Television’s Biggest Night – Goes Digital
The Television Academy has presented the prestigious Emmy Awards to celebrate excellence in the field of television since 1949. Broadcasting from Los Angeles since inception, this award-show is one of the most popular in broadcasting, with its elegant gala, glamorous red carpet and celebrity presenters maintaining it as a firm public favourite for decades.
However, this year the award show was forced to move online – faced with the challenge of avoiding cancellation due to a California-wide ban on large gatherings. Although many skeptics felt the new digital format would pale in resemblance to the real thing, last night’s Emmy’s turned out to be a resounding success garnering millions of views and some heartwarming moments.
DDW takes a look at the top five highlights of the first-ever ‘online Emmys’:
Schitt’s Creek Swept Up
The Canadian series created by the father-son duo of Eugene and Dan Levy took the first six awards including: Outstanding Comedy Series, Lead Actor-Comedy Series (Eugene Levy), Lead Actress – Comedy Series (Catherine O’Hara), Supporting Actor-Comedy (Daniel Levy) and Supporting Actress – Comedy Series (Annie Murphy).
The sweep was a coop for the upstart show that has been largely ignored by the Academy in previous seasons. Particularly wonderful to watch was the ecstatic reactions of all nominated cast members as they leaped from their chairs on receiving the news. Dan Levy’s enthusiasm and energy immediately trended across the internet. He commented: “Our show, at its core, is about the transformational effects of love and acceptance, and that is something we need more of now than we’ve ever needed before.”
Jennifer Aniston Brought Friends
The Friends superstar made headlines as she helped host Jimmy Kimmel on ‘stage’ to read out some of the winners, put out a fire and then rush home to watch the rest of the awards along side her ex 1990’s cast mates Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow. The trio are part of a recurring series of appearances the Friends cast has made recently after they announced an upcoming (and much awaited) reunion episode.
Watching the awards from home, Aniston won hearts and minds by praising Kimmel and the Emmy’s team for delivering a world-class prime-time award show online.
Zendaya Made History
The 24 year-old star of HBO’s Euphoria made history with her win as Lead Actress in a Drama Series, marking only the second time in the award’s 70+ year history that the category is won by a black woman (the first was Viola Davis in 2015 for How To Get Away With Murder) and also making her youngest person ever to have won the prize.
The young actor’s ecstatic reaction went viral across the internet, with her family behind her in jubilant celebration. We can expect to see that happy moment captured in memes and gifs for many years to come.
The Watchmen Won Everything
HBO topped off the evening with a whopping 30 total Emmys, including 11 for the adaptation of 1980’s comic book series The Watchmen, based on the real-life events of the 1920s Tesla massacre which saw hundreds of successful black people in Tusla, Oklahoma slaughtered by white nationalists. HBO followed this winning streak with wins for Succession across the drama series categories, including the Best Drama Series award and Best Actor in a Dama for Jeremy Strong.
Jimmy Kimmel Stole The Show
Last but certainly not least – host Jimmy Kimmel delivered one of the most tactful, funny, charming and delicate performances of any host in recent years (previous hosts have been controversial and unpopular, to the extent that last year the awards ran without one). His work was commended for achieving levity in a difficult award show with no audience or human feedback. He joked “I’m up here all alone. Just like prom night” and wove in pre-recorded skits and a few call-in with a few of the nominees.
It is no doubt that these were historic Emmy Awards and that they may well be setting the precedent for a more digitally-focused future. Nonetheless, they were enjoyable and sure to make for dinner party conversation for the next few weeks. To give you the edge in those inevitable chats, we have included three incredible Emmys facts below:
*The Emmy takes its name from the “image-orthicon camera tube” or “immy” found in early television sets. The name was feminised to “Emmy” to complement the design chosen for the statuette which depicts a winged woman holding an atom. The wings “represent the muse of art and the atom and its electrons the science and technology of the new medium.”
*Before setting on the Emmy, 47 previous names and designs were proposed and rejected by Henry Lubcke, the third Television Academy president. The current design was made by television engineer Louis McManus, whose wife served as its model.
*In order to make the digital 2020 awards possible, a member of the Emmy’s team was sent to each nominees house or location wearing a full Hazmat suit and carrying the statue. If a nominee was announced as a winner, the team member would make themselves known and deliver the statue to the winner; conversely if the nominee did not win… the team member walked away with the statue in hand, as it happened to Ramy Youssef in this video:
For the full list of this year’s Emmy winners please see the LA Times here.