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Emmys 2019: Inside All the Hottest Pre-Parties

It’s (Emmys) party time!

Before the 71st annual Emmys go live on Sunday, stars and execs are keeping busy by party-hopping in the days leading up to the big show.

Here, Variety gives you the inside details on who was where and what they were doing. Keep checking back right here throughout the weekend for all the latest news about the hottest parties.

Saturday, 9.21

Showtime Emmy Eve Party

The “Schitt’s Creek” gang was out in force on Saturday at Showtime’s Emmy Eve gathering that packed the patio area at San Vicente Bungalows in West Hollywood.

The entire Rose clan — Dan Levy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara and Annie Murphy — made the rounds at the party collecting compliments for defying the odds and earning a best comedy series nomination for the show that airs on Pop, which is now part of Showtime Networks. Partygoers were amused to see Dan Levy and Andrew Scott (aka “Fleabag’s” Hot Priest) enjoying a lively conversation.

Sacha Baron Cohen left the prosthetic makeup at home and held court in a far corner of the gathering with others from his bizarro undercover prank series “Who Is America,” which is nommed for sketch comedy series.

Patricia Arquette was pretty in pink — a salmon pink long gown as she cordoned off the “Escape at Dannemora” cheering section. Director Ben Stiller and co-stars Paul Dano and Eric Lange enjoyed a quick reunion with no bars in sight other than those supplying drinks. Don Cheadle, a nominee for Showtime’s “Black Monday,” palled around with Stiller for a bit. 

Don Cheadle and Bridgid CoulterShowtime Celebrates Emmy Eve party, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 21 Sep 2019
CREDIT: AFF-USA/Shutterstock

Producer Jason Blum was also on hand — an advance scout for next year when his Roger Ailes miniseries “The Loudest Voice” will surely be in the Emmy hunt. 

David Nevins, chief creative officer of CBS Corp. and CEO of Showtime Networks, sought to ease the nerves of nominees by stating the obvious: “Win or lose, your brilliance speaks through your work.” Nevins also had praise for the Showtime and Pop programming staff, thanking them for putting in the hard work to “make the shows matter in the public imagination.” 

Others spotted in the crowd were Stephen Colbert and “Late Show” executive producer Chris Licht (who are also behind Showtime’s animated series “Our Cartoon President”), Pop president Bradley Schwartz, “L Word: Generation Q” stars Leisha Hawley and Katherine Moenning, “Black Monday’s” Regina Hall, “City on Hill’s” Aldis Hodge and actor David Oyelowo. —Cynthia Littleton

Comedy Central’s Emmys Party

Comedy Central paid tribute to its Emmy nominees — “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and “Drunk History” — at the stylish rooftop spot The Highlight Room in Hollywood.

One early arrival to the party was comedian Anthony Jeselnik, who just two weeks prior launched his own Comedy Central series, “Good Talk with Anthony Jeselnik.” Jeselnik was spotted chatting with Richard Kind, the celebrated comedic actor who recently made multiple appearances on the network’s “The Other Two” and the Emmy-nominated IFC series “Documentary Now!”

Also in attendance were “SNL” cast members Sasheer Zamata, Heidi Gardner, and Kyle Mooney. “Drunk History’s” Derek Waters attended as well, while Roy Wood Jr, Jaboukie Young-White, Dulce Sloan, Desi Lydic, and Michael Kosta were there representing “The Daily Show.” Other stars at the party included Nicole Byer, Erinn Hayes, Jeff Ross, Lil Rel, and Drew Tarver.

Nina West and Jackie TohnComedy Central Pre-Emmy Party, The Highlight Room, Los Angeles, USA - 21 Sep 2019
CREDIT: Rob Latour/Variety/Shutterstock

Guests were treated to cocktails themed for the two Emmy-nominated shows, namely the vodka-based “Your Moment of Zen” and the “Olden Times Fashioned.” They were available at any of the three open bars at the party and were also carried throughout the room by the helpful waitstaff.

