The 5 must-see moments from the virtual 2020 Emmy Awards

Tribune Content Agency

The 2020 Emmy Awards were about as 2020 as it gets — featuring lots of Zoom victory speeches, glamorous at-home watch parties and, of course, plenty of COVID-19 safety protocols.

Hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel from a mostly empty Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards were truly a show you had to see to believe.

But in case you weren’t able to watch the virtual ceremony live, here are some of the major moments you missed, from Zendaya’s historic — and euphoric — lead actress win to “Schitt’s Creek’s” record-setting comedy sweep.

Kimmel monologues to some cardboard

Host Kimmel kicked off “the pand-Emmys” in front of what appeared to be a full audience that was crowded enough to cause major secondhand anxiety amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Thankfully, the crowd footage was simply plucked from previous ceremonies, as Kimmel finally revealed his real “audience” at the Staples Center: a bunch of cardboard cutouts of the nominees — and one human, Jason Bateman.

“Of course I’m here all alone. … This isn’t a MAGA rally,” Kimmel quipped before gesturing to the celeb cutouts. “You can see we have Regina King, Hugh Jackman, Jason Bateman, Meryl Streep — wait a minute. Go back one. Jason? Jason … I saw your eyes moving. Yes, they did move.”

“Mind your business, Kimmel,” the “Ozark” star replied before eventually filling his seat with a cardboard version of his younger self. “This is a big night for me.”

‘Schitt’s Creek,’ Regina King and Zendaya make Emmys history

“Schitt’s Creek” won a Schitt ton of awards on Sunday — so many, in fact, the cast achieved an Emmys first by sweeping every major prize in the comedy bracket: lead actress (Catherine O’Hara), lead actor (Eugene Levy), supporting actor (Dan Levy), supporting actress (Annie Murphy), writing (Dan Levy), directing (Dan Levy and Andrew Cividino) and comedy series.

“The internet’s about to turn on me,” Dan Levy joked while accepting the award for supporting actor at the cast’s private watch party in Toronto, Canada.

“This has been the greatest experience of my life. … This is a night to remember, and I cannot thank the academy enough for their generosity. This is completely overwhelming.”

Levy and his “Schitt’s Creek” family weren’t the only ones who made history this year. Actress Regina King also tied screen icon Alfre Woodard for the most acting Emmys won by a Black performer with her lead actress victory for “Watchmen.”

During her acceptance speech, King encouraged Americans to practice their civic duty and honored a fellow legend: the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“I would be remiss not to mention that — being a part of a show is prescient as ‘Watchmen’ — have a voting plan,” King said at the end of her remarks. “Vote up the ballot, please. Go to … it is very important. Be a good human. Rest in power, RBG. Thank you.”

And finally, “Euphoria” star Zendaya was in a state of, well, euphoria, after becoming the youngest performer ever to win the Emmy for lead actress in a drama series.

“I know this feels like a really, really weird time to be celebrating,” Zendaya said in her speech. “But I just want to say that there is hope in the young people out there. I know that our TV show doesn’t always feel like a great example of that, but there is hope in the young people.”

Putting the ‘statement’ in fashion statement

Several nominees donned looks with a message on Sunday, raising awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement and the upcoming presidential election.

King and fellow Emmy winner Uzo Aduba (“Mrs. America”) both wore shirts honoring Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in March. And “Insecure” star Yvonne Orji arrived with a BLM fist shaved into the left side of her head.

Later this week, the Emmy-night outfits of Aduba, Kerry Washington, Mahershala Ali, Tracee Ellis Ross, Mark Ruffalo, Nicholas Braun, Issa Rae, Samira Wiley and more celebrities will be auctioned off to raise money for the nonpartisan voter registration organization When We All Vote.

Emmys are delivered, quarantine-style

So, how does one receive an Emmy while quarantining at home amid a pandemic? With a special delivery from someone in a full hazmat suit, of course.

Early in Sunday’s broadcast, a prerecorded video short saw various TV academy interns making house visits to the nominees while wearing excessive personal protective equipment.

And in case you were wondering if it was all just a stunt for the camera, “Ramy” mastermind Ramy Youssef later shared a hilariously absurd video of his delivery person waving through his window and walking away with a trophy in their hazmat gear after Eugene Levy bested Youssef for lead actor in a comedy series.

“When you lose the Emmy,” Youssef captioned the viral clip, which has racked up 4.3 million views on Twitter.

‘Watchmen’ writer Cord Jefferson thanks his therapist

While accepting the Emmy for writing for a limited series alongside “Watchmen” creator Damon Lindelof, Jefferson embodied the ultimate 2020 mood by thanking his therapist.

“Thank you to my therapist, Ian,” Jefferson said. “I am a different man than I was two years ago. I love you. You have changed my life in many ways. Therapy should be free in this country.

“And lastly, I think I would be remiss if we didn’t recognize all the men and women who died in the Tulsa Massacre in 1921, the original sin of our show. This country neglects and for gets its own history, at its own peril, often. And I think that we should never forget that. So, thank you so much for this honor.”

Times staff writers Julissa James and Diego Medrano contributed to this report.


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