Well, holy Schitt.
At the top of the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, host Jimmy Kimmel had to mention that standards and practices were forcing the show to put up the title card for Schitt’s Creek every time he mentioned the name to avoid the shit/Schitt confusion with the FCC. Be it true or not (it wasn’t as later proved), it was definitely a bellwether for the night as the final season of the little Canadian comedy import went on to make a clean sweep of the evening, winning all seven categories it was nominated in: Comedy Series, Writing and Directing (both for the series finale “Happy Ending) and all four acting trophies. This marked the first time in history a comedy series or drama series at had achieved that acting feat, much less closing the deal with the rest. In all, Schitt’s Creek took home 9 Emmys, the most for any comedy series in its final season and the most for any comedy in a single year. Show creator Daniel Levy earned four of those Emmys himself in four separate categories, tying him with Amy Sherman-Palladino in 2018 for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Moira Demos in 2016 for Making a Murderer for most wins by an individual in a single year.
Succession didn’t fare quite as well but still won Drama Series, Directing (“Hunting”), Writing (“This Is Not For Tears”) and Lead Actor for Jeremy Strong. The show had earlier won Guest Actress (Cherry Jones), Casting and Picture Editing for a total of 7. Strong’s win broke a 9-year streak in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category where the only winners had come from shows in their first or final seasons. This year, only Steve Carell fit that bill but he was sent home, well, stayed home, empty-handed for the 10th time.
Watchmen, which was expected to possibly sweep like Schitt’s Creek did, still took home a healthy 11 Emmy Awards, more than any program, including the fourth for Regina King (her second in lead), just two years after her Oscar win. Newcomer Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was named Outstanding Supporting Actor, besting two of his own co-stars. Musicians Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross had won Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special on night four of the Creative Arts Emmys, putting them one letter away from EGOT, just missing a T.
A healthy dose of surprise wins came, as they always do at the Emmys with Maria Schrader topping Watchmen, Mrs. America and Normal People for the Limited Series directing win. Lead Actor in a Limited Series went to Mark Ruffalo in I Know This Much Is True, a surprise (at least for me) since the last time a winner for lead actor in a miniseries was the series’ sole nominee happened in 1993. Last time a winner came from a series not nominated for outstanding miniseries was 1996. His win helped push HBO to 30 Emmy wins total, the most for any network this year.
Zendaya won Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Euphoria and in the process became the youngest actress in Emmy history to do and only the second Black actress ever to win. Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder) was first, just five years ago.
Speaking of Black acting winners, when the nominations were announced and it was revealed that 35% of all acting nominations, it was going to be interesting to see how many of those nominations and in what categories would pan out with wins. Black winners went 0/4 in the main Comedy categories where Dan Levy beat out five Black nominees but three of the four Guest categories went to Black performers. Drama went 1/4, Limited Series went 3/4 with Uzo Aduba winning her third Emmy, both Short Form acting categories went to Black actors and the Voice-Over and Host for a Reality or Competition Program did as well, where RuPaul won his 5th consecutive Emmy. These wins were highlighted by multiple clip pieces throughout the show featuring conversations about opportunity and inclusion by Issa Rae, Lena Waithe and America Ferrera.
Tyler Perry was given the Governors Award for his Tyler Perry Foundation, the first time the award has been given since 2014. Oprah Winfrey and Chris Rock narrated the story of Perry’s career from living in his Geo Metro to being a multi-billionaire with entire studio in his name.
RuPaul’s Drag Race won its third consecutive Competition Program Emmy and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver won its 5th in a row for Variety Talk Series, just one behind The Late Show with David Letterman for 2nd place of all time. That prize goes to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which earned 11.
So how was the actual show? After a bit of a bumpy start that included host Kimmel talking a previous Emmy audience then cutting to reveal no one in the Staples Center, it hit its stride after overlong pre-envelope opening moments with Tracee Ellis Ross and Jennifer Aniston, the latter whom almost burned down the stadium in a bit with a fire extinguisher.
To make it all work, 130 cameras, lighting and boom mic are set up with the nominees, who are scattered over 10 countries and 20 cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Tel Aviv, London and Berlin.
Throughout the show, the Television Academy went out of its way to highlight essential workers like nurses and farmers who have made our ability to live during the coronavirus pandemic viable, often times at risk of their own health. It was announced at the beginning the winner announcements that every show that won an Emmy would be committing to $100K donations, per win, to No Kid Hungry and by the show’s end it was revealed they had raised $2.3M dollars with an extra $500K added by the Television Academy.
Grammy winner H.E.R. performed during the “In Memoriam” segment, singing “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
The 72nd Emmy Awards were broadcast live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on ABC, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and produced by Done+Dusted, Reginald Hudlin and KIMMELOT. Presenters and surprise guests included Anthony Anderson, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Ty Burrell, LaVerne Cox, America Ferrera, Morgan Freeman, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Ken Jeong, Mindy Kaling, Tatiana Maslany, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bob Newhart, D-Nice, Randall Park, Issa Rae, RuPaul, Jason Sudeikis, Gabrielle Union, Lena Waithe, J.J. Watt and Oprah Winfrey.
How did we do as predictors? Check out our updated lists below.
Here is the complete list of Primetime Emmy Awards from tonight.
- OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES: Schitt’s Creek
- OUTSTANDING COMPETITION PROGRAM: RuPaul’s Drag Race
- OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES: Succession
- OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES: Watchmen
- OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
- OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES: Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
- OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES: Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
- OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES: Jeremy Strong, Succession
- OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES: Zendaya, Euphoria
- OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE: Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True
- OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE: Regina King, Watchmen
- OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES: Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek
- OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES: Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek
- OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES: Billy Crudup, The Morning Show
- OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
- OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Watchmen
- OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE: Uzo Aduba, Mrs. America
- OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES: Schitt’s Creek (“Happy Ending”)
- OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES: Succession (“Hunting”)
- OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL: Maria Schrader, Unorthodox
- OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES: Schitt’s Creek (“Happy Ending”)
- OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES: Succession (“This Is Not For Tears”)
- OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A LIMITED SERIES MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL: Watchmen (“This Extraordinary Being”)