74th Emmy Awards: Aussie Murray Bartlett among Hollywood heavyweight winners

Sydney-born Murray Bartlett is among a host of first-time winners and Hollywood heavyweights at this year’s prestigious 74th Emmy Awards.

Bartlett, who played a hotel manager at a ritzy resort in HBO’s The White Lotus, kicked off the awards night after being named outstanding supporting actor in a limited or anthology series.

“I just want to thank my mum, all the way back home in Australia, for giving me the most wonderful foundation of unconditional love and inspiring me to believe that we can all do that for each other,” a thrilled Bartlett told a packed crowd at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on Tuesday (Australian time).

The White Lotus creator Mike White won best director and writer, then returned for the big prize, accepting the award on stage with his cast for best limited series, beating Dopesick, Inventing Anna and Pam and Tommy.

Jennifer Coolidge and Sheryl Lee Ralph also took home best supporting actress awards for the first time for their roles in The White Lotus and Abbott Elementary respectively.

Amanda Seyfried won best actress in a limited or anthology series for The Dropout for her portrayal of Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced biotech entrepreneur and one-time Silicon Valley rock star convicted of criminal fraud.

“Thanks for recognising me among these amazing actors,” an emotional Seyfried said.

A powerful piano performance by John Legend lead the annual tribute to stars, directors, performers and writers who have died in the past year. They included Betty White, James Caan, Sidney Portier, Ray Liotta and Bob Saget.

Zendaya beat Sandra Oh and Reese Witherspoon for her performance as Rue in Euphoria and veteran Hollywood star Jean Smart won for Hacks.

“I didn’t realise the breadth for the appeal of our show,” she said.

Director Hwang Dong-hyuk won for South Korean drama Squid Game, and thanked the TV Academy for inviting them and “making history here all together”. Lee Jung-jae backed it up with a best actor award.

Best comedy went to Ted Lasso (and Jason Sudeikis won best actor) and the last award of the night for best drama went to Succession, starring Australian actress Sarah Snook.

Better Call Saul went home empty-handed.

Bartlett, an overnight star 35 years in the making

Bartlett, 51, was cast in single episodes on local Australian television productions and short films in the 1990s, including The Flying Doctors and a stint on Neighbours in 1993, and moved to the US in 2000.

“I don’t think I was very good,” he recently told Deadline. “I was terrified when I first started in TV … It was a very intense time.”

He got a gig on Sex and the City and bit parts along the way, finally scoring his role as the outlandish and conniving hotel manager Armond on The White Lotus.

Bartlett thanked director Mike White for “one of the best experiences” of his life, as well as his “phenomenal” cast and crew who bunkered down and filmed the series over a few weeks amid COVID in Hawaii early last year.

Co-star Natasha Rothwell described Bartlett as “just a genius. A genius!”: “To play opposite him and watch him bloom with this role is a sight to behold.”

New and old stars take home awards

Hollywood veteran Michael Keaton landed an Emmy for playing a small-town doctor who becomes addicted to painkillers in Dopesick, as Hollywood stars gathered to toast the best of television.

Keaton starred in the Hulu limited series that turned a spotlight on America’s opioid epidemic.

The actor thanked those in his life who had supported him over the years, despite the fact “I made a fool of myself over and over again”.

Host and Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson promised a festive night to celebrate one of the world’s favourite pastimes, watching television.

“What would we do without television? Read books?” he joked, before joining in with dance numbers to theme songs ranging from classic sitcom Friends to current best drama nominee Stranger Things.

See all the key winners here:

  • Best drama series –  Succession
  • Best comedy series – Ted Lasso
  • Best limited or anthology series – The White Lotus
  • Best comedy actor – Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso
  • Best Comedy actress – Jean Smart, Hacks
  • Best drama actor – Lee Jung-jae, Squid Game
  • Best drama actress – Zendaya, Euphoria
  • Best actor, limited series or movie – Michael Keaton, Dopesick
  • Best actress, limited series or movie – Amanda Seyfried, The Dropout
  • Best supporting actor, limited series or movie – Murray Bartlett, The White Lotus
  • Best supporting actress, limited series or movie – Jennifer Coolidge, The White Lotus
  • Best supporting actor,  comedy series – Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso
  • Best supporting actress, comedy series – Sheryl Lee Ralph, Abbott Elementary
  • Best supporting actor, drama series – Matthew MacFadyen, Succession
  • Best supporting actress, drama series – Julia Garner, Ozark
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