Handmaid's Tale, Mrs. Maisel guest stars capture early Emmys

A trio of Emmy-honoured actors were winners again for their guest performances in TV series, with Game of Thrones leading the way with 10 trophies for technical and other categories at this weekend's two-night Creative Arts Emmy ceremony, the precursor to the main Emmys event airing Sept. 22.

Game of Thrones led with 10 Emmy wins at event held ahead of main Emmy ceremony

Jane Lynch's guest turn on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel netted her another Emmy trophy, joining past wins for Glee and Hollywood Game Night. Lynch was among the winners this past weekend at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

A trio of Emmy-honoured actors are winners again for their guest performances in TV series, joined by an awards newcomer. 

Bradley Whitford and Cherry Jones received trophies for their The Handmaid's Tale roles at Sunday's creative arts Emmy ceremony.

Jane Lynch and Luke Kirby won on the comedy side, both for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Game of Thrones led with 10 Emmys in technical and other categories at the two-night weekend ceremony, which is the precursor to the main Emmy Awards that will air Sept. 22 on Fox. 

A Game of Thrones team captured Emmys in 10 categories during the two-day ceremony, including for sound editors Tim Kimmel, Tim Hands, Paula Fairfield, Bradley C. Katona, Paul Bercovitch, John Matter, David Klotz, Brett Voss, Jeffrey Wilhoit and Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

The 10 wins included a trophy for Halifax's Paula Fairfield in the sound editing category as part of the team on the HBO drama. It's Fairfield's second win after nabbing a trophy for the same series in 2015. She's been nominated for Game of Thrones in four other years, and received three previous nominations for work on ABC/CTV's Lost.

Meanwhile, Montreal-based Elisabeth Williams was among the team of winners for best production design for The Handmaid's Tale, which airs on Crave. She also won last year for the series, and earned a nomination in 2016 for FX's ​​​​​​​Fargo.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was the top comedy series winner, with six awards.

Stage and screen star Jones, who previously won for 24, heaped praise backstage on fellow nominee Phylicia Rashad (This Is Us), calling it "absurd" that Rashad has yet to win an Emmy despite four nominations, and saluted Cicely Tyson, nominated for How to Get Away with Murder.

"I got to tell Ms. Tyson tonight that watching the Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. is one of the things that made me want to be an actress, and I tell her that every time I see her and she always rolls her eyes," Jones said.

Whitford has an Emmy for The West Wing and one for Transparent — the latter for guest actor in a comedy, making him the first actor to win comedy and drama guest star Emmys.

Bradley Whitford, who won an Emmy for his guest turn on The Handmaid's Tale, gave a shout out to author Margaret Atwood in his speech, saying she has provided 'perspective in this disorienting moment as we are inundated and undermined by a misogynistic, radical, right-wing ideology.' (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

In his acceptance speech, Whitford struck a political note as he thanked Margaret Atwood for the titular novel that is the basis of the dystopian The Handmaid's Tale.

Atwood is "giving us perspective in this disorienting moment as we are inundated and undermined by a misogynistic, radical, right-wing ideology," he said.

"She understands three things: Despair is not an option. Our children can't afford it. Action is the antidote to despair."

'They inspire me'

Lynch, who added to her four previous Emmys for series including Glee and Hollywood Game Night, said she based her portrayal of a 1950s comic on the women she grew up watching.

"I went right to the source: Phyllis Diller, Totie Fields, Moms Mabley," Lynch said.

"Back then, in order for a woman to be in comedy, she had to have a gimmick. Usually that meant cracking wise about her own looks, her bad body, how she can't hold on to a man . but these women did it with such panache and style and such self-possession, and they inspire me."

Canadian actor Luke Kirby earned an Emmy for his guest turn as renowned comic Lenny Bruce for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Canadian actor Kirby, who played Lenny Bruce on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, has also appeared in The Deuce and Rectify.

The British marital comedy State of the Union won the Emmy for best short-form comedy or drama series, with short-form acting honours going to its stars, Chris O'Dowd and Rosamund Pike.

Leaving Neverland, which details two men's allegations that pop star Michael Jackson sexually abused them as children, was honoured at Saturday's ceremony as best documentary or nonfiction special.

Before his 2009 death, Jackson denied repeated, similar allegations against him, and his estate has denounced the documentary.

Beyoncé, whose 2018 Coachella festival concert film Homecoming went into Saturday's ceremony with six Emmy nominations, was beaten in all categories.

James Corden's Carpool Karaoke special with former Beatle Paul McCartney returning to his Liverpool hometown won over Homecoming for pre-recorded variety special, while the filmed version of Bruce Springsteen's acclaimed one-man Broadway show triumphed for variety special directing.

RuPaul earned the Emmy for outstanding reality or competition program host for RuPaul's Drag Race. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Among other awards presented:

  • Animated program: The Simpsons: "Mad About the Toy."
  • Character voice-over performance: Seth MacFarlane, Family Guy: "Con Heiress."
  • Host for a reality or competition program: RuPaul, RuPaul's Drag Race.
  • Unstructured reality program: United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell.
  • Documentary or nonfiction series: Our Planet.
  • Commercial: Dream Crazy, Nike.
  • Music composition for a limited series, movie or special (original dramatic score): Hildur Gudnadottir, Chernobyl: Please Remain Calm.
  • Music composition for a series (original dramatic score): Ramin Djawadi, Game of Thrones: The Long Night.