An Award Show to Remember: 2020 Emmys

Nora Toscano

The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, which gave recognition to the best US prime time television series from June 1, 2019-May 31, 2020, was held on September 20, 2020. Originally planned to be at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, the ceremony was instead held at the Staples Center, and winners gave their speeches virtually from home. Hosted by American late-show favorite, Jimmy Kimmel, this year’s Emmys were definitely one to remember. 

During the beginning of Kimmel’s opening monologue, the camera flashed to shots of the audience, jam-packed with guests, laughing and clapping. When we saw Kimmel himself seemingly watching the speech, Kimmel revealed that he was in an empty theater, and those were recorded clips of celebrities at previous award shows. He showed the empty seats filled with cardboard cutouts of celebrities, and Jason Bateman, sitting very still and trying to pass as one. When Kimmel jokingly told Bateman that he could only stay if he laughed at all of his jokes, Bateman made a show of deciding to leave.

“Schitt’s Creek” broke a record with seven Emmys, “an Emmy sweep.” The show, streaming on Netflix, follows the wealthy Rose family that loses all their money and has to move to a small town they purchased as a joke years prior. Created by father-son duo Eugene and Dan Levy, the comedy is praised for spreading love and acceptance while still being hilarious.  The entire cast gathered in Toronto to watch the award show together, and they were able to see each other win and give their speeches in person.  Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy started off the night winning Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Comedy. These were both O’Hara and Levy’s first Emmys. “…that brings me to my multi-Emmy nominated partner, Dan Levy, who took our show that we came up with and brilliantly guided it to this little Emmy party tonight, so thank you, son,” said Levy in his acceptance speech, effectively bringing his son, and probably the whole audience, to tears.

Dan Levy and Annie Murphy then won Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress in a Comedy. After winning, Murphy said in her speech, “I am so proud to be part of a show that stands for love and kindness and inclusivity and acceptance because those four things are things that we need more than ever right now.”  Dan Levy left with two more wins, one for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series and one for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, the latter which he won alongside Andrew Cividino. The show finished out their sweep by winning Outstanding Comedy Series. 

Zendaya broke another Emmy record, becoming the youngest person to win. At age 24, Zendaya won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for her hit show “Euphoria.” This was especially inspiring to watch because most teens grew up watching her on Disney Channel, and now she’s accepting the biggest award for primetime TV.

“Succession” and “Watchmen” also came out on top, each winning four Emmys. Both shows are on HBO, and HBO, coincidentally, was the network with the most wins, at 11. 

In a period of uncertainty, TV shows have been a solace for people stuck at home. It was truly beautiful to be able to honor the shows that may have been one of the few things that brought us happiness in these turbulent times.