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  • Matthew Porter

Emmy's Recap: 'Schitt's Creek' makes history and HBO sweeps

Eugene Levy (left) and Dan Levy (right) accepting their awards for Schitt’s Creek. Courtesy of ABC.


So here we are, Sunday, September, 20th, 2020: the first real grand Hollywood-style awards ceremony post COVID pandemic lockdown.

With so many pressing questions at this moment, awards shows certainly feel like the most trivial and least pertinent entities that should be privy to our attention, however, host Jimmy Kimmel presented a surprisingly compelling argument as to why maybe we needed a virtual night with our creatives-turned-socio-political-warriors after all.

The festivities began with a virtual monologue in which host Kimmel detailed how the evening’s proceedings would be conducted virtually across the world with Emmy representatives on location to hand off the golden trophies to the night’s winners.

Kimmel delivered a comically on brand monologue reminding us just how much we owe to all of the nominees and television as a whole for guiding and being there for us all as a shoulder to lean on throughout the last six months.

And in almost all too fittingly kismet Hollywood fashion, as expected the ever positive, hilarious, and love-filled “Schitt’s Creek” extravaganza began with a total of nine comedy award victories for cast and crew alike, sweeping the genre’s category.

The broadcast was in fact so Dan Levy heavy (a phrase I’m coining as a win for us all) in the first 20 minutes, that the sheer gratuity of his presence during the telecast left the ‘Outstanding Supporting Actor’ winner quipping,“The internet is about to turn on me”

That said, while “Schitt’s” the hit Canadian comedy that just finished its final season, which hits Netflix next month, was inarguably a well-deserving show with an even more deserving cast, the overlooking of so many other brilliant works and performances in the entire comedy category this past season did seem to be creating an unfortunate ambiance of what was to come for the night.

One that was almost immediately reset for the better.

Not only would Regina King make history shortly thereafter by tying the record for most Emmy wins by a black performer for the HBO limited series “Watchmen” (the show would also see a supporting acting nod for costar Yahya Abdul-Mateen and go on to receive Best Limited Series among nine other awards), the evening’s tone was set by King and Emmy darling “Watchmen” with a promising amount of representation and acknowledgement of so many important social movements throughout.

From “Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson mock-forcing Jimmy to chant ‘Black Lives Matter!' with him, to Tyler Perry being honored by the likes of Chris Rock and Oprah Winfrey with the Primetime Emmy Governors Award, to countless award winners delivering impassioned social issue speeches ranging in subject matter from the 2020 elections to BLM to Mental Health to LGBTQIA+ causes etc.

Despite who went home with the Emmy gold, the novelty of an awards show dealing in the socio-political arena felt, for the first time in a long time, far more than hollow virtue signaling and, rather, at long-last some kind of reckoning of a powerfully impactful entertainment conglomerate putting its money where it’s mouth was.

Not only highlighting black artists throughout, consistently shining invaluable spotlights on up-and-coming black/poc to watch, but also setting a record for most nominations given to black actors in a season the 72nd annual Primetime Emmys felt far more vital and alive than it had any right to for a silly virtual awards show in the middle of a global pandemic.

Some other notable wins came with Zendaya taking home an Emmy for her captivating performance in HBO’s “Euphoria,” Mark Ruffalo nabbing an ‘Outstanding Lead Actor award’ for his double duty limited series “I Know This Much Is True,” and “Succession" did predictably well with four total grabs, including the night’s coveted prize of ‘Outstanding Drama Series.’

Needless to say: HBO cleaned house.

With very few surprise victories a couple managed to crop up right near the end of the show with Maria Schrader picking up a win in the highly contested ‘Outstanding Director for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special’ category for her work on “Unorthodox,” a little known apparent hidden gem of the evening. But perhaps the biggest shock of the night came when Julia Garner beat out the likes of Meryl Streep and Laura Dern in the ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress’ category for Netflix’s highly lauded “Ozark.”

Throw in a heart-wrenching performance by H.E.R. during the ’In Memoriam’ slideshow, painstakingly reminding us of just how many icons we’ve lost during this already unbearable year everyone anticipating of course the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman, whose tribute came at the very end of the number with an excerpt from his now famous Howard University commencement speech overlaying the late actor’s image sprinkle throughout some clever and fun prerecorded skits/award announcers/bits, including a mini “Friends” reunion zoom call with some of the cast, tack on the silver lining of an already uplifting night being Kimmel informing viewers at home that the program ended up raising as a whole $2.8 million for the charity ‘No Kid Hungry,’ and there you have an impressive showing for a little ole awards show.

Musings aside, many winners of the night noted aptly: this was weird. None of us knew what to expect going into the 72nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards, during what has certainly felt like anything but a year to celebrate.

Yet somehow, someway, against all odds, the 2020 Emmy’s found a way to make it work and in doing so provided a welcome momentary distraction and, dare I say, glimpse of hope for what the future of TV entertainment can and should continue to be.

Provided we live to see it.