Food was also plentiful at the party, with the build your own poke bowl station proving to be a hit. Guests were able to stock up on their choice of tuna, salmon, and tofu. There was also a street taco station stocked with carne asada and chicken along with sautéed mushrooms as a vegetarian option. A variety of fingers foods were circulated throughout the night, with options including sushi, chicken skewers, and beef sliders. —Joe Otterson

AMC Networks Emmy Brunch

The AMC Emmys brunch at Cecconi’s in West Hollywood kicked off in style with “Better Call Saul” actor and nominee Giancarlo Esposito waltzing through the door, fanning himself vigorously with a stylish black-and-white fedora.

Esposito grabbed a cooling drink in the air conditioning, before posing for photos with his “Saul” co-stars Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks and Patrick Fabians.

When asked if he prepared a speech should he be the lucky winner come Sunday, Esposito leant in close and said “spontaneity is my thing.”

“I plan to be spontaneous, I intend to spread a message of love and life, and say how lucky we are to all work together,” he continued. “It’s only 45 seconds, not a lot of time, if I win I’ll start delivering my speech from my seat.”

Esposito revealed he received a letter from the Television Academy saying the idea for this year’s ceremony and speeches is to be “more free form,” a change which he embraces. On the forthcoming, highly secretive “Breaking Bad” film “El Camino,” Esposito was keeping his cards as close to his chest as creator Vince Gilligan.

“Well I knew a little bit about it, but not much,” he said. “Vince didn’t tell us anything, they kept it completely hush hush.”

Attendees had to wait until the party’s second hour for the grand arrival of “Killing Eve” stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, who immediately formed a triangle with fellow co-star and nominee Fiona Shaw for a proper catch up.

Shaw then split off into an animated conversation with BBC America president and general manager Sarah Barnett, who is no doubt hoping, along with everyone else present, that “Killing Eve” can translate several of its nominations into wins.

Speaking of wins, “State of the Union” star Chris O’Dowd, who carried home a golden statuette at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards last weekend, was greeted with celebratory flailing arms and a wide grin by AMC president and CEO Josh Sapan.

As the party wound down, Odenkirk slid out the front door and was met right outside the venue by a crowd of roughly a dozen fans. The actor stopped for a few signatures and selfies before making his way off into the West Hollywood sunshine with a wave. —Will Thorne

Michael McKean, Sarah Barnett and Bob OdenkirkAMC Networks Emmy Brunch, Inside, Cecconi's, Los Angeles, USA - 21 Sep 2019
CREDIT: Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutters

BAFTA Los Angeles + BBC America TV Tea Party

The British are coming!

To party!

BAFTA Los Angeles and BBC America hosted its annual pre-Emmy soiree poolside at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where the afternoon buffet included cucumber sandwiches, open face coronation curry chicken salad sandwiches and bite-size quiche Lorraine. The most amusing menu items? The “Game of Scones” spread.

There were tea stations and a Ketel One bar.

Sandra Oh and Jodie ComerBAFTA LA TV Tea Party, Arrivals, The Beverly Hilton, Los Angeles, USA - 21 Sep 2019
CREDIT: John Salangsang/Shutterstock

Sandra Oh told Variety that her parents will not be her guests tomorrow as they were at last year’s Emmys. Instead, she’s bringing her sister.

Oh’s “Killing Eve” co-star and fellow nominee Jodie Comer insisted she didn’t prepare a speech in case she wins. “You always think about these moments but the women in that category are just so incredible,” she told Variety.

Comer also revealed that she wants to meet Bruce Springsteen tomorrow. She’s hoping The Boss will be in attendance since his “Springsteen on Broadway” won Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special at the Creative Arts Emmys.

Inside the party, Netflix boss Ted Sarandos chatted with Ava DuVernay after she spent some time catching up with stars of “When They See Us.” Later, a woman was brought to tears when she met DuVernary.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Nina West posed for photos with a group of young men and women called the “BAFTA swimmers” when they walked the red carpet in t-shirts and bathing suits.

