UPDATED: The Emmys are turning 70, and the Television Academy brought together some of this year’s nominees at NeueHouse Hollywood in Los Angeles to celebrate.
“Are we 70 already? Gosh, I remember the first one like it was yesterday,” Carson Kressley, who was the fashion expert on the original iteration of “Queer Eye,” joked with Variety at the TV Academy’s (platinum) performer peer group celebration on Monday night.
“We’re so lucky to work in TV,” added Kressley, the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” judge, on an uncharacteristically serious note. “It’s really having a renaissance right now and so inclusive and diverse.”
However, the “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” veteran couldn’t resist a jab at the revised Fab Five’s Netflix reboot. “I’m thrilled that they’re nominated, but it was a little more groundbreaking back when we won an Emmy in 2004,” he said.
Kressley clarified his remark in a statement issued Wednesday to People magazine.
“I loved being a part of the original ‘Queer Eye’ and I love the reboot,” he said. “When I said the original was more groundbreaking it only meant that the original aired in an era when there was far less representation of gay people on television. We have come a long way and I am very proud to have passed the torch to the wonderful and talented new cast.”
“Drag Race” star Kameron Michaels praised the progress that has been made, saying, “I never thought I would see drag on TV let alone 12 nominations for Emmys, but we had a sickening season, and RuPaul killed it.”
“I’ve watched the Emmys since the beginning of my life and practiced a little speech because as an actor, who hasn’t?” asked Adina Porter, who is nominated for “American Horror Story: Cult” and will also appear on the upcoming “Apocalypse” season of the show. “I didn’t realize it was 7-0 until I actually became part of it all. My favorite part of the Emmys is ‘In Memorial,’ and now, being nominated, I think, ‘Well, I probably will be in a clip of ‘In Memorial’ when I die.’ Hopefully that won’t be for a long, long time. I’m very happy to be a part of the club.”
Kelly M. Jenrette, a nominee for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is similarly thrilled to join the club. “When I think about the category that I’m in [guest actress in a drama series] — and the women who are in that category — it is just mind-blowing. I feel like I am standing on Cicely Tyson’s shoulders, and that’s why I am able to be here right now talking to you because of the path that Cicely paved. It gives me chills to be in a category with her let alone Dame Diana Rigg, Viola Davis, Cherry Jones, and Samira Wiley. Just to be a part of that legacy of women leaves me speechless.”
Meanwhile, it left the powers that be at Hulu extremely grateful, since “The Handmaid’s Tale” racked up a total of 20 nominations for the streaming service. “They sent me a couple bottles of champagne, and I don’t even drink,” Jenrette said.
One can only imagine what luxurious congratulatory gifts were sent out by Netflix, which reigned supreme with 112 nominations. “It’s the best — and it’s the best to be a part of it,” “Mindhunter” star Cameron Britton said of the streaming service’s sweep. “It’s awkward because I’m in [HBO’s] ‘Barry’ as well, but I’ve worked for Netflix twice now and in my experience, they run the business side and they let the creatives run the creative side. That’s how Roy and Walt Disney did it, and it was incredibly successful for them.”
While actors like Britton and Jenrette are greener on the awards circuit, some nominees, such as ‘Barry’’s Henry Winkler, are older than the award show itself. Ditto for Christina Pickles: “This is the seventh time I’ve been nominated,” the actress said. Ironically, Pickles couldn’t even watch the Emmys, since she grew up in England.
“That was a long time ago — the turn of the century,” she joked. But actress Sarah Drew, who is nominated for her directorial debut on “Grey’s Anatomy: B-Team,” fondly recalls “practicing my speech with a hair brush in my mirror” as a little girl. She’s already got her dress picked out and can’t wait to attend the ceremony next month. “It’s always such a delight to watch everybody walk down the carpet and see all the glamour and the glitz,” said Drew, who played Dr. April Kepner on ABC’s hit medical drama.
Edgar Ramirez and Darren Criss, who portray the iconic designer and his murderer, respectively, in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” which snared 18 nods, worked the carpet in tandem. “It was a huge honor to me because Gianna Versace is someone I admired a lot,” said Ramirez. “We live in a culture that he helped to create, and he was way more than a fashion designer. He was a true social disruptor and cultural force.”
To say that Criss felt honored to land such a meaty role is an understatement, however. “As an actor, it’s nice work if you can get it, right? Like, I’ll work on anything,” admitted Criss. “You don’t always get to work on things that are compelling stories that have value, that have a lot to say, that fascinate you and spark important discussions. That’s the real victory. It’s probably all downhill from here,” the former “Glee” star said.