The numbers are in and the 2019 Emmy Awards show slumped to the lowest ratings in many years. That’s a shame because there really was something for everyone – and maybe that’s the reason why, we don’t have as many of those moments where we all watch the same thing at the same time.
Heck, half of Sunday night’s winners weren’t even born when J.R. was shot or we said “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” to M*A*S*H in 1983. That’s the problem with award shows, they honor what has happened while trying to attract new viewers to the show.
But let’s start with some highlights: the big winner was the show Fleabag, a hilariously moving series on Amazon by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who took home three Emmys (best comedy, writing, acting) and HBO’s Game of Thrones won big, although it probably suffered from “How Can We Miss You If You Never Leave” syndrome. (Yes, we’re still mad that the last season was spread over three years.)
Billy Porter made history as the first, openly gay winner in the best actor in a drama category for his star-turn as Pray Tell in the FX drama Pose, about the New York City ball and underground club scene of the 1980s. Porter, who has gained a reputation for his red carpet appearances this year, did not disappoint in his fashion choices for the show or in his acceptance speech in which he quoted James Baldwin.
The Porter-directed production of The Purists is running at the Huntington Theatre Company until Oct. 6. The Tony Award-winning Porter has previously directed Topdog/Underdog and The Colored Museum at the Huntington.
Another standout was Michelle Williams, who took home the Emmy for lead actress in a limited series for her embodiment of Gwen Verdon in Fosse/Verdon. Williams used her time on the stage (and with a world-wide audience) to call for pay equity, which she had on this project, and for producers to listen to their female actors.
“The next time a woman — and especially a woman of color, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, male counterpart — tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her,” Williams said. “Believe her.”
Williams was another one who was on our “Best Dressed” list from her time on the carpet, which was purple this year. Williams was a show-stopper in a strapless Louis Vuitton gown, with stunning embroidered sequins, by Nicolas Ghesquière, which was accented by Fred Leighton jewelry.
One theme on that purple carpet was a dazzling array of light-blue gowns, with none shining brighter than Regina King (Watchmen) in a Jason Wu halter-neck gown that was remarkable for its color, a (very) high slit and raw hem. Also notable was Kristen Bell (The Good Place) in Dior.
There were some odd choices that also seemed to work like Nick Cannon and Niecy Nash both wearing turbans. And mega-supermodel Kendall Jenner wore a Richard Quinn gown with a latex turtleneck and oddly clashing floral-patterned skirt.
Holding down the purple carpet for Fox (the network host for this year’s Emmys) was Jenny McCarthy, who in Boston is known as the gal who keeps Donny Wahlberg in line and now cheers for the Red Sox. McCarthy’s interviewing style was a perfect match for the mishmash that was the entire Emmy season, light-enough to keep viewers interested, heavy-enough for the nominees and stars to take her seriously, and fun, which fit the whimsy of the TV show that honors TV shows. Plus, the girl knows her fashion.
Some other local ties included New Hampshire’s Sarah Silverman, who was nominated for her special I Love You America, noted that this year’s Emmy Awards didn’t have a host because “They don’t want comedians to talk.”
American Repertory Theater alum Cherry Jones won an Emmy for “outstanding guest actress in a drama series” for her portrayal of Holly in the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale. This is the second Emmy for Jones, who previously won – in the same category – for her role as President Taylor in 24. Styleboston’s Jan Saragoni interviewed Jones when she was in Cambridge for The Glass Menagerie.
Others with local accents, including fellow American Repertory Theater veteran Bryan Cranston (All The Way, for which he won a Tony Award), who “saved” the host-less Emmy show opening sequence and Tony Shaloub, an ART alum, who won his fourth Emmy for supporting actor in a comedy series getting the first broadcast award of the night for his work on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
If there was a Tony Award for best dress worn by a presenter, then actor-director Billy Porter would have taken the prize. His flowing custom-made ballgown (created from the curtain of Broadway’s Kinky Boots) – the show that won him his Tony Award – was just one more bold choice by the star of TV’s Pose. Porter will be in Boston late this summer directing the world premiere of Dan McCabe’s The Purists at the Huntington Theatre Company.
At the award ceremony, the most-talked about outfit was worn by singer-songwriter/playwright Taylor Mac, who was on stage in a full-fledged costume created by Matthew Flower, who is known as Machine Dazzle. Mac, who wrote the Tony-nominated Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus. He became a hit in Boston for his five-hour show that played at the American Repertory Theater’s Oberon in Cambridge in 2012.
It was a good night for Bryan Cranston, who won for his role as Howard Beale in the stage adaptation of the film Network. Cranston won a Tony two years ago for his portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson in All the Way, which got its start at the American Repertory Theater (ART) in Cambridge before heading to Broadway. In his acceptance speech, Cranston used the moment to reflect on the state of things, which was very “Howard Beale” moment: “The media is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy of the people.”
And while, the Northern Ireland drama The Ferryman won the best play Tony, it was Hadestown, conceived and written by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, who won a Tony for her score that stole the night with eight total awards. Also winning for Hadestown was director Rachel Chavkin, who was at the ART a couple of years ago with Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and returns to the ART this summer to open the 2019-2020 season with Six, a musical about the merry wives of Henry VIII.