“Chernobyl” star Jared Harris posed with “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s” Rufus Sewell for a photo taken by Harris’s wife Allegra Riggio.

Natasha Lyonne hit the carpet for some pics and tried to rush by the press, but Variety was able to snag a few minutes with her. “This is such a bounty. Who knew?” the Russian Doll creator and star said. “How mind-blowing, the whole thing. So I’m very grateful. I’m genuinely grateful. I’m in awe that this is all happening. It took 35 years but it was worth it.” —Marc Malkin

Creative Coalition Gala

“When They See Us” actor Asante Blackk was the first to arrive to the event at Ocean Prime in Beverly Hills. Dressed all white, he posed with the banner advertising The Creative Coalition’s #RightToBearArts campaign before taking a moment to praise The Creative Coalition’s 2019 gala honorees Henry Winkler, Patricia Arquette, Anthony Carrigan, Bethenny Frankel and Terry Crews. Each honoree was honored for their philanthropic and charitable endevors: Winkler for his advocacy work relating to dyslexia, Arquette for her organization GiveLove, Carrigan for his work with the Children’s Alopecia Project, Frankel for her work with B Strong and Crews for his work with Polaris.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 21: (L-R) Bethenny Frankel, Henry Winkler, Patricia Arquette, Anthony Carrigan, Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk and Terry Crews as The Creative Coalition Presents The Television Humanitarian Awards Luncheon Gala at Ocean Prime on September 21, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for The Creative Coalition)
CREDIT: Getty Images for The Creative Co

“Terry Crews. I love him. I’m so excited to see him,” Blackk told Variety.  “[He] is just the embodiment of what it means to be a black actor in Hollywood. He’s not afraid to tell the truth.”

Also hitting the carpet were “Mad Men” actor Harry Hamlin, ‘Ellen Wong of “Glow” and “The Act’s” AnnaSophia Robb, who presented Arquette with her award. “I’m so proud of the work that she does,” Robb said. “She told me about [GiveLove] when we were working together [on ‘The Act’]. She went to Haiti and asked the people, ‘What do you need?’ and problem-solved herself and researched the method of creating sustainable futures for these communities.”

Inside the party, Winkler was inside saying ‘yes’ to selfie requests. He posed with “Gotham” actor Richard Kind before taking selfies with Cameo head of music partnerships Mat Devine.

Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk opened the ceremony with a speech before inviting the gala’s masters of ceremonies Jeffrey Ross to the stage.  Each of the presenters — “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actress Stephanie Beatriz, “Pose” co-creator Ryan Murphy, “Goliath” actress Olivia Thirlby, Robb, and KTLA anchor Sam Rubin — took the stage. —Lorraine Wheat

Wanderluxxe Diversity Luncheon

“When They See Us” nominees Niecy Nash, Asante Blackk and composer Kris Bowers took center stage (and the center tables) during Wanderluxxe’s 2nd annual pre-Emmy luncheon celebrating diversity in the industry. 

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 21: _ _ seen at 2019 Wanderluxxe Pre-Emmy Diversity Luncheon at Craig's Restaurant on September 21, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Arnold Turner/A.T. Archives)
CREDIT: Photo by Arnold Turner/ATA

“Well you know it’s always good to be celebrated by people who look like you, how bout that? Let’s start there,” Nash told Variety. 

Nash floated into the event — hosted at Craig’s in West Hollywood — greeting friends, including Tichina Arnold (the event’s host), Gabrielle Dennis, and Sheryl Lee Ralph. The party was just one stop in a long line of celebrations for the actress, who earned her third nomination for Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Television Movie — joking that “champagne” is the key to making it through all of the weekend’s parties. But Nash acknowledged that this nod is extra special since it’s her first nomination for a dramatic role. 

