TV’s Biggest Night: Top Moments From the 72nd Annual Primetime Emmys

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It was the best of times, it was the virtual of times. In the age of social distancing, this year’s Emmys went with the flow and joined the company of many award shows and events that have gone completely virtual this year due to COVID-19.

Host Jimmy Kimmel during the Emmy Award Ceremony (September 20, 2020)

Host Jimmy Kimmel joked that this year the ceremony had a new name, “The Pandemmys,” as he cracked jokes in his opening monologue to a sea of cardboard cut outs of celebrities, except for Ozark actor Jason Bateman, who seemed to be the only live audience member in attendance.

“We’ve been quarantined and locked down. We’ve been confined to our homes like prisoners in a dark and lonely tunnel, and what did we find in that dark and lonely tunnel? I’ll tell you what we found: a friend who is there for us 24 hours a day. Our old pal, television.” –Jimmy Kimmel

While many have been wondering how the Emmys would pull off such a star-studded event with nominees and their loved ones not being able to attend due to safety concerns, it seems the Emmys went inside the homes of the nominees and presenters this year, with producers sending 130+ nominees camera kits to set up in their home to capture live reactions and acceptance speeches. The novelty of the awards show didn’t stop there. Regina King, who won for lead actress in a limited series or movie for her portrayal of Angela Abar (a.k.a. Sister Night) in the HBO’s Watchmen, was already a few seconds into her fourth-career-Emmy acceptance speech when her Emmy, possibly delivered by a representative in a hazmat tuxedo, arrived. 

Emmy award-winner Regina King in ‘Watchmen’ (Photo Credit: HBO)

Emmy-winner at the 71st Annual Primetime Emmys Ramy Youssef (Ramy) joked about the new method of delivering the awards by tweeting “when you lose the Emmy,” after a person in a hazmat suit seemed to wave goodbye when Youssef lost his category to Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek). 

Other highlights of the night include Watchmen making history as first comic-book adaptation to earn top Emmy – Outstanding Limited Series. Recent NYFA guest speaker Nicole Kassell served as a director and producer for the acclaimed and decorated series. 

(L-R) Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox

There was also a brief F.R.I.E.N.D.S reunion with Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, and Jennifer Aniston, who reunited to show support for Aniston’s nomination for Apple TV+ original The Morning Show. Aniston’s co-star, Billy Crudup, ended up nabbing Apple TV+’s first Emmy Award for Crudup’s win for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

Tyler Perry was recognized for his incredible contribution to shaping television and his humanitarian efforts as the first individual to receive the Emmys Governor’s Award since 2014. Julia Garner wins the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series again for her role in hit Netflix series Ozark. Succession‘s Andrij Parekh,an Indian-Ukranian director wins plaudits for his Emmys acceptance speech:

“I want to dedicate this Emmy to all the kids whose names like mine are difficult to pronounce. To those who don’t look like their classmates & are defined as outsiders – as hyphenated Americans & not simply just as Americans. This is proof that you belong.” –Andrij Parekh

Topping off the night with the most wins was Canadian comedy series Schitt’s Creek with nine statuettes overall, breaking a record previously held by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which became the most awarded comedy in a single year with its eight wins in 2019; those wins included Creative Arts Emmys. According to Gold Derby, no comedy prior to Schitt’s Creek had won all seven comedy categories at the main ceremony. The show is also reportedly the first comedy to win all four comedy-acting categories in a single year, per AwardsWatch

Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek) accepts Emmy award (Photo Credit: ABC)

Schitt’s Creek actor and co-creator Dan Levy shouted out NYFA Alum Issa Rae in his Emmys speech for best comedy writing and said: “I want to recognize Issa Rae and the writers on Insecure for writing some of the funniest, most heartfelt television of the year.” The NYFA Filmmaking alum, who was nominated for her second Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy for Insecure, recalled her first Hollywood pitch experience during the telecast, where she shared how a studio executive attempted to tell her what Black audiences wanted to see on television. Read more here

During the “In Memoriam” segment of the evening, H.E.R. sang in memory of all the brilliant talents we’ve lost his year, including Chadwick Boseman, Regis Philbin, and NYFA alum Naya Rivera.

