The 2024 Emmy Awards took place last night (15 January) and ended up being a huge celebration of Black LGBTQ+ talent, from RuPaul to Ayo Edebiri.
After a four-month delay due to the 2023 actors’ strike, the Emmy Awards returned in full form featuring stunning red carpet looks, jaw-dropping acceptance speeches, and much-deserved wins for some of the queer community’s brightest stars and most vocal allies.
From Jennifer Coolidge honouring the underserved community of “evil gays” to Niecy Nash-Betts celebrating herself in the most powerful way, the 2024 Emmys was one awards ceremony worth remembering. Here are the 9 queerest moments.
Elton John becomes an EGOT winner
Legendary British singer Elton John became just the 19th person in history to be an EGOT winner, i.e. someone who has won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony award.
The 76-year-old “Your Song” chart-topper won his first ever Emmy for his live-streamed concert performance, Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium. However, owing to a knee operation, John was unable to attend the awards ceremony in person.
Instead, his husband David Furnish and the special’s producer, Ben Winston, arrived on stage to collect the award in his place.
John also has five Grammy wins, two Oscars for his songs “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” in The Lion King and Rocketman respectively, and a Tony award for his role as score composer in 2000 musical Aida.
Drag Race wins big – and RuPaul makes a heartfelt plea
RuPaul’s Drag Race continued its historic Emmy success, winning its fifth award for Outstanding Reality Show Competition – the second most-awarded competition show of all time, after only The Amazing Race.
Heading on stage surrounded by the cast of season 15 – the season which preceded the latest Emmy win – host RuPaul took aim at the current wave of anti-drag rhetoric sweeping the US and the UK.
“We are so honoured to have this award,” the 63-year-old star began. “You guys are just pure lovely for honouring our show and recognising all these queens.
“We have released into the wild hundreds of drag queens, and they’re beautiful. On behalf of all of them, we thank you.”
He added: “And listen, if a drag queen wants to read you a story at a library, listen to her. Because knowledge is power. And if someone tries to restrict your access to power, they are trying to scare you.”
Earlier this month, RuPaul continued his own historic string of Emmy awards, winning his eighth Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program accolade – the most of any host, ever.
He is the most-awarded Black person in Emmy history.
Pedro Pascal brought his trans sister Lux as his date
The Last of Us star Pedro Pascal, who was nominated for a Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy for his role in the post-apocalyptic HBO series, arrived on the red carpet arm in arm with his trans sister, Lux.
Though it’s just a simple declaration of sibling love, his vocal support of his 31-year-old actor and model sister hasn’t gone unnoticed by the trans community.
In an interview last year, Pascal said that Lux “is and has always been one of the most powerful people and personalities [he has] ever known,” adding that while his “protective side is lethal,” he actually needs her “more than she needs me”.
Niecy Nash-Betts dedicates Emmy to “unheard” Black and Brown women
Actress Niecy Nash-Betts, who is married to queer singer Jessica Betts, delivered an emotional speech as she won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a limited series, for her role as Jeffrey Dahmer’s neighbour Glenda Cleveland in Ryan Murphy’s controversial Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story series.
Taking to the stage, the 53-year-old thanked Murphy and co-star Evan Peters, as well as her wife, who she said “picked me up when I was gutted from this work”.
Nash-Betts then thanked and celebrated herself “for believing in me and doing what they said I could not do.”
She joyfully added: “Go on, girl, with your bad self. You did that!’”
The most poignant moment in the speech came when Nash-Betts took a moment to accept the award “on behalf of every Black and Brown woman who has gone unheard yet over-policed, like Glenda Cleveland, like Sandra Bland, like Breonna Taylor.
“As an artist, my job is to speak truth to power, and baby, I’m going to do it until the day I die.”
Drag Race star Princess Poppy gobbles as a goblin
The other big Drag Race talking point at last night’s ceremony came in the form of a mysterious green goblin parading about the red carpet, terrorising cameras and leaving viewers baffled.
