The 72nd Emmy Awards looked a little different this year. Thanks to COVID-19, the socially distant ceremony featured presenters in hazmat suits and celebrities appearing on Zoom from their homes. However, the change in pace of the ceremony made for an entertaining evening and a different award show from anything we’ve ever seen before.
Host Jimmy Kimmel opened the show with a signature monologue which felt so routine and typical, I was completely unaware of the missing audience reaction shots. The only reason I noticed no one was in the audience was because Kimmel had to point it out himself. He later joked that with all of this working against them, “What can go right?” If anyone can take you away from your reality, it’s Hollywood.
The biggest winners of the night included Succession, Watchman, and Schitt’s Creek. The final season of Schitt’s Creek received a proper send off, taking 7 Emmy’s within the opening hour. All four actors, Dan Levy (Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series), Eugene Levy (Best Actor in a Comedy Series), Catherine O'Hara (Best Actress in a Comedy Series), and Annie Murphy(Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series), swept the main Emmy Acting categories becoming the first comedy to do so. Schitt’s Creek also made history with a new record for most wins in a single season for a comedy series which included winning Best Comedy Series.
Anthony Anderson called 2020, “ the Blackest Emmys Ever” due to the record 35 Black nominees. It was a welcome change to also see so many of these actors take home awards. Emmy winners Regina King (Outstanding Lead Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie, Watchmen) and Uzo Abuda (Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie, Mrs. America) paid tribute to Breanna Taylor while accepting their awards. Yahya Adbul-Mateen (Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Limited Series Or Movie, Watchman) dedicated his award to, “All the Black women in my life.” At the age of 24, Zendaya also made history as the youngest winner of the Lead Actress in a Drama series category for her incredible performance in Europhia (eagerly waiting for a season 2). She is also only the second Black woman to win this category, following Viola Davis who won for How to Get Away With Murder in 2015. Eddie Murphy also took home a trophy for Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series for his guest performance on SNL.
The 2020 Emmys was a different award show, but a wholesome one. Having actors, directors, and writers accept awards from their homes made the ceremony more intimate, giving us a look inside their worlds. Those who were able to gather safely did so and clearly enjoyed each other’s company, in a year when we’ve had so little. While there’s still progress to be made when it comes to award shows, it was nice to have some small steps forward. It will be interesting to see if other award shows, such as the Oscars and Golden Globes, can adapt to the changes this year has brought in the same way.
Check out the complete list of winners from the 72nd Emmys Awards here.