Despite the current state of a global pandemic with strict social distancing deadlines, this year’s Emmys managed to deliver more quality of entertainment than seemed feasible.
The 72nd Emmy Awards for Primetime Programming hosted live by Jimmy Kimmel from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday. The ceremony this year was not the usual Red Carpet scene viewers are accustomed to, yet it finally began to serve many people who’ve been fighting for intersectionality for decades.
In accordance with safety standards for health amid this global pandemic, over 130 equipment kits were shipped to nominees in 10 countries, setting the stage for the first-ever virtual Emmy awards ceremony.
Nominees were encouraged to dress casually and feel free to welcome their families into their live streams.
Unlike the predictable repetitious ceremonies of past years, this extremely unique show retained an enormous degree of entertainment in countless creative methods.
Jimmy Kimmel cleverly coined it the “No People’s Choice Awards” at one point, poking fun at himself for the empty seats and lack of responsive laughter as he stood alone on stage throughout most of the ceremony.
When the viewers at home were welcomed, confusion must have been nearly universal among those watching as Jimmy Kimmel was seen before a lively and crowded audience, leaving one to wonder what the term “virtual” meant in this year’s Emmys after all.
It didn’t take long to realize they’d been fooled, as the host pointed out a member of the audience to viewers and a close-up showed another Jimmy Kimmel. Once the fake audience left the scene was vastly different. Cardboard cut-out images of nominees replaced the usual live audience.
Jimmy Kimmel shared several times that winners would have their Emmy delivered to their doors by the Class of 2020’s top interns from the Television Academy Foundation. These presenters, pandemic-friendly in Tuxedo-Hazmat suits, were ready with an award in hand at most nominee’s locations, just in case they were the winner.
As for the rest of the nominees, their hazmat interns left with the award still in hand.
Yet another creative method of delivering the award itself was displayed during the presentation for Outstanding Variety Talk Series. Each nominee was displayed in their prospective live streams alongside their matching large black packages.
The winner’s package was expected to follow their announcement burst open with an Emmy Award. The lucky winner also was congratulated with a surprise shower of gold confetti.
The humor throughout the ceremony consistently carried extremely dark references that are an exact representation of the mental health of most of us during this quarantine. It’s common that hosts hope to cause laughter, the jokes shared this year were consistently relatable and definitely pandemic-themed.
Our sensitivities to such dark matters are greatly reduced by the extremely troubling realities of quarantine, instead of providing relatable interpretations of our current everyday experiences. Viewers were comforted with the notion that even the rich and famous were experiencing the worst of this quarantine and also going stir crazy.
Skits, such as the celebrities sharing what they’ve been doing during quarantine, reminded viewers and nominees alike that many of our frustrations and fears during this pandemic are the social norm at this time, and despite our apparent isolation from one another, people can still all really connect if they desire to do so and this common ground only increases that opportunity.
This year’s Emmy Awards show displayed recognizable progress regarding past issues around award ceremonies relating to representation and people of color having a fair chance of winning an award.
One presenter shared an encouraging and hilarious sentiment that addressed the progress made this year perfectly.
“We have a record number of Black Emmy nominees this year, which is great. These Emmys would have been the NBA All-Star weekend and Wakanda all wrapped into one. This was supposed to be the Blackest Emmys Ever. Y’all wouldn’t be able to handle how Black it was going to be, but because of COVID, we can’t even get in the damn building! These Emmys would have been so Black it would have been like hot sauce in your purse Black. It would have been Howard University homecoming Black. It would have been ‘you fit the description’ Black. But, you know what? I’m still rooting for everybody Black, because Black Stories, Black performance, and Black Lives Matter!” cheered presenter Anthony Anderson.
He followed this statement up by leading the host Jimmy Kimmel in a series of BLM chants, he instructed “Say it with me, Jimmy. Louder, Jimmy. Say it so my kids could hear it.”
A similar theme as Anderson’s was displayed throughout the course of the ceremony. Different public figures shared sentiment encompassing representation, intersectionality and the topic of feeling seen or heard. These ideas should never be left out of an award show again.
Black celebrities did rightfully earn quite an array of Emmy Awards, with awards from different categories being rightfully given to black men, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Tyler Perry was honored with the Governor’s Award for exceeding the already high standards of the industry through actions such as furthering the proper treatment of individuals throughout television.
Putting aside the dark themes of the pandemic, one particularly wholesome choice that was very moving was the inclusion of multiple presenters of the awards from all over the country who were just normal working individuals.
Workers from an array of different professions including farmers, nurses and women truck drivers were honored for their sacrifice as essential workers by individually serving as presenters for different categories and also offered the chance to share the story of their service as essential workers.
Unlike any other award show before it, this year’s Emmys really took on a brand new stance on what award shows can look in the future. The only question remaining is, are these ideas around for the long haul, or will the inevitable removal of our current state of fear eliminate the desire to continue to show the same compassion.
Emmy Award Winners are listed below, according to the category in the order that they were announced.
- Catherine O’Hara–Schitt’s Creek for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
- Eugene Levy- Schitt’s Creek for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
- Daniel Levy-Schitt’s Creek “Happy Ending” for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
- Andrew Cividino, Daniel Levy- Schitt’s Creek “Happy Ending” for Outstanding Directing of a Comedy Series
- Daniel Levy- Schitt’s Creek for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
- Annie Murphy-Schitt’s Creek for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
- Schitt’s Creek for Outstanding Comedy Series
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for Outstanding Variety Talk Series
- Regina King-Watchmen for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
- Mark Ruffalo-I Know This Much is True for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
- Damon Lindelof, Cord Jefferson –Watchmen for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special
- Maria Schrader-Unorthodox for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special
- Yahya Abdul-Mateen II-Watchmen for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
- Uzo Aduba-Mrs. America for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
- Watchmen-Outstanding Limited Series or Movie
- RuPaul’s Drag Race-Outstanding Competition Program
- Jeremy Strong-Succession for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
- Zendaya- Euphoria for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
- Jesse Armstrong-Succession “This is Not For Tears” Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
- Andrij Parekh- Succession “Hunting” for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
- Billy Crudup- The Morning Show for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
- Julia Garner- Ozark for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
- Succession for Outstanding Drama Series