Quinta Brunson and Ayo Edibiri snag early wins at long-delayed Emmys

Quinta Brunson won best actress in a comedy at the Emmy Awards for the show she created, “Abbott Elementary”, becoming the first Black woman to win the award in more than 40 years and the first from a network show to win it in more than a decade.

“I love making ‘Abbott Elementary’ so much and I am so happy to be able to live my dream and act out comedy,” Brunson said from the stage at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards, fighting back tears. The writer-actor was among the stars with standout looks on the Emmys’ silver carpet.

Other early winners included Matthew Macfadyen for “Succession”, Jennifer Coolidge for “The White Lotus” and Ayo Edibiri and Ebon Moss-Bachrach for “The Bear”. 

Brunson had won a writing Emmy for her mockumentary about a predominantly Black and chronically underfunded grade school in Philadelphia, but this is her first for acting. Isabel Sanford of “The Jeffersons” was the only previous Black woman to win the category in 1981.

With a major role that got her a Golden Globe as a lead actor just eight days earlier, Edebiri became the first winner to take the stage at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles, claiming her first career Emmy with her first nomination at age 28.

On FX’s “The Bear”, she played Sydney Adamu, a striving chef who attempts to help Jeremy Allen White’s Carmie to turn a Chicago sandwich shop into an elite restaurant. 

“This is a show about family and found family and real family,” Edibiri said from the stage in her acceptance. 

Another member of the “Bear” family, Moss-Bachrach won best supporting actor in a comedy. 

All the nominees had to wait an extra four months to find out if they had won when the show was delayed over Hollywood’s writers and actors strikes. The tweaked calendar meant that Edibiri won the Emmy for the show’s first season after winning her Golden Globe for the second season. 

Macfadyen won the first Emmy of the night for “Succession” and the second of his career for playing Tom Wambsgans, the son-in-law that began the HBO series as a hanger-on and ended it as the closest thing it had to a victor.

“Succession” came into the night the consensus favourite in top drama categories, including best actor, best actress and best series. 

Coolidge, the only cast member among the cursed vacationers of HBO’s “The White Lotus” to return for season two, won her second Emmy for best supporting actress in a drama.

Coolidge and her character Tanya gained an even greater cult following for the second season’s Italian storyline as she did for its Hawaiian first. The role was nearly a lead this time, but all of the “White Lotus” cast members were nominated in supporting categories, including five of them in Coolidge’s category.

Emotions ran high from the start of the ceremony with first presenter, Christina Applegate, who said in 2021 that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, got a standing ovation as she came out using a cane to present the award, and was tearful as she announced the winners.

Host Anthony Anderson has opened an atypical Emmys in Mr Rogers mode, walking on to a living room set and changing out of a flowing fur coat into a black tuxedo coat.

“Welcome to Mr Anderson’s neighbourhood on this beautiful MLK Day,” Anderson said from the stage of the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles at the start of the Fox telecast.

He then sat at the piano and led a small choir through TV theme songs including “Good Times” and “The Facts of Life”, whose characters Tootie and Mrs Garrett were objects of his crushes.