Alex Borstein and Patricia Arquette's Powerful Acceptance Speeches Headline Political Statements at 2019 Emmys
By Stacy Lambe
At the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, stars took advantage of the spotlight to make a few political statements. Laverne Cox, director Daina Reed and more got their messages across with fashion accessories subtly displayed on the ceremony’s purple carpet, while Alex Borstein used her Emmy win to speak about being a woman in control of your own destiny.
After winning her second consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Borstein took a moment from her joke-filled acceptance speech to make a poignant statement.
“My grandparents are immigrants; they are Holocaust survivors,” Borstein said. “My grandmother turned to a guard -- she was in line to be shot into a pit -- and she said, ‘What happens if I step out of line?’ and he said, ‘I don't have the heart to shoot you but somebody will.’ And she stepped out of line. And for that, I am here. And for that, my children are here. So step out of line, ladies. Step out of line!”
The speech was met with rapturous applause as she walked off stage with her trophy.
Later, when RuPaul Charles was accepting the win for Outstanding Competition Program for RuPaul's Drag Race, he asked the audiences and viewers alike to register to vote. "Go to vote.gov," he concluded his speech.
After accepting her award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie from Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michelle Williams said her win was "an acknowledgement of what is possible when a woman is trusted to discern her own needs, feels safe enough to voice them and respected enough that they'll be heard."
"When I asked for more dance classes I heard, 'Yes'; more voice lessons, 'Yes'; a different wig, a pair of fake teeth not made of rubber, 'Yes.' All of these things they require effort and they cost more money but my bosses never presumed to know better than I did about what I needed in order to do my job and honor Gwen Verdon," she continued, speaking out for equal pay, an issue that's long plagued Hollywood.
Breakout star Jharrel Jerome got a standing ovation for his win for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his portrayal of Korey Wise in the Netflix series When They See Us. "This is for the men we know as the Exonerated Five," Jerome said, recognizing Kevin Richardson, Antron Mccray, Raymond Santana Jr., Korey Wise and Yusef Salaam, who all were in the audience.
While accepting the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for The Act, Patricia Arquette took a moment to recognize her late sister, Alexis, by demanding that transgender people stop being persecuted. "I'm so sad I lost my sister Alexis and that trans people are still being persecuted... Let's get rid of this bias that we have everywhere," she said, adding: "They're human beings and let's give them jobs."
Her speech was met by a standing ovation by Cox, who earlier in the night made a statement of her own.
Cox, who was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series at the Creative Arts ceremony, walked the carpet in a stunning, black-and-lilac ruffled tiered dress accessorized with a bedazzled clutch. Styled like the Pride flag, the clutch also included a message about LGBTQ rights. “Oct. 8, Title VII, Supreme Court,” her handbag reads, referring to the upcoming decision the court has to make about workplace discrimination.
Meanwhile, Reed, who is nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for directing The Handmaid’s Tale season two episode, “Holly,” made a reference to the Hulu series with her clutch. “Praise Be,” her Jimmy Choo bag reads. While not as pointed as Cox’s statement, the series has become a metaphor for the country’s current political climate and the current administration’s handling of women’s rights.
Of course, they weren't the only ones to make statements on the carpet. Check out all the fashions, from princess gowns to timeless looks, at the 2019 Emmys below.