“I’m extremely happy,” she explained. “People were polite, but they did tell me I have a lane. But now I’m double dipping – I’m all over the place. And so it means a lot to be recognized for how you see yourself.” 

“And then when you talk about the project, ‘When They See Us,’ I’m so happy that it shines the light a little while longer on the men we lovingly call the ‘Exonerated Five,’” she continued, noting that the men formerly called the ‘Central Park Five’ will be on hand to celebrate at the Emmys as guests.

But that doesn’t mean Nash is giving up the comedic side of her persona for good, telling reporters “it’s time to do something funny; I’ve been crying for a whole year I feel like. Time to go back to my roots.”

For Blackk, he’s follows up on “When They See Us’s” success (the Netflix series ultimately earned 16 Emmy nominations, including his Supporting Actor nod) with a secretive role on “This Is Us.” 

“I mean I’ve been a fan of the show since like the first season of watching them for a while. So as soon as they said they wanted me to read for, um, for the character that I’m glad I was all in, all in and I’m so excited. I mean the cast is amazing,” Blackk told Variety, admitting it was hard to keep the role a secret. “People were trying to figure out what I was doing next and everything. It’s still kinda hard because I can’t say exactly what my character is, but you’ll find out Tuesday.” 

The young star is all suited up and ready to go for Sunday night’s awards, where he says he’s most excited to meet Bill Hader. “He’s so good in ‘Barry.’” 

“Black-ish” star Marsai Martin and “Top Model’s” Miss J sat together at the intimate luncheon, as guests sipped Whispering Angel rose or cocktails presented by Ciroc or Casa Noble and enjoyed the three-course, sit down family-style brunch and award ceremony. –Angelique Jackson

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 21: _ _ seen at 2019 Wanderluxxe Pre-Emmy Diversity Luncheon at Craig's Restaurant on September 21, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Arnold Turner/A.T. Archives)
CREDIT: Photo by Arnold Turner/ATA

Thursday, 9.19

Audi Celebrates the 71st Emmys

Audi, the official automotive partner for the Emmys, kicked off party weekend with its annual cocktail reception celebrating outstanding talent in television with guests including Milo Ventimiglia (“This is Us”), Jean-Marc Vallée (“Big Little Lies”), Lakeith Stanfield (“Atlanta”), Laura Dern (“Big Little Lies”), Marti Noxon (“Sharp Objects”) and Elizabeth Banks.

“I honestly wouldn’t have made the movie without Kristen (Stewart),” “Charlie’s Angels” director and writer Banks told Variety on the red carpet outside the Sunset Tower. “She had to be in the movie. I think she absolutely represents just what young modern women want out of their life, which is to live authentically and just be herself and she is one of the finest actresses of her generation, so I needed her in the movie. She was the blessing for me.”

And of the recently released single “Don’t Call Me Angel” from the “Charlie’s Angels” soundtrack — a collaboration with Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey and Miley Cyrus, Banks added, “Those girls are literally my dream girls. Them and the angels, the six of them are my six favorite women in the whole world, after my mom.”

Though Banks was promoting her upcoming “Charlie’s Angels” (in theaters in November), she told reporters she had been encouraged by efforts made to advance gender equity in the television industry. “What I am loving is that statistics for women in TV are really improving and we are actually nearing parity when it comes to roles for women on television and I think that is really exciting,” Banks told Variety.

Of being nominated for best limited series, “Sharp Objects” executive producer Noxon told Variety, “It’s fun to be celebrated. It’s so crazy that television has gone from being the sideshow to feeling more like the main event. It really is great to have my career span all of those different eras. I remember when we were afraid of ‘Dateline’ because we thought scripted television was dead because of ‘Dateline.’ It’s good to be persistent.”

