Emmys 2018: Amy Sherman-Palladino, John Legend, Samira Wiley and Other Notable First-Time Winners

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The 2018 Emmys are making a splash with first-time winners, honoring Emmy newcomers and TV veterans in various categories, both in front of and behind the camera. Among them: Alex Borstein (Family Guy), Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story), Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live) and Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale).

On Sept. 8 and 9, the Creative Arts Emmy Awards were handed out, recognizing technical specialities as well as some acting and top program prizes, with the biggest awards handed out on Monday, Sept. 17, during the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Find out who, among the most notable names, won their first-ever Emmy this year:  

Alex Borstein
Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance (Family Guy)

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Over the past decade, Borstein has earned a total of four Emmy nominations, including two in 2018 -- for her voice work on Family Guy, which earned her her first trophy, and for her onscreen supporting role as Susie in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She earned her first onscreen acting win (and second Emmy) for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. 

During a visit to the set during the filming of Maisel season two, Borstein joked that the series' 14 nominations meant “more money” for everyone. But when talking about playing Susie, she said, “It's nice to play a female character that's not just regulated to being a wet blanket, a mom or a sidekick. It's rare to get to play a fully realized female -- and there's not just one on this show. It's a plethora of boobies and talented ladies. It's good stuff.”

Amy Sherman-Palladino
Outstanding Music Supervision (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

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Despite being the creative driving force behind acclaimed series Gilmore Girls and Bunheads, it wasn’t until Sherman-Palladino’s work on the Amazon series that she earned her first Emmy nominations -- a total of four, for music supervision, writing, directing and producing. Her first win is shared with husband David Palladino and Robin Urdang, both first-time winners as well. She also scored Emmys for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
Outstanding Variety Special (Live) (Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert)

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Two Hollywood and Broadway legends, Webber and Rice have 21 competitive Oscar, GRAMMY and Tony awards between them. But it wasn’t until they adapted Jesus Christ Superstar for a live NBC special that the two finally earned an Emmy nomination and win -- the missing “E” in the coveted EGOT.

Admittedly, Rice didn’t know what the milestone was until recently. “So I didn't sort of think, 30 years ago, ‘I must have an EGOT,’’ he told ET backstage at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, adding: “It's great. It's very nice.”

Christina Pickles
Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series (Break a Hip)

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After six prior nominations for her work on St. Elsewhere and as Judy Geller on Friends, Pickles won her first Emmy on her seventh try, for playing Biz on the Vimeo series about “growing up and growing old.”

Darren Criss
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story)

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The former Glee star won for his portrayal of gay serial killer Andrew Cunanan in Ryan Murphy’s true-crime anthology series. The actor was previously nominated for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics in 2015 for his work on Glee

“I already feel like we've won, like, the greatest award we could possibly get, which is to be working on stuff that not only matters, that has artistic value and integrity,” Criss told ET about being nominated. ACS racked up 18 total nominations for its second season. 

David Attenborough
Outstanding Narrator (Blue Planet II)

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At 93 years old, Attenborough is finally an Emmy winner, becoming the oldest ever. His win comes for narrating Blue Planet II after three previous nominations for his work on Life Story, The Private Life of Plants and The Living Planet: A Portrait of the Earth.

Delta Work
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special (RuPaul’s Drag Race)

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While RuPaul is a three-time Emmy winner for hosting RuPaul’s Drag Race, a former contestant is now among the show’s winners. Delta Work (whose real name is Gabriel Villarreal) is best known for coming in seventh on season three of the competition, but as RuPaul’s personal hairstylist -- since season nine -- he’s now a winner, baby. (The award also marks Hector Pocasangre's first win.)

Craig Zadan
Outstanding Variety Special (Live) (Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert)

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After 16 nominations, the legendary Broadway and TV producer who helped engineer the recent string of live TV revivals of hit musicals finally won his first Emmy for Jesus Christ Superstar. The posthumous win comes less than a month after Zadan unexpectedly died from complications during surgery. “His memory lives on,” Rice said of the late producer, with Webber adding: “The great thing was, I think, that he would have been very pleased with this.”

Legend, who shared the win with all three men, added that working with Zadan at the 2015 Oscars, where he performed “Glory” and won the award for Best Original Song, and on the NBC special were the highlights of his career. “We dedicate this win to him.”

Henry Winkler
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Barry)

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The longtime actor took home his first Emmy for playing Gene Cousineau, Barry Berkman’s (Bill Hader) acting coach, on the HBO series. The win comes 42 years after his first nomination in 1976, for his iconic role as the Fonz on Happy Days. In total, he’s been nominated six times. 

Back in March, the 72-year-old actor spoke with ET about what made the role so special. “I read the script and I knew, I'm reading something wonderful here. I've read a lot of scripts over the years for pilots," he said. "For men my age, it's usually, 'Oh, hold on a minute.' [He mimes covering the receiver of a phone.] ‘Turn in your badge. Take a few days off.’ And look what I got to do.”

