2017 Emmy Awards: Cultural Relevance Trumped All Contenders

2017 Emmys Key Art CR: CBS
Image Credit: CBS

Big Little Lies.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Handmaid’s Tale.


Saturday Night Live.

These were the big winners last night at the 2017 Primetime Emmy Awards.

And if you look at these winners closely, you’ll see they all had one common bond — cultural and social relevance.

These shows, whether you personally enjoyed them or not, all tackled issues that are relevant to current American culture. They did this with drama, they did this with comedy, and sometimes a combination of both.

Now if you feel that some of these shows missed their mark, that’s totally fine. I think we can generally agree that Saturday Night Live trotting out Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump week in, and week out lost its steam by spring. However, the fact these shows were addressing issues that directly affected Americans, not only made them more popular, but they stuck the general public, and the Emmy voting community’s ribs more.

That is why series like Stranger Things, and Westworld didn’t stand a chance. Because no matter how good these shows were, they just didn’t strike that emotional, social, or political chord as strongly (or at all) like the big winners.

Some may criticize the choices for Emmy winners, as a typical, or expected ‘Hollywood’ response to the current sociopolitical climate in the country. Of course the shows that took shots at the current presidential regime, or current political party in power would be littered with awards. Supporters of these decisions may say that it’s about time shows like the ones who took home the gold, were recognized by the Emmys.

I’m not here to tell you if you’re right or wrong, I’m just presenting a through line for the winners of the night. What I do ask of you to do is, before you judge these winners — if you haven’t already — watch them. Take the time to let to view them, let them soak into your brain, and then make your opinion. Don’t knee-jerk judge something because it does or doesn’t fulfill your political, or social agenda. Take the time to watch these shows, and then make up your mind. And whether you love these shows, or absolutely detest them — these shows may just offer you a different perspective, and…isn’t that what art’s purpose is?

We’ll be diving more in-depth on the Emmy winners and losers on our forthcoming podcast, till then here’s a list of all the winners and losers.

2017 Emmy Awards – The Winners & Losers

Outstanding drama series

Better Call Saul

The Crown

The Handmaid’s Tale

House of Cards

Stranger Things

This Is Us


Outstanding comedy series



Master of None

Modern Family

Silicon Valley

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt


Outstanding lead actor in a drama series

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Anthony Hopkins, Westworld

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul

Matthew Rhys, The Americans

Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

Outstanding lead actress in a drama series

Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder

Claire Foy, The Crown

Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

Keri Russell, The Americans

Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

Robin Wright, House of Cards

Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul

Ron Cephas Jonas, This Is Us

David Harbour, Stranger Things

Michael Kelly, House of Cards

John Lithgow, The Crown

Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

Jeffrey Wright , Westworld

Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series

Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale 

Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale

Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black

Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things

Chrissy Metz, This Is Us

Thandie Newton, Westworld

Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

Aziz Ansari, Master of None

Zach Galifianakis, Baskets

Donald Glover, Atlanta

William H. Macy, Shameless

Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series

Pamela Adlon, Better Things

Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie

Allison Janney, Mom

Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep 

Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series

Louie Anderson, Baskets

Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live

Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Ty Burrell, Modern Family

Tony Hale, Veep

Matt Walsh, Veep

Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series

Vanessa Bayer, Saturday Night Live

Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live

Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Kathryn Hahn, Transparent

Judith Light, Transparent

Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Outstanding limited series

Big Little Lies


Feud: Bette and Joan

The Night Of


Outstanding lead actor in a limited series

Riz Ahmed, The Night Of

Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Lying Detective

Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies

Ewan McGregor, Fargo

Geoffrey Rush, Genius

John Turturro, The Night Of

Outstanding lead actress in a limited series

Carrie Coon, Fargo

Felicity Huffman, American Crime

Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies

Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan

Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan

Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

Outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie

Judy Davis, Feud: Bette and Joan

Laura Dern, Big Little Lies 

Jackie Hoffman, Feud: Bette and Joan

Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard of Lies

Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies

Outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie

Bill Camp, The Night Of

Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette and Joan

Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies

David Thewlis, Fargo

Stanley Tucci, Feud: Bette and Joan

Michael Kenneth Williams, The Night Of

Outstanding variety talk series

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

The Late Late Show With James Corden

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Real Time With Bill Maher

Outstanding reality-competition program

The Amazing Race

American Ninja Warrior

Project Runway

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Top Chef

The Voice 

Outstanding directing for a comedy series

Jamie Babbit, Silicon Valley

Donald Glover, Atlanta

Mike Judge, Silicon Valley

David Mandel, Veep

Morgan Sackett, Veep

Dale Stern, Veep

Outstanding writing for a drama series

The Duffer Brothers, Stranger Things

Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, Westworld

Peter Morgan, The Crown

Bruce Miller, The Handmaid’s Tale

Gordon Smith, Better Call Saul

Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, The Americans

Outstanding writing for a comedy series

Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe, Master of None

Alec Berg, Silicon Valley

Donald Glover, Atlanta

Stephen Glover, Atlanta

Billy Kimball, Veep

David Mandel, Veep

Outstanding directing for a drama series

Stephen Daldry, The Crown

Kate Dennis, The Handmaid’s Tale

The Duffer Brothers, Stranger Things

Vince Gilligan, Better Call Saul

Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland

Reed Morano, The Handmaid’s Tale 

Jonathan Nolan, Westworld

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites