Emmys’ top three moments, from Squid Game to Zendaya

American actress Zendaya accepts the award for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series for Euphoria at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards. PHOTO: REUTERS

1. Everybody loves Zendaya

The American actress was undoubtedly the biggest star of the night, and not just because of her historic win as the youngest and first black woman to be awarded Lead Actress in a Drama Series twice.

Aside from the fans on social media who were gushing over her, even other celebrities at the ceremony were going gaga over the Euphoria star, who first won for the show in 2020.

While presenting the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series, actress Hannah Einbinder from the comedy drama Hacks confessed to co-star Jean Smart that she only agreed to go up on stage so that “she gets a better view of Zendaya”.

Emmy host Kenan Thompson from skit series Saturday Night Live could not resist taking a dig when he informed the audience that Zendaya, who plays a teenager in the teen drama Euphoria, is in her mid-20s.

“Zendaya just turned 26, happy birthday,” he deadpans. “26 is a weird age in Hollywood. Young enough to play a high school student, but too old to date Leonardo DiCaprio.”

2. Squid Game sideshow

South Korean actor Lee Jung-jae (left) and actress Jung Ho-yeon re-enact a famous scene from Squid Game as they arrived onstage to present the award for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series during the 74th Emmy Awards. PHOTO: AFP

Historic wins aside, hit South Korean series Squid Game also made quite a splash during the show.

When cast members Lee Jung-jae and Jung Ho-yeon went up on stage to present the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series award, they re-enacted one of the show’s most famous scenes.

Under the watchful eye of Squid Game’s creepy giant doll and masked jumpsuit-wearing henchmen, the pair played the “Red Light, Green Light” game, moving only when the lights turned green.

Several audience members were even dressed like the show’s VIP players, their faces hidden behind gold animal masks.

3. Sheryl Lee Ralph’s stirring acceptance speech

American actress Sheryl Lee Ralph broke out into song while accepting the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Abbott Elementary at the 74th Emmy Awards. PHOTO: REUTERS

It was hard not to be moved by the American actress’ Outstanding Supporting Actress victory for her role in sitcom Abbott Elementary.

She kicked off by belting out a portion of the song Endangered Species by jazz icon Dianne Reeves: “I am an endangered species/But I sing no victim’s song/I am a woman I am an artist/And I know where my voice belongs.”

Addressing the audience, who gave her a standing ovation, Ralph, 65, delivered a rousing, impassioned speech extolling the virtues of perseverence.

“Anyone who has ever, ever had a dream and thought your dream couldn’t come true, I am here to tell you that this is what believing looks like. This is what striving looks like. And don’t you ever, ever give up on you,” she said. 

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