Jay and Mark Duplass  
Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series (Wild Wild Country)

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The brothers -- both actors, filmmakers and writers -- won their first Emmy for producing the hit Netflix docuseries about the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (The Americans)

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After six nominations, mostly for writing The Americans, the two executive producers both won their first Emmy for co-writing the show’s series finale.  

When asked why they think the finale episode resonated with the Academy, they told ET it was best not to overthink it. “The best plan is to be really glad they do, and walk away quietly, glancing nervously over your shoulder.”

John Legend
Outstanding Variety Special (Live) (Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert)

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After 10 GRAMMYs, one Oscar and a Tony, Legend won an Emmy, earning the singer EGOT status. “It’s kind of surreal. It’s something I never thought about when I started my career. I never dreamed that I would be here winning an Emmy and being part of that rare group of people who won all four of these major awards,” he gushed to ET. “I am just happy I was a part of such a great show.”

Legend is also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for playing Jesus in the musical special.

Katt Williams
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Atlanta)

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The 47-year-old actor and comedian won his first Emmy for playing Donald Glover’s alligator-owning uncle on the FX comedy Atlanta.

Kenan Thompson
Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics (Saturday Night Live)

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Thompson was nominated for two Emmys this year -- including his first for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series after 15 seasons -- and won his first award for writing “Come Back Barack” alongside SNL writers Chris Redd, Will Stephen and musical director Eli Breuggemann, all of whom won their first Emmys for the song.

“We're gonna go party a little bit, but we have a newborn,” said Thompson, whose wife Christina Evangeline gave birth to their second child in August. “And I can't wait to get back to her and show her that daddy is a genius.”

Matthew Rhys
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (The Americans)

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In the final season of the FX series, Rhys took home his first Emmy for playing a Russian spy embedded in the U.S. He was previously nominated twice in the role with a third nod for a guest-starring role on Girls.

Rachel Brosnahan
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

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After earning her first nomination for her guest role on House of Cards, Brosnahan won an Emmy for her second nomination -- this time as Lead Actress for playing the titular housewife turned comedian. 

"Thank you to our brilliant writers and creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino. I'm going to be thanking you for the rest of my life for trusting me with your Midge," Brosnahan said during her acceptance speech.

Ramin Djawadi
Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score) (Game of Thrones)

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The composer, who was twice-nominated in this category for his work on Westworld and Game of Thrones, won for the latter during the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. “It feels very rewarding, because what a lot of people don’t know is how much hard work this actually is,” Djawadi told ET about being nominated ahead of the ceremony. “I literally work every day and weekends. It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of effort we put in. I didn’t expect anything at all, and then to get two nominations at the same time -- it was pretty mind-blowing, I have to say. I feel very honored.”

Samira Wiley
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (The Handmaid’s Tale)

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This year, Wiley earned her second Emmy nomination for playing Moira on the Hulu drama. She beat out two of her co-stars -- Cherry Jones and Kelly Jenrette -- as well as Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson and Diana Rigg to win the Guest Acting award. Backstage at the Creative Arts Emmys, the actress told ET she was “just honored to be mentioned with those ladies.”

Shauna Duggins
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or Variety Program (GLOW)

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Duggins became the first woman to win a Stunt Coordination Emmy. When speaking to Deadline backstage at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, she “honored” to be the first female winner, but noted that “this show, in general, breaks the mold for women.”

Thandie Newton
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Westworld)

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Newton won for playing Maeve, an android host at the titular park that acquires self-awareness, on the HBO sci-fi drama. It's the second time she was nominated for the role. The actress was completely shocked to win a tough category that included Alexis Bledel (The Handmaid's Tale), Ann Dowd (The Handmaid's Tale), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Vanessa Kirby (The Crown) and Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid's Tale).  

Tiffany Haddish
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (Saturday Night Live)

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The Girls Trip breakout star won her first Emmy for hosting Saturday Night Live. Haddish notably beat out SNL alums Molly Shannon, Maya Rudolph and Tina Fey, who was nominated for hosting the show’s season finale. At the time, Haddish was celebrated for making history as the first black female stand-up comic to host the show in its 43 seasons.

Unable to attend the Creative Arts Emmys, where her award was handed out, Haddish recalled to ET how she found out she won: “I got a phone call, like, 'You got an Emmy.' And I was like, 'What? For real?!'”

Yance Ford
Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking (Strong Island)

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With his first Emmy win, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker and director of Strong Island became the second openly transgender person to win a Primetime Emmy award. He was recognized for his Netflix documentary about the 1992 murder of his brother. “Oh, what a night!” Ford later tweeted.

 

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, co-hosted by Colin Jost and Michael Che, were handed out live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Check out the full list of winners and ET’s ongoing Emmy coverage here.

 

MORE 2018 EMMY COVERAGE:

2018 Creative Arts Emmy Awards: The Complete List of Winners

Your Viewing Guide to the 2018 Emmy-Nominated Shows You May Have Skipped

Emmy First-Timers 2018: Ricky Martin, Issa Rae, Jimmi Simpson, Yvonne Strahovski and More (Exclusive)