From Lucille Ball to Ricky Gervais and Viola Davis, big personalities – and entertaining moments to match – are a common feature of the Emmy Awards. Ahead of the Emmys this year, our picture researcher Kristen Daly selects 12 images from our international image partners that capture the quirkiness, humour and elation of TV's most prestigious awards show.
Upside down: Actress Lucille Ball and a guest attend the Emmys in 1967. Image by TVA/PictureGroup/Invision for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences/AP.
Cheers: Kirstie Alley and Burt Reynolds share a laugh backstage at the Emmys in 1991. They both won awards for best acting in a comedy series, for their work in Cheers and Evening Shade respectively. Alley had raised eyebrows earlier in the night with a memorable acceptance speech in which she thanked husband Parker Stevenson, "the man who has given me the big one for the last eight years." Image by Reed Saxon for AP.
Hollywood's hottest couple: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, then engaged, arrive to the Emmys in 1999. Image by Hubert Boesl for DPA/AP.
Peak TV: From left, actress Kristin Davis, producer John Melfi, actress Kim Cattrall, producer Michael Patrick King, producer Cindy Chupack, producer Jenny Bicks and producer Darren Starr hold up their Emmys for outstanding comedy series for Sex and the City in 2001. Along with the Sopranos, Mad Men and others, the show about four friends living in New York City was one of several that ushered in the ongoing so-called Golden Age of Television. Image by Reed Saxon for AP.
Bring the kids: Will Ferrell is accompanied by his three sons as he presents the award for outstanding comedy series at the Emmys in 2013. Image by Vince Bucci for AP.
Joking around: Ricky Gervais pokes fun at a video of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell at the Emmys in 2008. The previous year Carrell, who played the American version of Ricky's character David Brent from the original British hit The Office, accepted an award on Ricky's behalf when he was unable to attend. Image by Mark J Terrill for AP.
A lineup of funny women: From left, Tina Fey, Martha Plimpton, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler, Edie Falco and Laura Linney are pictured onstage during the presentation for the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series in 2011. In a hilarious bit engineered by Poehler, the nominees gestured dramatically like beauty queens before McCarthy was announced as the winner and crowned with a tiara. Image by Mark J Terrill for AP.
How to make history: Viola Davis accepts the award for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for How To Get Away With Murder at the Emmys in 2015. Davis made history as the first black woman to win the award. Image by Chris Pizzello for AP.
Finally: Jon Hamm crawls on stage to accept the award for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for Mad Men in 2015. Image by Phil McCarten/Invision for the Television Academy/AP.
Veep-torious: Julia Louis-Dreyfus poses in the press room with her award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series and outstanding comedy series for Veep at the Emmys in 2017. With these victories she became the actor with the most Emmys for a single role. Image by Jordan Strauss for Invision/AP.
Close and personal: Nicole Kidman, left, congratulates Alexander Skarsgard after he won the award for outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or a movie for Big Little Lies at the Emmys in 2017. The moment got tongues wagging, especially with Kidman's husband Keith Urban standing nearby. Image by Alex Berliner/Invision for the Television Academy/AP.
Iconic: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Conleth Hill, Emilia Clarke, Gwendoline Christie, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Jacob Anderson, Nathalie Emmanuel, Liam Cunningham and Kit Harington from Game of Thrones pose backstage after winning the award for outstanding drama series at the Emmys in 2018. Image by Sthanlee B Mirador for Sipa USA/PA.
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