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AARP’s Top 10 Emmy Moments

Nicole Kidman and Alec Baldwin go home winners, Julia Louis-Dreyfus sets a record

  • Nicole Kidman, winner of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie and Outstanding Limited Series for 'Big Little Lies'
    J. Merritt/Getty Images

    The Power of 50

    In her 50th birthday year, Nicole Kidman finds herself at a career pinnacle. HBO's Big Little Lies  is an extraordinary TV success — she won an Emmy for best actress in a limited series or TV movie — and she’s now starring with another new Emmy winner, Elizabeth Moss, in Top of the Lake. Her summer Civil War drama The Beguiled won the best director award at Cannes and her next film, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, also well received at Cannes, has some Oscar rumbles.

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  • Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and the case and crew accept the outstanding limited series award for 'Big Little Lies'
    Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

    Women's Work

    The veteran actresses and best friends who brought the novel Big Little Lies to HBO — Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon — had a spectacular night as the show, based on Lianne Moriarity’s best-selling novel about domestic and sexual abuse, was honored as best limited series. As a group of presenters, all five of the women — who were part of the series — were showstoppers; as leaders of a company of winners, the two stars spoke of friendship and making more shows with roles for women. Laura Dern and Kidman, both 50, went on to win awards for their acting: Dern for her supporting role and Kidman for her lead role.

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  • Host Stephen Colbert performs at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards
    Phil McCarten/Invision/AP

    Winner and Loser

    Stephen Colbert, 53, may have lost the Emmy to John Oliver in two categories, but he was a winner nonetheless, thanks to an inspired opening sequence that entertainingly took viewers to task for putting television ahead of more important ideas. And he kept up the fun with creative bits within the three-hour show. Is there no show he can't host? Watch out, Neil Patrick Harris.                                  

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  • Ann Dowd accepts the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
    Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

    Emmy's Upset Victory

    A stunned Ann Dowd, 61, won her first Emmy for Hulu's The Handmaid’s Tale. “I’ve been acting for a long time, and that this could happen now — I don’t have words,” she said. Director Lynn Shelton, 51, tweeted the hashtag #anndowdjustmademecry. Dowd’s breakthrough role was 2012’s Compliance, for which she earned $1,600. She borrowed $13,000 to put herself on the awards map and nabbed nominations for a Critics’ Choice Award, AARP Movies for Grownups award and an Emmy (for HBO’s The Leftovers).

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  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus holds her Emmy's for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series and outstanding comedy series
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

    Perpetual Emmy Winner

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 56, set a record by winning her sixth acting Emmy for Veep, beating the five Candice Bergen, now 71, won for Murphy Brown. She actually has 11 Emmys: six acting wins for Veep, one each for Seinfeld and The New Adventures of Old Christine, and three producing Emmys for Veep. Her eight acting Emmys ties her with Cloris Leachman, 91. She deserves every award, plus her 24 nominations. But … can somebody new win next time?

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  • Alec Baldwin accepts the award for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for 'Saturday Night Live'
    Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP

    SNL's Favorite President

    Alec Baldwin, 59, has been everywhere this year — with a book, a game show, even a cool podcast. But his wig-wearing Twitter-obsessed characterization of Donald Trump helped make it Saturday Night Live’s year, too. Baldwin and his SNL compadre Kate McKinnon won for their performances. And the show, which heads into its 43rd season (all under the helm of its creator-producer, Lorne Michaels, 72), was named outstanding variety sketch series — its 64th overall win.

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  • Laura Dern accepts the award for outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie for 'Big Little Lies'
    Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

    Her Favorite Year

    Earning an Emmy after six nominations isn't the only good thing that's happened to Laura Dern lately. She's in the Oscar-hopeful movie Downsizing, by Alexander Payne, 56; the reboot of Twin Peaks, by David Lynch, 71; the film JT LeRoy; and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Asked backstage at the Emmys why her 50th year was so great, she said:  “Great directors I consider my family. It’s about finding your tribe and sticking with it.”                               

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  • Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda
    Phil McCarten/Invision/AP

    '9 to 5' Stars Return

    Dolly Parton, 71, didn't look entirely comfortable about the stinging political comments made by Lily Tomlin, 78, and Jane Fonda, 79, her left-leaning costars from the 1980 hit 9 to 5. But they all had a ball presenting Alexander Skarsgard an Emmy for Big Little Lies. “Personally, I have been waiting for a 9 to 5 reunion ever since we did the first one,” Parton said cheerfully.                              

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  • Anika Noni Rose and Cicely Tyson
    Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

    Emmy Gets in Touch With Its 'Roots'

    Cicely Tyson, 92, is an entertainment legend who starred in the historic television miniseries Roots 40 years ago. The  actress got a respectful standing ovation from the audience when she stepped onto the stage to present the award for outstanding limited series or miniseries, which went to Big Little Lies. When Tyson grew nervous and had trouble at the start, copresenter Anika Noni Rose, 45, leaned in to help, earning kudos for her grace on social media.

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  • Norman Lear and Carol Burnett present the award for outstanding comedy series
    Phil McCarten/Invision/AP

    Titans of TV Comedy

    Carol Burnett, 84, and Norman Lear, 95, reminded the crowd that they are still working — both with new series on Netflix. Lear’s update of One Day at a Time is already available on Netflix, and Burnett, whose The Carol Burnett Show debuted 50 years ago, starts shooting a new unscripted variety series for the streaming service in September. “Laughter adds time to our lives, and no one has added more time to my life than this woman,” Lear said of Burnett.

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