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate (Dead to Me)

Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

Linda Cardellini (Dead to Me)

WINNER: Catherine O'Hara (Schitt's Creek)

Issa Rae (Insecure)

Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)

Don Cheadle (Black Monday)

Ted Danson (The Good Place)

Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method)

WINNER: Eugene Levy (Schitt's Creek)

Ramy Youssef (Ramy)

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Michael Schur ("Whenever You're Ready," The Good Place)

Tony McNamara ("The Great," The Great)

WINNER: Daniel Levy ("Happy Ending," Schitt's Creek)

David West Read ("The Presidential Suite," Schitt's Creek)

Sam Johnson, Chris Marcil ("Collaboration," What We Do in the Shadows)

Paul Simms ("Ghost," What We Do in the Shadows)

Stefani Robinson ("On the Run," What We Do in the Shadows)

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

Matt Shakman ("The Great," The Great)

Amy Sherman-Palladino ("It's Comedy or Cabbage," The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

Daniel Palladino ("Marvelous Radio," The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

Gail Mancuso ("Finale, Part 2," Modern Family)

Ramy Youssef ("," Ramy)

WINNER: Andrew Cividino and Dan Levy ("Happy Ending," Schitt's Creek)

James Burrows ("We Love Lucy," Will & Grace)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

Mahershala Ali (Ramy)

Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live)

WINNER: Daniel Levy (Schitt's Creek)

William Jackson Harper (The Good Place)

Alan Arkin (The Kominsky Method)

Sterling K. Brown (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Betty Gilpin (GLOW)

Yvonne Orji (Insecure)

Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)

Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live)

WINNER: Annie Murphy (Schitt's Creek)

D'Arcy Carden (The Good Place)

Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

Marin Hinkle (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

Outstanding Comedy Series

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Dead to Me


WINNER: Schitt's Creek

The Good Place

The Kominsky Method

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

What We Do in the Shadows

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

WINNER: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Cate Blanchett (Mrs. America)

Shira Haas (Unorthodox)

WINNER: Regina King (Watchmen)

Octavia Spencer (Self Made)

Kerry Washington (Little Fires Everywhere)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Jeremy Irons (Watchmen)

Hugh Jackman (Bad Education)

Paul Mescal (Normal People)

Jeremy Pope (Hollywood)

WINNER: Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True)

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

Tanya Barfield ("Shirley," Mrs. America)

Sally Rooney and Alice Birch ("Episode 3," Normal People)

Susannah Grant, Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman ("Episode 1," Unbelievable)

Anna Winger ("Part 1," Unorthodox)

WINNER: Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson ("This Extraordinary Being," Watchmen)

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

Lynn Shelton ("Find a Way," Little Fires Everywhere)

Lenny Abrahamson ("Episode 5," Normal People)

WINNER: Maria Schrader (Unorthodox)

Nicole Kassell ("It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice," Watchmen)

Steph Green ("Little Fear of Lightning," Watchmen)

Stephen Williams ("This Extraordinary Being," Watchmen)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Dylan McDermott (Hollywood)

Jim Parsons (Hollywood)

Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend)

WINNER: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Watchmen)

Jovan Adepo (Watchmen)

Louis Gossett Jr. (Watchmen)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Holland Taylor (Hollywood)

WINNER: Uzo Aduba (Mrs. America)

Margo Martindale (Mrs. America)

Tracey Ullman (Mrs. America)

Toni Collette (Unbelievable)

Jean Smart (Watchmen)

Outstanding Limited Series

Little Fires Everywhere

Mrs. America



WINNER: Watchmen

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

The Masked Singer

Nailed It!

WINNER: RuPaul's Drag Race

Top Chef

The Voice

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman (Ozark)

Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)

Steve Carell (The Morning Show)

Brian Cox (Succession)

Billy Porter (Pose)

WINNER: Jeremy Strong (Succession)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show)

Olivia Colman (The Crown)

Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)

Laura Linney (Ozark)

Sandra Oh (Killing Eve)

WINNER: Zendaya (Euphoria)

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Thomas Schnauz ("Bad Choice Road," Better Call Saul)

Gordon Smith ("Bagman," Better Call Saul)

Peter Morgan ("Aberfan," The Crown)

Chris Mundy ("All In," Ozark)

John Shiban ("Boss Fight," Ozark)

Miki Johnson ("Fire Pink," Ozark)

WINNER: Jesse Armstrong ("This is Not for Tears," Succession)

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Benjamin Caron ("Aberfan," The Crown)

Jessica Hobbs ("Cri de Coeur," The Crown)

Lesli Linka Glatter ("Prisoners of War," Homeland)

Mimi Leder ("The Interview," The Morning Show)

Alik Sakharov ("Fire Pink," Ozark)

Ben Semanoff ("Su Casa Es Mi Casa," Ozark)

WINNER: Andrij Parekh ("Hunting," Succession)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul)

Nicholas Braun (Succession)

Kieran Culkin (Succession)

Matthew Macfadyen (Succession)

Bradley Whitford (The Handmaid's Tale)

WINNER: Billy Crudup (The Morning Show)

Mark Duplass (The Morning Show)

Jeffrey Wright (Westworld)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Laura Dern (Big Little Lies)

Meryl Streep (Big Little Lies)

Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve)

WINNER: Julia Garner (Ozark)

Sarah Snook (Succession)

Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown)

Samira Wiley (The Handmaid's Tale)

Thandie Newton (Westworld)

Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul

The Crown

The Handmaid's Tale

Killing Eve

The Mandalorian


Stranger Things

WINNER: Succession


Matthew Porter is a guest columnist and film critic for You can follow him on Twitter (@Mattttttttthew) and hear him weekly on the PICKS and PANS podcast.


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