These Were the Biggest Upsets From the 2019 Emmy Awards

It is always hard to predict who is going to win at an award show. Many times, the same shows/films and people win over and over again, and we come to just expect that they’ll always do that. Other times, an entry seems like a clear favorite given the buzz surrounding it, but it ends up losing out to a less-talked-about nominee.

The stage at the 71st Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on September 22, 2019.
The stage at the 71st Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on September 22, 2019. | Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Regardless, win or lose, it is an honor just to be nominated. But still, they’re called “upsets” for a reason — no one is particularly happy not to get the prize they thought they might. Here’s a look at the three biggest surprise wins from the 2019 Emmy Awards.

Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

This award was pretty much guaranteed to Julia Louis-Dreyfus. After all, she’s won literally every other year for Veep, and also previously on a few occasions for former series The New Adventures of Old Christine and Seinfeld.

Last year, the award went to Rachel Brosnahan for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but Louis-Dreyfus and Veep weren’t eligible. In fact, the final season of the beloved HBO show was delayed in production because of the actress’ fight with breast cancer. So she should have been even more of a shoo-in.

But the award went to Phoebe Waller-Bridge for Fleabag. Waller-Bridge is, of course, phenomenal, but because she won for writing and creating the series as well, it was a bit surprising that she beat out a veteran performer like Louis-Dreyfus in her last year.

Directing And Writing For A Limited Series/TV Movie

Chernobyl was — well, a limited series that got plenty of love from critics, but not a lot of chatter from audiences. Airing, naturally, on HBO (the home of most limited series and TV films these days), it was a historical drama about 1986 nuclear disaster in the former Soviet Union. Writer Craig Mazin won for Chernobyl, as did director Johan Renck.

So who did we think was going to win here? Another miniseries based on a true story, When They See Us. The Netflix offering is about the Central Park Five, and because of how recent the events of it are and how relevant it is to today’s political climate, When They See Us seemed like an easy winner.

Additionally, Ava DuVernay is the creator, co-writer, and director of the limited series. Because of her status as an Oscar nominee, you’d think that alone would be enough to get her the Emmy. But that wasn’t the case here.

Lead Actress In A Drama Series

Another woman in the last year of a celebrated long-running series, it was generally assumed that this was Robin Wright‘s award to win. After all, she not only carried House of Cards throughout its run (without winning an Emmy), she stepped up, both on and off-screen, in the final season with the loss of disgraced star and producer Kevin Spacey.

But shockingly, the award went to Jodie Comer, star of Killing Eve. Many presumed that, if Wright didn’t get the win, it would go to Comer’s co-star, Sandra Oh. Even the young Brit was surprised by her win, saying that she didn’t invite her parents to come in from the UK for the ceremony because she never expected that she’d be the one up there this time.