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Actors sound off on the 69th Emmys red carpet about the increased visibility of women behind Hollywood’s closed doors.
USA TODAY

The Emmy Awards has always been an awards show that thrived on its own predictability. Beloved shows repeat in the same categories year after year, the same stars walk the red carpet and the show runs longer than its allotted time.

At the 69th Primetime Emmys Sunday, the awards had to be a bit unpredictable, whether the TV Academy liked it or not. Game of Thrones, which has been an Emmy favorite since it debuted in 2011 and won the outstanding drama series award for the past two years, wasn’t eligible due to its summer start date.

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Coupled with the sheer number of new series entering the fray, the races became a little more exciting, and new and diverse voices found themselves onstage accepting awards. And even when playing it safe, the TV Academy mostly picked strong winners. When there’s this much talent on the screens, it’s hard to go wrong. 

The winners for leading comedy actor and actress highlighted the duality of this year’s awards. Donald Glover, one of the most intriguing new voices in the room, won for his auteur series, FX’s Atlanta, making him a welcome addition to the roster of winners. But for the sixth consecutive time, Julia Louis-Dreyfus won for her performance in HBO’s Veep, a record number of wins for the same role. She continues to do great work, but it would have been nice to see Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) or Pamela Adlon (Better Things) break through.  

Veep also took the award for best comedy for the third year running. In his acceptance speech, executive producer David Mandel recognized that the series is on its way out (HBO has announced a seventh and final season for 2018). Perhaps Atlanta will have a better chance after Veep‘s finale. 

But in the three biggest awards of the night, the Television Academy got it unquestionably right.

Sterling K. Brown, who won last year in the limited series category for The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, added another Emmy to his shelf for best actor in a drama for his…