Streaming giant Netflix dominated the Emmys on Sunday, finally winning television's biggest prizes with "The Crown" and "The Queen's Gambit" and bagging an all-time record-equaling awards haul at a scaled-down ceremony.
Despite transforming the entire TV landscape since it began to create original programming in 2012, Netflix had never won any top series prize before Sunday at the small-screen equivalent of the Oscars. Now, it has two of them.
In the comedy categories, Apple TV+'s "Ted Lasso" was this year's big winner.
Television's top stars gathered in person for the event in Los Angeles for the first time in two years -- it was held at a partially outdoor venue due to ongoing Covid-19 concerns, after a mainly virtual show last fall.
"We're gonna have a party now. I'm lost for words, and I'm very, very grateful," said "The Crown" creator Peter Morgan, dialing in with fellow cast and filmmakers from a remote London satellite hub.
The fourth season of the wildly popular British royal series, which depicted the ill-fated marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, swept the drama awards.
Olivia Colman -- who previously won an Oscar for playing Britain's Queen Anne in "The Favourite" -- scooped best actress for portraying her descendant Queen Elizabeth II.
Colman paid tribute to her father who died during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying he "would have loved all of this."
Josh O'Connor, named best actor for playing Charles, said making the show had been "the most rewarding two years of my life."
"The Crown" also won both supporting actor prizes -- including one for Gillian Anderson for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher -- and awards for best writing and directing.
Its tally including technical awards handed out before Sunday's ceremony came to 11 -- tied this year with "The Queen's Gambit," and one short of the drama record held by "Game of Thrones."
Inspiring 'a whole generation of girls'
The two Netflix shows brought the streaming giant's tally this year to 44 Emmys -- matching a record set by CBS network way back in 1974, when shows like "MAS*H" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" ruled the airwaves.
"The Queen's Gambit" -- about a troubled orphaned girl who storms the world of professional chess -- captivated audiences and sent chessboard sales skyrocketing worldwide as more and more people watched.
"You brought the sexy back to chess, and you inspired a whole generation of girls and young women to realize that patriarchy simply has no defense against our queens," executive producer William Horberg told star Anya Taylor-Joy on stage.
"The one thing that no algorithm can predict and no billion dollar budget can manufacture is word of mouth," he said of the show becoming a global phenomenon.
But the limited series lead actress prize went to Kate Winslet for small-town whodunit detective drama "Mare of Easttown," which also won both limited series supporting acting awards for Julianne Nicholson and Evan Peters.
"I just want to acknowledge my fellow nominees in this decade that has to be about women having each other's backs," said Winslet.
She praised the show's creators for creating "a middle-aged, imperfect, flawed mother... you made us all feel validated, quite honestly."
Ewan McGregor won best limited series actor for fashion designer series "Halston."
- 'Heck of a year' -
Apple TV+ global smash hit "Ted Lasso" won best comedy series and a slew of acting prizes.
Co-creator Bill Lawrence praised the show's "fearless leader" Jason Sudeikis, who won best actor as an out-of-his-depth American football coach handed control of an English soccer team.
"Heck of a year," said Sudeikis. "I would say that this show is about family, this show is about mentors and teachers, this show is about teammates.
"And I wouldn't be here without those three things in my life."
The show also claimed the night's first two awards in comedy for supporting acting.
But it missed out on comedy writing and directing to "Hacks," whose star Jean Smart won best actress for portraying a faded diva scrambling to save her residency in Las Vegas.
Veteran TV star Smart earned a standing ovation and paid an emotional tribute to her actor husband Richard Gilliland, who died six months ago, for "putting his career on the back burner."
- '#EmmysSoWhite' -
The show opened with rappers LL Cool J and Lil Dicky and actress Rita Wilson leading the celebrities in a singalong of late rapper Biz Markie's "Just A Friend," riffing on the year's nominated television shows.
Presented by comedian Cedric the Entertainer and featuring presenters such as the indigenous cast of "Reservation Dogs," the ceremony drew on a diverse range of talents.
But all 12 major acting awards went to white performers, causing some social media users to adopt the hashtag #EmmysSoWhite.
"(S)uper disappointed that we saw so many nominees of color overlooked despite the incredible number of nominees," tweeted one user, Cory Allen.
Released 30 years ago this week, "Nevermind" was a generation-defining milestone that sold 30 million copies and made a tragic icon of Kurt Cobain.
Ranked the most influential band of all time by US magazine Spin last year, Nirvana's ethos continues to reverberate in artists as varied as Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey and Frank Turner.
"Nevermind" was back in the news last month when the man who was photographed when he was a baby for the cover sued the band for sexual exploitation.
