Any award show that begins with Jennifer Aniston using a fire extinguisher has my attention.
While award shows are among the laundry list of events to be forced online, all eyes were on the Emmys last night as the first of the EGOT award shows presented their COVID-19-style ceremony.
Anyone who tuned into the first five minutes of the ceremony would have been shocked to see Jimmy Kimmel speaking in front of an overflowing audience, packed tightly together without a mask in sight. Sandra Oh, Rachel Brosnahan, Sterling K. Brown and all of the season’s nominees were sitting side by side, but how?
Television magic, my friends. Kimmel spoke in front of an empty Staples Center with clips from last year’s ceremony to avoid that awkward silence when he makes a joke in front of a virtual audience. The ceremony continued in what Kimmel referred to as the Emmy mission control center, displaying the Zoom screens of the hundreds of Hollywood A-listers nominated for awards. The Emmys themselves were delivered to the winners at their respective homes.
Quite possibly my favorite aspect of the ceremony was watching my favorite actors and actresses in their natural habitat. While many of them sat in front of their computer screens, some hosted their own Emmy parties with the co-stars of their shows. Eugene Levy hosted the entire cast and creative team of “Schitt’s Creek” in his lavish Toronto home, and “Little Fires Everywhere” costars Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon held a New Year’s Eve party because they decided 2020 has lasted long enough.
Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek” was by far the biggest winner of the night, sweeping the comedy category and winning the first seven competitive awards. The Canadian sitcom aired its sixth and final season earlier this year, ending the series on a high by breaking the record of Emmys won by a comedy series in a single season.
The Emmy Awards were very conscious of the current state of our world, with COVID-19 and President Donald Trump at the butt of many of Kimmel’s jokes. Acceptance speeches were full of messages advocating for change, reminding people to vote and demanding racial justice within our nation. Jesse Armstrong, the creator of “Succession,” whose show took home the top prize of Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series, used his acceptance speech to give out “un-thank you’s” to Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, nationalists and the coronavirus itself for the nightmare that is 2020.
The ceremony also paid tribute to those who have been working tirelessly on the frontlines of the pandemic, with farmers, teachers, doctors, nurses and postal workers presenting many competitive awards. In addition to this, 2.8 million dollars were donated to the No Kid Hungry organization for COVID-19 response.
While award shows aren’t always my thing, the sheer entertainment of the night came from the way in which the ceremony was adapted to meet COVID-19 guidelines. If more trophy presenters dressed in tuxedo-looking hazmat suits are in our future, you can be sure I’ll be tuning in for every four hour award event this year.