The Most Political Emmys Moments Of All Time
There are plenty of incredible moments at every award show, including the Emmys. And whether good or bad, they sometimes involve getting a bit political. As we prepare for the 2019 Emmy Awards ceremony, let’s remember some of the greatest political moments from past shows.
Sally Field’s acceptance speech (2007)
First, let’s take a trip into the past. Politics used to crop up occasionally at the Emmys, but generally speaking, it was frowned upon. There were plenty of jokes to be made by the hosts and presenters about things that were “strictly Hollywood,” and winners stuck to a generic script of thanking the show’s crew, the network, their co-stars, their families, and the like.
But not Sally Field. When the actress took the stage to accept the Lead Actress In A Drama Series Emmy for Brothers & Sisters, she thanked the usual suspects but then transitioned into a bit of an anti-war speech.
Field said, “Let’s face it: If mother’s ruled the world, there would be no g**d*** wars in the first place.” She said this as she was being played off, so it’s hard to know if she was cut off for the content (including the swear word) or just timing.
Jimmy Kimmel’s monologues (2012 and 2016)
When the Academy has the same person to host twice, you can expect that a few things will change from year to year. Interestingly, both times Jimmy Kimmel hosted, it was a U.S. Presidential Election year. At in 2012, he offered up plenty of light political commentary, making fun of “liberal” Hollywood and then-candidate Mitt Romney a bit.
OK, now fast-forward to 2016. We were less than two months away from a much bigger election, and the feeling was — tenser, to say the least. At this point, it was still easy to joke about Donald Trump, since he hadn’t won. Kimmel did this by calling out Mark Burnett, the man who created The Apprentice, blaming him for Trump’s candidacy.
Courtney B. Vance’s acceptance speech (2016)
That same year, another attendee at the Emmys had the same optimism that many of the rest of us held prior to Nov. 8, 2016. Actor Courtney B. Vance won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
Vance gave an excellent speech, thanking those you usually would, including his wife, the ageless actress Angela Bassett. He closed with a very simple, declarative statement, that meant little at the time but is hard to look back on now: “Obama out! Hillary in!”
Sean Spicer’s appearance (2017)
Though it was just one year later, when the 2017 Emmy Awards rolled around, the country was in a very different place. The Academy called upon Stephen Colbert to lighten the mood, and rather than ignore the political circus of the previous eight months, he leaned in.
The biggest way he did so? By having Sean Spicer, the former White House Communications Director under Trump, parody himself. You’ll recall that he first gained attention when he said that Trump’s inauguration brought in “the largest crowd — period”? He played on that in the clip above, to a lot of applause.
Donald Glover’s acceptance speech (2017)
While many have taken to, in recent years, not saying Trump’s name outright when mocking him (since that really just gives him more reasons to tweet), Donald Glover took a more pointed approach. When he won Lead Actor In A Comedy in 2017 for Atlanta, he mentioned the president by name.
After thanking his partner and his children, he said, “I want to thank Trump for making black people No. 1 on the most oppressed list. He’s the reason I’m probably up here.” It was great because it was poignant commentary, but too deadpan for Trump to catch the true meaning.