He was pictured naked, swimming after a dollar bill on a fish hook, in an image that became another iconic aspect of an album whose lead track "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was ubiquitous across MTV and radio stations around the world.
At the heart of the album's success were the strange contradictions of Cobain, who was torn between apathy and rebellion, sweetness and rage.
Nevermind united musical tribes that had been largely separate -- punk, indie, metal -- and added a pop element that made them accessible to everyone else.
"It's been building up through the years... Nirvana came along and delivered the goods," said Thurston Moore, of fellow grunge outfit Sonic Youth, at the time.
"It was very pop but very honest and very authentic of the whole American punk rock ethic."
In doing so, Nirvana made all the permed-hair, spandex-wearing posturing of 1980s rock look ridiculous.
"It was the album that made hard rock obsolete -- the rock that was popular at the time: superficial, misogynistic, less intense," Charlotte Blum, author of a recent book about the grunge movement, told AFP.
- Reluctant ambition -
Cobain was ambitious, his diaries filled with intricate plans, ruthlessly firing drummers until they found the perfect fit in Dave Grohl (now of the Foo Fighters).
But the quadruple-platinum success of "Nevermind" was a nightmare for his punk-rock ethics.
He was traumatised at the idea that "yuppie scum in BMWs" were listening to Nevermind, and disowned its glossy production.
"I haven't listened to it since we put it out. I can't stand that kind of production," he told biographer Michael Azerrad.
Producer Butch Vig pointed out that Cobain had no problems with it in the studio: "If it had only sold 50,000 copies, he probably wouldn't have had any comments on whether it was too slick."
It ended in tragedy. Cobain's suicide note was a long screed about the torment of "selling out".
But it was Cobain's monomaniacal dedication to the punk cause that gave Nevermind such a ring of authenticity.
Ferocious nursery rhymes
From the immediately catchy riffs of "Come As You Are" and "Lithium" to the quieter anthems of "Polly" and "Something in the Way", the sound was often furious, but the melodies simple -- "like nursery rhymes", Cobain said.
It was down to the fact that Cobain loved not just underground hardcore bands but also The Beatles, Abba and Queen.
This combined with the raw power of Cobain's voice which somehow encapsulated both joyous abandon and tortured adolescence.
Jay-Z said Nevermind was so successful at this that it stalled the rise of hip-hop.
"'Hair bands' dominated the airwaves and rock became more about looks than actual substance and what it stood for: the rebellious spirit of youth," he told Pharrell Williams in his autobiography.
"That's why 'Teen Spirit' rang so loud because it was right on point with how everyone felt.
"Hip-hop was becoming this force, then grunge music stopped it for one second... when Kurt Cobain came with that statement it was like, 'We got to wait awhile.'"
Crucial to the cult around Cobain was his anti-macho politics.
"If you're sexist, racist, a homophobe, or basically an asshole, don't buy this CD. I don't care if you like me, I hate you," he said.
But while Cobain expressed disgust at the apathy of his generation, he also seemed to encapsulate an era marked by the end of the Cold War when political ideologies were dead and it was hard to know where to direct your youthful ennui.
In the end, he chose not activism, but a retreat from stardom, descent into drugs and ultimately suicide.
As the song says -- perhaps in mockery, perhaps in exhausted dejection -- "Oh well, whatever, nevermind."
'White nationalism and white supremacy is now a key ideology of the Republican Party: MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan
MSNBC host Medhi Hasan cited Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who once protested the Republican National Convention because of former President Donald Trump, but now she has gone all in.
Discussing the new GOP conspiracy from "critical race theory" to the "great replacement theory," Hasan explained it's just another opportunity for Republicans to promote white supremacy.
"It's white nationalist propaganda," he said. "It's the kind of thing that led to Hispanics being gunned down in El Paso. It led to Jews being massacred in a synagogue in Pittsburgh. It used to be backed by Trump alone. Now it's Elise Stefanik, who is supposed to be a moderate Republican. In 2016, she didn't show up to the RNC because she objected to Trump. Now she's pushing this nonsense. It tells you, sadly white supremacy is now a key ideology of the Republican Party. It's not white nationalist adjacent. It's part and parcel of the party's views. Number two, there are no moderate Republicans left. When it came to voting rights, Liz Cheney and [Adam] Kinzinger voted against voting rights. Where are the Republicans where the entire party is heading into the arms of neo-Nazis?"
Host Ayman Mohyeldin said that the new litmus test is how close someone is to Trump and it is no longer about core issues.
See the discussion below:
"White nationalism and white supremacy is now a key ideology of the Republican Party" www.youtube.com
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