Zendaya makes Emmy history with best actress in a drama series win

Former Disney Channel star took the Emmy for her her performance in the HBO show Euphoria

Zendaya makes Emmy history with best actress in a drama series win

24-year old actress and singer Zendaya has made history by becoming the youngest woman to win best actress in a drama series at the Emmys. The win was for her portrayal of a teenage drug addict named Rue in HBO’s Euphoria. 

The Spider-Man star saw off fierce competition from Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh (Killing Eve), Olivia Colman (The Crown), Laura Linney (Ozark) and Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show) to take home the award. 

Speaking from her home, Zendaya gave a message of hope to young people.

"I know this feels like a really weird time to be celebrating, but I just want to say there is hope in the young people out there - I know that our TV show doesn't always feel like a great example of that - but there is hope in our young people and I just want to say to all my peers out there doing the work in the streets, 'I see you, I admire you, I thank you.'"

Zendaya is also only the second black actress to win best actress in a drama series, following in the footsteps of Viola Davis whose performance in 2015’s How To Get Away With Murder made the breakthrough win. 

The Emmys saw an increase of diversity across the board this year, with 10 out of 19 performing categories being won by black actors. Last year the total was just two. There is still a way to go though, as there were no Latinx American or disabled nominees in major categories. 

The night also saw big wins for HBO’s Watchmen and Pop TV’s Schitt’s Creek, which took home 11 and nine awards respectively. 

The 72nd Emmy Awards were broadcast live from the empty Staples Center in Los Angeles, and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Nominees joined virtually, with organisers sending people in full hazmat suits to deliver the award. This led to the amusing situation where Emmys were removed from the houses of those who didn’t win, as shown below by Ramy Youssef, who was nominated for best actor in a comedy series. 

Complete list of winners

Outstanding Comedy Series

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Dead to Me

The Good Place


The Kominsky Method

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Schitt’s Creek - WINNER

What We Do in the Shadows

Outstanding Limited Series

Little Fires Everywhere

Mrs. America



Watchmen - WINNER

Lead Actor, Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Steve Carell, The Morning Show

Brian Cox, Succession

Billy Porter, Pose

Jeremy Strong, Succession - WINNER

Lead Actress, Drama Series

Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show

Olivia Colman, The Crown

Jodie Comer, Killing Eve

Laura Linney, Ozark

Sandra Oh, Killing Eve

Zendaya, Euphoria - WINNER

Lead Actor, Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

Don Cheadle, Black Monday

Ted Danson, The Good Place

Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method

Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek - WINNER

Ramy Youssef, Ramy

Lead Actress, Comedy Series

Christina Applegate, Dead to Me

Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Linda Cardellini, Dead to Me

Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek - WINNER

Issa Rae, Insecure

Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Lead Actor, Limited Series or Movie

Jeremy Irons, Watchmen

Hugh Jackman, Bad Education

Paul Mescal, Normal People

Jeremy Pope, Hollywood

Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True - WINNER

Lead Actress, Limited Series or Movie

Cate Blanchett, Mrs. America

Shira Haas, Unorthodox

Regina King, Watchmen - WINNER

Octavia Spencer, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker

Kerry Washington, Little Fires Everywhere 

Supporting Actor, Drama Series

Nicholas Braun, Succession

Billy Crudup, The Morning Show - WINNER

Kieran Culkin, Succession

Mark Duplass, The Morning Show

Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul

Matthew Macfadyen, Succession

Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale

Jeffrey Wright, Westworld

Supporting Actress, Drama Series

Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown

Laura Dern, Big Little Lies

Julia Garner, Ozark - WINNER

Thandie Newton, Westworld

Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve

Sarah Snook, Succession

Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies

Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale

Supporting Actor, Comedy Series

Mahershala Ali, Ramy

Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Sterling K. Brown, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

William Jackson Harper, The Good Place

Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek - WINNER

Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live

Supporting Actress, Comedy Series

Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place

Betty Gilpin, Glow

Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek - WINNER

Yvonne Orji, Insecure

Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live

TV Movie

American Son

Bad Education - WINNER

Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings: These Old Bones

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend   

Supporting Actress, Limited Series or Movie 

Uzo Aduba, Mrs. America - WINNER

Toni Collette, Unbelievable

Margo Martindale, Mrs. America

Jean Smart, Watchmen

Holland Taylor, Hollywood

Tracey Ullman, Mrs. America

Supporting Actor, Limited Series or Movie

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Watchmen - WINNER

Jovan Adepo, Watchmen

Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend

Louis Gossett Jr., Watchmen

Dylan McDermott, Hollywood

Jim Parsons, Hollywood

Variety Talk Series

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - WINNER

Reality Competition Program

The Masked Singer

Nailed It!

RuPaul’s Drag Race - WINNER

Top Chef

The Voice

Variety Sketch Series

A Black Lady Sketch Show

Drunk History

Saturday Night Live - WINNER

Header Image Credit: HBO


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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