It was revealed that Drag Race season 15 queen Princess Poppy, who was eliminated in week two in last year’s season, was behind the creepy, campy look that left the internet ablaze.
Though Princess Poppy previously announced that she’d retired from drag, her chaotic goblin get up was certainly one way to come back with a bang.
As one Emmy viewer put it: Princess Poppy is evidence enough as to why more queer people should be invited to award shows.
The Bear stars go in for a big kiss
It was a big night for the whole cast of Hulu comedy drama series The Bear, starring the internet’s most recent boyfriend, Jeremy Allen White and Bottoms icon Ayo Edebiri.
Yet it was two of the other lead cast members – Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Matty Matheson, who play Neil and Richie in the series – who truly brought the house down with their on stage escapades.
As the cast walked on stage to collect their Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series – their sixth award of the night – Moss-Bachrach and Matheson embraced for a tongue-in-cheek (not literally) kiss.
“I just love restaurants so much. The good, the bad. It’s rough. We’re all broken inside and every single day we gotta show up and cook and make people feel good by eating something and sitting at a table. It’s really beautiful,” Matheson said of the win.
“And all of us here get to make a show together, and we get to make people feel good — or filled with anxiety, or triggered …. But this is really amazing. It’s beautiful,” he added.
Speaking of The Bear, newly-crowned queer icon Ayo Edebiri also won big
Bottoms star Ayo Edebiri, who the internet has dubbed as a queer icon thanks to her recent big Golden Globe win, also helped The Bear to storm to awards glory after she won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for her role as chef Sydney in the Hulu series.
It’s been a huge 12 months for the hilarious and definitely not Irish star, following wins at the Globes as well as the Critics’ Choice Awards.
It’s only been a few years since Edebiri made her big TV breakthrough in Big Mouth, but she’s already become a star to keep an eye on.
“This is a show about family and found family and real family, and my parents are here tonight and I’m making them sit far away from me because I’m a bad kid but thank you,” Edebiri said following her win.
“Thank you so much for loving me and letting me feel beautiful and Black and proud of all of that. I love you so much. Probably not a dream to immigrate to this country and have your daughter go ‘I wanna do improv,’ but you are real ones.”
Jennifer Coolidge pays tribute to one underrepresented group – evil gays
Comedy legend Jennifer Coolidge beat off stiff competition in the Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category, winning the award over The Crown’s Elizabeth Debicki and Succession’s J Smith-Cameron.
She won for her role as the delightfully ditzy – and definitely dead – The White Lotus character, Tanya McQoid.
As a veteran of iconic award show speeches, Coolidge’s fans were ready and waiting for whatever TV gold she served up, and she did not disappoint.
“Mike White [The White Lotus creator], thank you for this… giving me this opportunity to play this incredible character,” she said. “He says I’m definitely dead so I’m going along with it.”
“I want to thank all the evil gays,” she added, referencing the much-memed line from the show, “These gays… they’re trying to murder me!”
Rounding off her speech, Coolidge added: “One last thing. I had a little dream in my little town and everyone said it was impractical and far-fetched but it did happen after all, so don’t give up on your dream.”
GLAAD CEO demands more trans stories be told
The award recognises GLAAD’s work to ensure LGBTQ+ people are represented in TV, film, and other media.
After being introduced by LGBTQ+ ally Hannah Waddingham and gay Rustin star Colman Domingo, Sarah Kate Ellis urged the attendees – which included writers and directors – to tell better stories about trans people.
“For all of us at GLAAD, this work is personal, for me, it’s about my wife and our kids, because what the world sees on TV directly influences how we treat each other and the decisions we make in our living rooms, schools, at work, and at the ballot box,” she said.
“The world urgently needs culture-changing stories about transgender people. More people say they have seen a ghost than know a trans person.
“When you don’t know people, it’s easy to demonise them. Visibility creates understanding and opens doors, it’s life-saving.”
See the full list of 2024 Emmy Award winners here.