It was billed as a battle between the fictional worlds of Westeros and Gilead.
In the end, the epic fantasy Game of Thrones won for best dramatic series, emerging victorious over The Handmaid’s Tale at the 70th annual Emmy Awards on Monday night.
It wasn’t a sure thing: Dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale won last year, and the Margaret Atwood adaptation remains prescient in the #MeToo era, and an age when women’s abortion rights are under threat.
But Game of Thrones, despite being absent from the ballots last year, roared back to prominence. It was already the most decorated scripted show in Emmy history, but after a 13-month absence, the series seemed vulnerable to fickle voters and the red tide of the handmaids. But voters chose escapism over an alternate reality that perhaps hit too close to home.
Despite the focus on the headline contest between well-established incumbents for best drama, this was ostensibly an Emmy Awards night about diversity. But it didn’t quite deliver on the mission statement.
Inside the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, an entertaining musical number featured John Legend, Ricky Martin, Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson singing, tongue firmly planted in cheek, that they had solved the lack of diversity in Hollywood.
“This year has the most diverse group in Emmy history,” said Thompson. “It’s one step closer to a Black Sheldon.”