LOS ANGELES — “The Proposal.” It was a 2009 movie starring Sandra Bullock, but now will forever be the informal title of the 2018 Emmys telecast, thanks to a memorable romantic gesture from Emmy-winning director Glenn Weiss — who summoned the courage to propose to his girlfriend on live TV.
She said yes — thank the Lord. The stars in the audience responded with gasps (we saw you, Leslie Jones) and even tears (we saw you too, Queen Elizabeth — er, Claire Foy.) That feel-good moment — along with crowd-pleasing speeches by Henry Winkler and Betty White — lightened the mood of an evening that otherwise had a lackluster feel, and disappointed many with the lack of ethnic diversity among its winners.
Some moments we’ll be talking about:
The Emmys began with a happy announcement — this was the most ethnically diverse group of Emmy nominees yet — and a cheeky musical nod to the diversity issue in Hollywood, a song aptly called “We Solved It!” Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Sterling K. Brown, Tituss Burgess and Ricky Martin, among others, sang — tongue firmly in cheek — about how far things had progressed, joined by a company of “One of Each” dancers.
But they could not have known how the evening itself would progress — award after award would go to a white winner. Presenter James Corden finally said what everyone was thinking. “Let’s get it trending: #EmmysSoWhite,” he quipped, a double reference to both Betty White, who preceded him, and the prevailing color of the evening.
The string was finally broken about halfway through when Regina King was awarded best actress in a limited series or movie for “Seven Seconds.”
After the opening musical number, co-hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost took the stage and kicked off the show with political jokes and jabs which are now customary during primetime awards shows. One of Che’s comments drew the ire of viewers and social media.
Che, chatting with his fellow “Saturday Night Live” star and co-host Jost, said his mother would not be watching the show. “My mother is not watching,” Che said. “She says she doesn’t like watching white award shows because you guys don’t thank Jesus enough.”
Continuing, he said, “That’s true. The only white people that thank Jesus are Republicans and ex-crackheads.”
Viewers on both sides of the aisle took to Twitter to complain. One Twitter user, Mary Beth Coudal said, “Michael Che – do not knock JC – Jesus is just all right with me. #emmys”
Sometimes it just takes a little patience to achieve your Emmy dreams — like, four decades and six nominations worth of patience.
But who’s counting? Not Henry Winkler, who bounded to the stage with delight to claim his first Emmy, more than 40 years after he was first nominated for his role as The Fonz in “Happy Days.”
The crowd rose to cheer the 72-year-old Winkler as he accepted his trophy for best supporting actor in a comedy series for HBO’s dark comedy “Barry,” joking that he was giving a speech he wrote 43 years ago.
He quoted some Hollywood advice he’d been given, that “if you stay at the table long enough, the chips come to you.”
“Tonight I got to clear the table,” he said, and then jokingly told his (adult) children: “You can go to bed now. Daddy won!”
BETTY WHITE STEALS THE SHOW
If that was a feel-good moment, what do you call the sublime appearance of 96-year-old White, honored for 80 years in television?
The star of “Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” got such a huge ovation from the crowd that she quipped: “I’m just gonna quit while I’m ahead.”
“It’s incredible,” White said, “that you can stay in a career this long and still have people put up with you. I wish they did that at home.”
And she showed she wasn’t above — or beyond — a racy joke: “I want to thank Lorne Michaels for everything he’s done with me. I mean, for me,” she said of the “Saturday Night Live” creator and producer of the evening’s telecast.
TALK ABOUT SEIZING THE MOMENT
Glenn Weiss knows how to spice up an awards show. In fact, that’s why he won an Emmy Monday — for directing the Oscars.
But he took his talent to new heights, using his acceptance speech to pop the question to girlfriend Jan Svendsen.
He first gave tribute to his mother, who died two weeks ago, and then addressed his girlfriend. “You wonder why I don’t want to call you my girlfriend?” he asked Svendsen. “It’s because I want to call you my wife.”
A stunned Svendsen made her way to the stage, where Weiss sank to his knee and presented her with the same ring his father gave his mother 67 years ago. Then, he asked. The answer was yes. PHEW.
Jost cracked later that there were “so many guys with rings who didn’t win tonight.”
And Emmy winner John Oliver thanked Svendsen for saying yes. “This could’ve been a very different evening,” he noted.
NO PROPOSAL FOR RUSSELL AND RHYS
There were two sweet victories for the FX spy drama “The Americans,” which concluded its six-season run in May with an acclaimed finale. The writing award for drama went to Joel Fields and Joseph Weisberg, and the best actor trophy went to Matthew Rhys, who played KGB agent Philip Jennings.
In his speech, Rhys acknowledged his longtime co-star and partner in life, Keri Russell, who lost out in the acting category to Foy.
“I don’t have the words, I don’t have the time — neither of which would do you justice, Keri,” he said. “So thank you. More to come.”
He added that there would be no second onstage proposal that night.
“She said, ‘If you propose to me, I’ll punch you clean in the mouth.'”