The Handmaid’s Tale, the dystopian TV show based on Margaret Atwood’s award-winning book, swept the Emmy Awards, claiming eight victories out of thirteen nominations.
The Handmaid’s Tale won the following awards:
- Outstanding Drama Series
- Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Elisabeth Moss
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Ann Dowd
- Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, Reed Morano for the episode “Offred”
- Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, Bruce Miller for the episode “Offred”
- Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, Alexis Bledel
- Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour), Colin Watkinson for the episode “Offred”
- Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More), Julie Berghoff, Evan Webber, Sophie Neudorfer for the episode “Offred”
The Handmaid’s Tale was also nominated for, but did not win Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Samira Wiley, Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for Kate Dennis for the episode “The Bridge,” Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series for the team of Russell Scott, Sharon Bialy, and Sherry Thomas, Outstanding Period/Fantasy Costumes for a Series, Limited Series, or Movie for Ane Crabtree and Sheena Wichary for the episode “Offred,” and Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role for the talented team of Brendan Taylor, Leo Bovell, Stephen Lebed, Winston Lee, Martin O’Brien, Zach Dembinski, Kelly Knauff, Cameron Kerr, and Mike Sute for the episode “Birth Day.”
Like Robert A. Heinlein’s novella “If This Goes On,” The Handmaid’s Tale shows what might happen in a theocratic dystopia where the separation of church and state are abolished. Infertility, caused by STDs and pollution, has caused the government to kidnap and enslave fertile women to serve as Handmaids to high-ranking men, in the hopes of providing them children. These broodmares are called Handmaids, after Genesis 30:3, when Rachel offered her handmaiden Bilhah to her husband Jacob, so she could have surrogate children through her.
The Hulu-streamed show is based off Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name, which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Governor General’s Award. Atwood says nothing in the book is completely imaginary; every incident has a basis in history and/or the scripture. Science fiction fans will notice parallels to other SF works. As in the DC graphic novel, Me and Joe Priest, by Greg Potter (published in 1985, the same year as the novel The Handmaid’s Tale), sterility is a problem for both genders. (This is a subplot in some episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale, as other males are willing to have carnal relations with Offred on the grounds Commander Fred Waterford might not be able to impregnate her.) As in Flynn Connolly’s The Rising of the Moon, women have lost most of their civil rights, and if the situation in Atwood’s Gilead and Connolly’s Ireland don’t improve, female literacy could soon fade away.
The Mary Sue pointed out that “the 2017 Emmy Awards were all about female-fronted stories, people of color getting their due recognition, and women making history,”just as Krypton Radio announced that this was the year of the women for the Hugo Awards. Of The Handmaid’s Tale‘s eight Emmy Awards, six were won or co-won by women.