are actually very good, but outside of these there have been some very strange decisions. The Emmys’ inexplicable fondness for Ozark meant that Julia Garner won Best Supporting Actress, when the prize actually belonged to Better Call Saul’s Rhea Seehorn.

But all is not lost. Thanks to its technically split final season, the final episodes of Better Call Saul are eligible for next year’s awards. By right — given that the show created one of the most perfect endings of any TV series in history — it should wipe the board. In truth, however, next year is a long way off, and even something as stunning as Seehorn’s virtuoso bus breakdown scene could get lost in the mix. It’s sad, but Better Call Saul is shaping up to be the great underrated series of our time.

In happier news, Squid Game won two Emmys. Given the sheer conservatism at the heart of these awards, it never seemed like something that could happen. Squid Game, while hugely popular, seemed like a work of art compared to most shows. It was too violent, too angular, too foreign. So for him to win Best Direction, it’s a sign that Emmy voters sometimes get bold. And Lee Jung-jae’s win for Best Actor (pushing titans like Brian Cox, Bob Odenkirk and Jason Bateman) was nothing short of spectacular. This time yesterday I would have bet money on the language barrier preventing him from winning. But I was wrong, and it was a victory for the ages.

Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes in the Hulu series The Dropout.
Pure brilliance… Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes in the Hulu series The Dropout. Photograph: Beth Dubber/AP

Plus, any award show that recognizes Amanda Seyfried’s genius in The Dropout can’t be all bad. What an amazing performance it was; it was as if Seyfried had managed to physically alter all of his DNA a few episodes later. His victory was fully deserved, especially if it means more people will watch The Dropout. The Emmys clearly disagree, but this could be considered my favorite show of the year.