Berklee College of Music and its sister school Boston Conservatory at Berklee College alumni and faculty were involved in various capacities with other Tony Award-winning shows this season, including Oklahoma! Hadestown, The Cher Show, To Kill a Mockingbird, Ain’t Too Proud, Ink, and Tootsie.
Sergio Trujillo received the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography in a Musical, for the show Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations. He, too, had success in Boston as the director and choreographer for the stunning Arrabal, at the ART for which he won Elliot Norton Awards.
Also – finally – winning a Tony for his turn on Hadestown was Broadway veteran André De Shields, the narrator of the show. De Shields stole the show in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of The Jungle Book in which he played King Louie. The Huntington had a lot to celebrate on Sunday night with 23 of its alumni receiving Tony Awards nominations this year.
SAN DIEGO — It’s a good thing that the Oscar ceremony is on a Sunday night as we all seem to need a little bit more time to get ready for a party that celebrates the best in film and the best (and worst, gulp) in fashion.
We just wish that we got another day after the festivities to rest up. This year looked like it might be a quiet evening (no hosts, no controversy) but that quickly proved to be wrong, thankfully.
So, the anticipation and guess work on who would win which award was palpable from LA to Boston for the 91st Academy Awards. The San Diego Film Foundation did not disappoint on the party spectrum as it threw its best and biggest annual signature fundraiser that night, held at the Scripps family estate in Rancho Santa Fe. The SDFF used the event as a fundraiser for its highly successful “Impact On Film Tour,” which brings socially impactful films to thousands of high schoolers in the San Diego area in an effort to educate and create a call to action for the youth of the city.
The splashy event was done in true Hollywood style with a Maserati Levante and a Maserati Quattroporte lining the driveway and a Gran Torismo and Ghilbli at the red carpet. Gorgeous women and men turned out in gowns and tuxedos and everyone had a favorite going into the evening, but as we all know Oscar always surprises.
Meanwhile, up the road a bit, things at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles got rolling early with a slate of dynamic interviewers handling the “heavy lifting” for ABC along the red carpet: Medford, MA, native Maria Menounos in a stunning Celia Kritharioti yellow and white gown with Chopard jewelry; Tony Award-winner Billy Porter in a custom (is there any other kind on Oscar night?) tuxedo-gown by Project Runway winner Christian Siriano; Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth also wearing a Celia Kritharioti gown; and supermodel Ashley Graham wearing Zac Posen and dripping in $1 million worth of jewels on loan from Martin Katz.
The only thing we think could live up to the Porter moment was Lady Gaga‘s breathtaking — and nearly blinding — diamond pendant. If you thought it looked like something familiar, indeed it is: that rock is The Tiffany Diamond, worth an ice-cold $30 million. (It had a previous brush with Hollywood when it was used for the promotional photo shoot for Audrey Hepburn’s turn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.) Careful viewers of styleboston.tv and LeftCoast.LA will remember that Kenny Loggins predicted Gaga’s Oscar success while walking the carpet for the 2018 San Diego International Film Festival. View his prediction below; he was spot on!
Gaga, of course, won the Oscar for best original song for “Shallow,” which she co-wrote with Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt, and longtime Boston music maker Anthony Rossomando, best known for the bands The Damn Personals and Dirty Pretty Things.
When the first 8.5-pound golden statue was handed out to Regina King as “best supporting actress” for her star turn in If Beale Street Could Talk, it was Boston native Chris Evans who chivalrously helped King navigate the steps up to accept her award. Yahoo caught the image, you can view it here.
Another high point for those of us following the theater and fashion scenes in the Northeast as well as those around the world who are fans of her work, was when Ruth E. Carter got an Oscar for costume design for her work on Black Panther. Carter, who on stage gave a shout-out to her 97-year-old mother back in Massachusetts, has been toiling away in productions large and small for decades. She is a Springfield, MA, native, who apprenticed at the former StageWest in Massachusetts. MassLive had a great story on Carter, which you can read here.
And if you can stand us having one more fan moment from the Oscar night, it was when Peter Farrelly, a Rhode Island native whose parents live on the South Shore of Massachusetts, won the Oscar as part of the team who wrote the screenplay and the prize of the night, “best picture,” for Green Book. “I want to thank the whole state of Rhode Island,” Farrelly said during one of his acceptance speeches.
FUN FACT: If you thought it seemed like just about every movie that was nominated won something, you were onto something. At least with the “best picture” nominees. Since the number of potential nominees in the best picture category was expanded from five to 10 in 2010, this was the second time that every nominee got at least one award. Second fun fact: Five times in the last six years the “best director” trophy has gone to a Mexican director.
Billy Porter, Tony-winning star of the colorful musical “Kinky Boots,” trades his drag gown for the director’s chair with Huntington Theatre Company’s production of “The Colored Museum,” a scathing comedy that cycles through nearly a dozen vignettes that explore slavery, modern gender roles, beauty standards, and other issues as they relate to the African-American culture. Each theatrical exhibits offers a chance to comment, critique, and frequently satirize — as any good “Museum” would.
WHERE: Avenue of the Arts/BU Theatre
WHEN: March 6 — April 5
EDITOR AT LARGE
CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
Anna Paula Goncalves
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