Awards shows by nature pit entertainers against one another. There’s always a winner and a group of non-winners. Everyone gives the empty, “It’s an honor to be nominated,” platitudes and most award recipients acknowledge the talent of the other nominees, but it’s all still a competition. The host, Jane Lynch, upon losing her category quipped, “On the Red Carpet I said there were no winners or losers. There are losers. I am one. And it hurts. It doesn’t feel good. And If I didn’t have to host the rest of the show I’d be home by now eating a tub of turkey meatballs in the dark.” Let’s face it, plenty of those audience members understood what she was saying.
However, one group of extremely talented ladies proved that it’s not all about the competition. In a show-stealing move, the women nominated for Best Comedic Actress took the stage as their names were announced and held hands as their category’s winner was called. Following the lead of Amy Poehler, Melissa McCarthy, Martha Plimpton, Tina Fey, Edie Falco, and Laura Linney surprised the presenters by walking up to the podium and standing together, smiling at the crowd and supporting one another in a kind-hearted display of solidarity. When Melissa McCarthy was announced as the winner, every woman on that stage seemed genuinely excited and congratulatory. They hugged, cheered and crowned McCarthy like a high school prom queen. Melissa’s honest shock at winning and her fellow actresses support of her made this category the highlight of the night for me.
For every young woman watching, I think this moment drove home the fact that women can encourage each other, even when they’re competing. In the business world, it often feels like there are only a few spots at the top for women. We’re all fighting for one or two seats at the table. But instead of belittling others to make ourselves feel bigger, we can stand together and show the greatness in our unity.
Those amazing women didn’t need to be jealous of one another. The platitudes were true. They all looked like winners to me. The only one they need to be fighting is Rob Lowe, who looked at that spectacular display of accomplished women and addressed them all as, “Girls.” Mr. Lowe, there were no children on that stage.
I hope that women everywhere take this touching TV moment and apply it to their professional lives. I hope we walk into work this morning feeling a little more proud to stand up with our fellow ladies and acknowledge the amazing work that we all do. And I hope young women see the importance of lifting each other up, even if you aren’t the person standing at the top. Each other those ladies looks more appealing to me and I’ll be a little happier to support them all. So congratulations, once again, to Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler, Martha Plimpton, Tina Fey, Edie Falco and Laura Linney. Not everyone came home from the Emmys a winner, but you each looked pretty amazing to me.