Politics center stage as ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ sweeps Emmys

Actor Elisabeth Moss, winner of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ poses in the press room during the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (AFP)
Updated 18 September 2017
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Politics center stage as ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ sweeps Emmys

LOS ANGELES: Television’s glittering Emmys placed politics front and center on Sunday, lavishing “The Handmaid’s Tale” with awards for its bleak portrait of an authoritarian America.
The glitzy ceremony in downtown Los Angeles — the first under the administration of President Donald Trump — was widely expected to have a strongly political flavor, and host Stephen Colbert set the tone in his opening monologue.
“However you feel about the president, and you do feel about the president, you can’t deny that every show was influenced by Donald Trump in some way,” he said.
“All the late night shows, obviously, ‘House of Cards,’ the new season of ‘American Horror Story.’“
Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and HBO minizeries “Big Little Lies” were the big winners, with five statuettes each.
“Big Little Lies” cast members Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Alexander Skarsgard all took home Emmys, along with director Jean-Marc Vallee. It also won outstanding limited series.
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu’s acclaimed series based on the 1985 novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, won awards for writing and directing as well as the biggest prize of the night — outstanding drama series.
Ann Dowd, picking up her first Emmy at age 61 for her portrayal of brutal instructor Aunt Lydia, spoke of how her award was “a dream” while outstanding lead actress Elisabeth Moss turned the air blue with an expletive strewn acceptance speech.
Hulu will have the most to celebrate as the post-show parties get started, stealing a march on rival streaming platform Netflix, which won just four statuettes all evening.
On a night that rewarded ethnic diversity, Sterling K. Brown picked up lead actor in a drama for “This is Us” while Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe, Riz Ahmed and Donald Glover also made it to the podium.
But politics was always going to be the story of the awards from the moment John Lithgow picked up the first one: best supporting actor in a drama for his acclaimed turn as Winston Churchill in Netflix’s British royal drama “The Crown.”
“In these crazy times his life even as an old man reminds us what leadership and courage in government really looks like,” the US actor said.
NBC’s long-running comedy sketch show “Saturday Night Live” went into Emmys week with 22 nominations — the joint-highest total alongside “Westworld” — after a year of mercilessly spoofing the new commander-in-chief.
Its haul of five Creative Arts statuettes included outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for Melissa McCarthy, whose “Unhinged Spicey” take on Sean Spicer came to embody early criticism of the administration.
The former White House press secretary, whose full-throated defense of Trump earned him derision on television, delighted his former tormentors in a surprise appearance at the opening of the show.


SNL took four statuettes, with Kate McKinnon tearfully accepting the award for best supporting actress in a comedy series for her portrayal of Hillary Clinton.
She told reporters backstage that the role had been “the greatest honor of my life” and talked of the “special kind of electricity” on set every week.
Alec Baldwin was tapped as best supporting actor in a comedy for his Trump impersonation.
“I suppose I should say at long last, Mr.President, here is your Emmy,” he joked, in a dig at Trump’s oft-stated annoyance at never having won a statuette for NBC reality show “The Apprentice” or its celebrity spin-off.
The show also picked up the award for best variety sketch show and outstanding directing.
Elsewhere in the comedy stakes, the 33-year-old Glover took home a brace of statuettes for directing and starring in the FX comedy series “Atlanta.”
The award caps a huge year for Glover, who already has two Golden Globes for the show, focused on the Georgia capital’s rap scene.
Glover got a loud cheer when he took to the stage and thanked Trump for “making black people number one on the most oppressed list.”
British funnyman Charlie Brooker also picked up two Emmys for writing and producing “San Junipero,” a feature-length episode of the dark comedy series “Black Mirror.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, in one of the least surprising announcements of the night, won her sixth consecutive Emmy for playing hapless ex-president Selena Meyer in HBO’s “Veep,” which also won best comedy series.

The network’s fantasy epic “Game of Thrones” has a record 38 awards, but was ineligible for the 69th Primetime Emmys, having started its seventh season too late.
That left the field open for several much talked-about first-timers, including HBO sci-fi Western show “Westworld,” and Netflix’s 1980s-set horror series “Stranger Things.”
Neither was able to add to their five Creative Arts Emmys, however.
Perennial favorite HBO led the networks with 10 Emmys. Next were NBC (six), Hulu (five), Netflix (four) and FX (two).


Muslim soccer fans celebrate Eid in World Cup host country Russia

Updated 15 June 2018
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Muslim soccer fans celebrate Eid in World Cup host country Russia

  • Egyptian and Moroccan fans were hopeful that the festival would bring their national teams good luck in their matches on the day — which nearly transpired for Egypt but for a late, late goal from the Uruguayans.
  • The Egyptian team, staying in a hotel in Yekaterinburg, invited the imam of the city’s Copper Mosque to hold an Eid service in the conference room of their hotel.

YEKATERINBURG, Russia: Muslim soccer fans visiting Russia for the World Cup celebrated the end of the fasting month of Ramadan on Friday, with Egyptian and Moroccan fans hoping the festival would bring their national teams good luck in their matches on the day — which nearly transpired for Egypt but for a late, late goal from the Uruguayans.
“We’re all happy. Our happiness is double now because we are celebrating Eid and celebrating Egypt’s first match in the World Cup,” said Khadi Osman, 27, from Cairo, in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg for the game.
Osman, who’d used Google maps to locate the nearest mosque to the World Cup stadium, said he would slip in a special prayer for the team’s star player, Mohamed Salah, during his Eid Al-Fitr celebration prayers.
“We’re not looking for the final or anything but we’re hoping good luck – good play, a good match. It’s something big to us. We will pray for our team to win, God willing,” Osman said.
In the early afternoon on Friday about a dozen Egypt supporters in their red, white and black soccer kit, some with the national flag draped over their shoulders, joined worshippers at a low-slung, green corrugated mosque tucked inconspicuously near Yekaterinburg’s city center.
While locals welcomed them politely, the imam made no reference to the foreign guests as he launched into an address in Russian that focused on behavior and personal hygiene when entering a mosque.
An Egyptian fan in Yekaterinburg, who had risen early to attend a 5 a.m. service at the mosque, said he received a warm welcome from the hosts.
“It’s very strange, it’s the first time to celebrate in a foreign country. So it was a bit different but it was good to find this number of (local) Muslims here in the mosque,” said Ahmed El-Sakka.
The Egyptian team, staying in a hotel in Yekaterinburg, invited the imam of the city’s Copper Mosque to hold an Eid service in the conference room of their hotel.
“I was asked to go there because the team can’t travel to the mosque, it’s too far and today they have a match with Uruguay,” imam Artur Hazrat Mukhutdinov said. He added that the service would take half an hour.