“Pose” producer and writer Our Lady J told Variety that she was thrilled by the show’s groundbreaking six Emmys nominations. “It’s extraordinary,” Lady J said. “I’m really excited and I’m really nervous but mainly really excited to show up with the ‘Pose’ family and see everyone. It’s really hard to get a show like ‘Pose’ on the air, a show that has broken so many barriers and is historic is so many ways, but to have it acknowledged by the Academy is just really extraordinary. I’m really grateful that the Academy acknowledges all the work that we put into it.”

“13 Reasons Why” star Anne Winters discussed the backlash that co-star Grace Saif received on social media after her new character was introduced in the show’s third season. “I know she deleted her Instagram,” Winters told Variety. “Everyone is filming right now and I haven’t been in touch with them. But when I go back up there, I’m definitely going to have a chat with her and talk to her. But she seems to be wanting to get away from it all so I want to give her space. But it’s funny because our show is about anti-bullying and everyone was bullying somebody. It’s like guys, what is going on? It’s hard for a show that’s such a big thing with a new character. Everyone fell really in love with Hannah. It’s hard. It takes some getting used to but I feel like everyone should have an open mind and see what we are trying to tell a story about and we needed her to tell that story.” —Ashley Hume

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19: Milo Ventimiglia attends the Audi pre-Emmy celebration at Sunset Tower in Hollywood on Thursday, September 19, 2019. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Audi)
CREDIT: Getty Images for Audi

The Television Academy and the Producers Peer Group Celebration

Megan Amram didn’t win an Emmy at last week’s Creative Arts awards, but she’s not giving up yet. The writer, comedian and star of her twice-nominated short-form series “An Emmy for Megan” attended the Television Academy producers peer group’s nominee reception on Thursday evening, and revealed that she’s still leaning toward producing a third season.

“When I lost, everyone was instantly so excited because, ‘she has to do a Season 3,'” Amram told Variety. “I don’t want to stop what I started, but I’m exhausted and I’m broke. But I feel like I am going to have to do a Season 3. It might be a hard pivot, though, into trying to win for prosthetics or something… By the time I hopefully win an Emmy one day, they’re going to have to say, ‘The winner is Megan Amram, who has been nominated 27 times.’ I’m going for the Susan Lucci.”

Amram was one of dozens of this year’s Emmy-nominated producers who attended the event, held in a ballroom at the 1 Hotel West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip. Certificates were handed out to nominees from shows such as “Game of Thrones,” “Chernobyl” and “When They See Us,” while guests dined on freshly made pasta, a huge charcuterie board, and passed around appetizers such as beef skewers and truffle crème honey toast.

Nominees spotted at the reception included Ben Winston and Rob Crabbe (“Late Late Show With James Corden”), Carolyn Strauss (“Chernobyl,” “Deadwood: The Movie” and “Game of Thrones”), David Mandel (“Veep”) and Sherry Marsh (“Pose”).

As attendees mingled, hot topics ranged from Hollywood’s obsession with the HBO series “Succession” to the ongoing stalemate between the Writers Guild and the Association of Talent Agents.

John Ziffren, Marti Noxon, Jessica Rhoades, Emmanuelle Vaugier. Television Academy Producers Peer Group Governor John Ziffren, left, with Emmy Nominees for Outstanding Limited Series for "Sharp Objects," Marti Noxon, second from left, Jessica Rhoades and Emmanuelle Vaugier at the 2019 Producers Nominee Reception, in West Hollywood, Calif2019 Producers Nominee Reception, West Hollywood, USA - 19 Sep 2019
CREDIT: Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

“I take my membership in the guild really seriously and so I really believe we will and have to reach a compromise,” said “Sharp Objects” executive producer Marti Noxon.

Meanwhile, “Drunk History” star and executive producer Derek Waters simply exhaled as a long Emmy campaign season drew to a close. “Anytime you’re doing something, to fight to just be acknowledged is great,” he said of this year’s FYC battle, which included a unique live reading of a “Drunk History” episode that Waters staged with stars including Evan Rachel Wood and Seth Rogen. “You do what you feel is the best to get the word out and you go with it.”  —Michael Schneider

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