It was a night of surprises at the 68th annual Emmy Awards, with a slew of first-time winners and upsets across multiple categories.
The show kicked off with host Jimmy Kimmel trying to get a ride to the show any way he can.
That meant a desperate Kimmel got into the cars from “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” “Modern Family” and even “The Late Late Show” for a little “Carpool Karaoke” with James Corden.
He then tried to catch a ride from “Veep” star Julia-Louis Dreyfus, but her chauffeur, played by a surprisingly funny Jeb Bush, wouldn’t help him out. He then used a “Game of Thrones” dragon to set fire to Ryan Seacrest before heading in and kicking off the program.
“If your show doesn’t have a dragon or a white Bronco in it, go home now,” Kimmel warned other nominees, hinting at the awards dominance of “The People v. O.J. Simpson” and “Game of Thrones.”
“The only thing we value more than diversity is congratulating ourselves on how much we value diversity,” he said. He also hit on current politics, blaming “The Apprentice” producer Mark Burnett for the rise of Donald Trump.
“If Donald Trump gets elected and he builds that wall, the first person we’re throwing over it is Mark Burnett,” cracked Kimmel.
As for the awards, it was a night of surprises from the get-go, with “black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross handing out the first statuette of the night for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series to “Baskets” star Louie Anderson, who plays a woman on the FX series.
“I have not always been a very good man, but I play one hell of a woman,” Anderson said from the stage.
“Modern Family” star Julie Bowen and Matt LeBlanc announced Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang as the winner for Best Comedy Series Writing for the Netflix series “Master of None” -- another surprise win.
“Asian parents out there, just a couple of you get your kids cameras instead of violins and we’ll be all good,” Yang said about encouraging diverse voices in TV and filmmaking.
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series went to Kate McKinnon, the first Emmy win for a regular “Saturday Night Live” cast member in the show’s history. McKinnon got an extra-loud round of applause when she thanked Hillary Clinton, one of her regular impressions.
But the night couldn’t be all surprises. “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway beat out category-dominating “Veep” for Outstanding Comedy Directing, the same award she took home last year. She ended her acceptance speech calling for viewers to “topple the patriarchy,” among other things.
“I’m trying to figure out if ‘topple the patriarchy’ is a good thing for me or not,” Kimmel offered after Soloway left the stage. “I don’t think it is.”
Keegan Michael Key handed out the award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, which went to Louis-Dreyfus for “Veep,” her fifth consecutive win in the category.
“I would like to take this opportunity to personally apologize for the current political climate,” she said during her speech. “‘Veep’ has torn down the wall between comedy and politics.” She then dedicated her award to her father, who passed away earlier this week.
Jeffery Tambor took home Best Actor in a Comedy once again -- as he did last year -- for “Transparent,” pointing out in his speech that “there is no ‘best’ actor.”
Tambor also addressed the controversy over cisgender men playing trans women in film and on television. “I would not be unhappy if I were the last cisgender man to play a transgender woman on TV,” he said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”
Speaking of repeat performances in Emmy categories, “The Voice” won for Best Reality Program for the second year in a row. “We’re back with Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys, your next Supreme Court justices,” producer Burnett joked during his speech.
As a break in the festivities, Kimmel had the kids from “Stranger Things” hand out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches -- made by his mom -- to the attendees, warning those with peanut allergies that the producers were only able to afford one EpiPen.
A very pregnant Kerry Washington and “Scandal” co-star Tony Goldwin handed out the award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special to “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” the first win of the night for the celebrated FX series from Ryan Murphy.
Regina King got her second Emmy in a row for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series for “American Crime.”
But the first win for “The People v. O.J. Simpson” didn’t trigger a sweep, as Susanne Bier beat out Murphy and Co. for Outstanding Directing of a Limited Series or Movie for her work on “The Night Manager.”
Sterling K. Brown brought in the retelling of the O.J. Simpson trial’s second award of the night, for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. He made a point of thanking co-star Sarah Paulson, saying, “Where you lead, I just try to support.”
The thank you appeared to be prophetic, as Paulson then won for Best Lead Actress in a Limited Series for playing Marcia Clarke -- whom Paulson alsofor the awards.
Her co-star, Courtney B. Vance, also won for Outstanding Lead Actor for his portrayal of lawyer Johnny Cochran. His win segued nicely into the series’ victory in the Outstanding Limited Series category.
Kimmel got some high-profile help onstage when Matt Damon came out, munching on an apple, to mess with Kimmel after he lost an Emmy to John Oliver. “You lost and now you’ve got to stand out here for the rest of the night,” Damon teased, “when you probably just want to go home and cry.”
“Game of Thrones” creators David Benoiff and D.B. Weiss brought in the first award of the night for the hit HBO series for writing the climactic “Battle of the Bastards” episode from the most recent season.
That episode’s director, Miguel Sapochnik, also won for Outstanding Directing.
Taraji P. Henson presented the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama to Ben Mendelsohn for the Netflix series “Bloodline,” which the streaming service recently announced would not be continuing after its third season.
Continuing the night’s theme of surprising and first-time winners, “Mr. Robot” star Rami Malek brought home the Emmy for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, his first nomination. And “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany won Outstanding Actress for her six roles on the cult favorite sci-fi series.
In the top categories, “Veep” beat out some stiff competition for Outstanding Comedy Series -- the first time the HBO series has taken the honor -- while “Game of Thrones” took home Outstanding Drama Series.