To top off the night, Euphoria actress (and now Emmy-Winner) Zendaya set a record as the youngest person to win the best lead actress in a drama category for her role as Rue in the A24/HBO drama. This was her first-ever Emmy nomination and win, and it’s not likely to be her last. 

View the full list of this year’s winners below:

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek – Winner
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

Don Cheadle, Black Monday
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Ramy Youssef, Ramy

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek – Winner
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
Christina Applegate, Dead To Me
Linda Cardellini, Dead To Me
Issa Rae, Insecure
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES

Schitt’s Creek – Winner
Curb Your Enthusiasm

Dead To Me
Insecure
The Good Place
The Kominsky Method
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

What We Do In The Shadows

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR FOR A COMEDY SERIES 

Schitt’s Creek, Andrew Cividina & Daniel Levy – Winner
Modern Family, Gail Mancuso
Ramy, Ramy Youssef
The Great, Matt Shakman
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amy Sherman-Palladino
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Daniel Palladino
Will & Grace, James Burrows

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES

Succession – Winner
Better Call Saul

The Crown
The Handmaid’s Tale
The Mandalorian
Stranger Things
Killing Eve
Ozark

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True – Winner
Hugh Jackman, Bad Education

Jeremy Pope, Hollywood
Paul Mescal, Normal People
Jeremy Irons, Watchmen

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Regina King, Watchmen – Winner
Kerry Washington, Little Fires Everywhere   

Cate Blanchett, Mrs. America  
Octavia Spencer, Self Made: Inspired By The Life Of Madam C.J. Walker 
Shira Haas, Unorthodox 

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Watchmen – Winner
Dylan McDermott, Hollywood
Jim Parsons, Hollywood 

Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend 
Jovan Adepo, Watchmen 
Louis Gossett Jr., Watchmen

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Uzo Adub, Mrs. America – Winner
Holland Taylor, Hollywood

Margo Martindale, Mrs. America
Tracey Ullman, Mrs. America
Toni Collette, Unbelievable
Jean Smart, Watchmen

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek – Winner
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
William Jackson Harper, The Good Place 
Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
Sterling K. Brown, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maise
Mahershala Ali, Ramy
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek – Winner
Betty Gilpin, GLOW

D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place
Yvonne Orji, Insecure
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Jeremy Strong, Succession – Winner
Steve Carell, The Morning Show

Jason Bateman, Ozark 
Billy Porter, Pose
Brian Cox, Succession
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Zendaya, Euphoria – Winner
Olivia Colman, The Crown

Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
Laura Linney, Ozark

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Billy Crudup, The Morning Show  – Winner
Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul 

Bradley Whitford The Handmaid’s Tale
Mark Duplass, The Morning Show
Nicholas Braun, Succession
Kieran Culkin, Succession 
Matthew Macfadyen, Succession
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Julia Garner, Ozark – Winner
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies

Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown
Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale
Fiona Shaw, Killing Ev
Sarah Snook, Succession
Thandie Newton, Westworld

OUTSTANDING SHORT FORM NONFICTION OR REALITY SERIES

National Geographic Presents Cosmos: Creating Possible Worlds – Winner
Between The Scenes – The Daily Show

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee Presents: Pandemic Video Diaries 
Pose: Identity, Family, Community
RuPaul’s Drag Race Out Of The Closet

OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver – Winner
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

OUTSTANDING VARIETY SKETCH SERIES

Saturday Night Live – Winner
A Black Lady Sketch Show

Drunk History

OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE

Bad Education – Winner
American Son

Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings: These Old Bones
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES

Watchmen – Winner
Little Fires Everywhere

Mrs. America
Unbelievable
Unorthodox

OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY OR NONFICTION SERIES

The Last Dance – Winner
American Masters
Hillary
McMillion$ 
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem And Madness 

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Published on: September 21, 2020

Filled Under: Entertainment News, Student & Alumni Spotlights

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