The Crown’s Jessica Hobbs and Hacks’ Lucia Aniello each picked up tonight’s Emmys for best directing in the drama and comedy categories, marking the first time in Emmys history women have swept the directing categories.
Hobbs earned her award for directing the season four finale of Netflix’s The Crown. Her win is only the fourth time in 67 years that the Emmy for Outstanding Directing For a Drama Series category has been won by a woman. Previous winners include Reed Morano in 2017 for The Handmaid’s Tale, Mimi Leder in 1995 for ER, and Karen Arthur in 1985 for Cagney & Lacey. The Crown unsurprisingly swept the Emmys overall this year, snagging top prize for Outstanding Drama Series.
“Not a lot of women have won this award so I feel I’m standing on the shoulders of some really extraordinary people,” Hobbs said during her acceptance speech. “I’m very grateful for the path they led, and I particularly would like to pay tribute to my mom who at 77 is still directing.”
Aniello won Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for her work on Hacks’ pilot episode. During her speech, Aniello took the time to announce her surprise marriage to longtime partner and co-showrunner Paul W. Downs, who stars in Hacks. The two created the HBO Max comedy series with Jen Statsky (Parks & Recreation, Broad City, The Good Place). All three of them won the award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series this evening. Aniello thanked Hacks stars Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder “for giving so much of themselves to these characters.” Smart won her first Emmy in 13 years this evening for her role as Deborah Vance in Hacks.
Aniello is the fifth woman to win the Emmy for Outstanding Director for a Comedy Series. Transparent’s Joey Soloway and Gail Mancuso (Gilmore Girls, 30 Rock, Modern Family) have each won the award twice. Betty Thomas first won the award as a woman director in 1993 for Dream On, a whopping 44 years into the Emmy Awards.