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Alumnus Darren Criss wins Emmy award, concludes speech with Go Blue

Oakland Avenue Urban Farm in Detroit, MI. Photo courtesy Akoaki.

Darren Criss (BFA ’09, theatre performance) received a 2018 Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his role as Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, which aired on FX Networks. He received the award on the nationally broadcast 70th Annual Emmy Awards, which aired on NBC on September 17.

Criss competed against a prestigious group of actors, including Benedict Cumberbatch (Patrick Melrose), Antonio Banderas (Genius: Picasso), John Legend (Jesus Christ Superstar), Jesse Plemons (Black Mirror), and Jeff Daniels (the Looming Tower).

“You guys are witnessing the most extraordinary moment of my life thus far,” Criss said in his acceptance speech, where he went on to thank Versace director Ryan Murphy, his parents, and his fiancée Mia Swier. In conclusion, he gave a nod to the University of Michigan. Watch his full speech here:


This is Criss’s first Primetime Emmy win. He won a Teen Choice Breakout Star Award for his role on FOX TV’s Glee in 2011, and has twice been named “Favorite Replacement” by for his lead replacement roles in the Broadway musicals How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Also nominated for 2018 Emmy Awards were Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (BFA ’06, musical theatre) as the composer/lyricists of A Christmas Story Live, which aired on FOX, and Christina Reynolds (BFA ’03, theatre performance) a producer for Shark Tank, for Outstanding Structured Reality Program.

Other SMTD alumni who have won Emmy Awards include Margo Martindale (BA ’73) and James Earl Jones (BA ’55, HLHD ’71).