‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Wins 11 Emmys Including Best Limited Series


The Netflix hit series The Queen’s Gambit won a total of 11 Emmy Awards, including the top prize for limited series. At Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards, director Scott Frank received a trophy as well, a week after the series had already clinched nine prizes in technical categories.

The Queen’s Gambit is the first streaming series to win the award for outstanding limited or anthology series, a separate category for series that run a maximum of one season. The other nominated series in the category were I May Destroy You, Mare of Easttown, The Underground Railroad, and WandaVision.

Handed out for the 73rd time on Sunday, the Primetime Emmy Awards are prizes in recognition of excellence in American primetime television programming, similar to the Academy Award (Oscar) for motion pictures.

At the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, held on September 11 and 12, the series was already a big winner, getting nine prizes for casting, cinematography, period costumes, editing, period makeup (non-prosthetic), original dramatic score, sound editing, sound mixing, and production design. Best limited series and best directing were the two main prizes won last night, which means that The Queen’s Gambit won 11 prizes from 18 nominations.

“The one thing that no algorithm can predict, and no billion-dollar budget can manufacture, is word of mouth,” said the show’s executive producer, William Horberg, who accepted the award on behalf of the cast and crew. “This award is for the fans who told their friends, and who became fans, who told their friends: ‘Dude, you got to watch the orphan girl chess drama.’”

He added: “Thank you to Netflix, you guys did the rarest thing of all these days. You took a chance on risky material and you trusted the filmmakers. Anya Taylor-Joy, what can I say, you brought the sexy back to chess, and you inspired a whole generation of girls and young women to realize that patriarchy simply has no defense against our queens.”

Anya Taylor-Joy & ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ backstage speech.

Answering media questions, Taylor-Joy said the moment when she realized how successful the series was when she learned about the demographics of people who enjoyed the show: “From people in their eighties saying that it was the first show that they’d ever binge-watched to teenagers saying that they were gonna play the hot guy at their school at chess, that was pretty spectacular.”

Probably the most-asked question for the cast and crew has been whether there will be a second season or any other kind of follow-up. Award-winning director Scott Frank: “I’m so sorry. I hate disappointing anyone, but no. I feel like we told the story that we wanted to tell and I’m terrified that if we’d try to tell more, we would ruin what we’ve already told.” 

The Queen’s Gambit tells the story of orphan Beth Harmon, who discovers an astonishing talent for chess while developing an addiction to tranquilizers provided by the state as a sedative for children. Haunted by her personal demons and fueled by a cocktail of narcotics and obsession, she transforms into an impressively skilled and glamorous outcast while determined to conquer the traditional boundaries established in the male-dominated world of competitive chess.

According to Netflix, the incredibly successful series was watched by 62 million households in the first month after its release in late October 2020. Earlier this year, it won the Golden Globe for best miniseries or television film, and Taylor-Joy won the Golden Globe for best actress in a miniseries or television film.

Earlier this week, The Queen’s Gambit was in the news as GM Nona Gaprindashvili has filed a lawsuit against Netflix for “false light invasion of privacy” and defamation. She alleges that the series erroneously suggests that she played against only women.

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