There’s not much that anyone feels sure about right now, as the world stands on the brink — and in the midst — of all manner of disasters. One thing we can all agree on: It’s a really, really weird time to throw an awards ceremony. But, the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards went on anyway, in spite of Covid-19, widespread political unrest, and wildfires still burning due east of the Staples Center.
And a strange show it was, with social-distancing safety measures making the usual in-person, tuxes-and-cocktails affair all but impossible. Veteran host Jimmy Kimmel emceed the ceremony all by his lonesome, backed by a bank of screens piping in videos of the nominees and their families (and, in the best-case scenario, their pets). While some presenters appeared in person, most of them were virtual or pre-taped. It made for a surreal experience, but one that was oddly comforting in this era of nonstop upheaval. The world may be coming apart at the seams, but the show still goes on.
And there was plenty of TV to celebrate, plus a wide-open field after Emmy darlings Game of Thrones, Veep, and Fleabag all ended their runs in 2019. With the exception of a few upsets, most of the wins were big ones: Onetime underdog Schitt’s Creek took every category it was nominated for; Watchmen, which garnered the most nominations this year, snagged the most Limited Series trophies; and Succession proved that Emmy voters still love HBO series about cutthroat power struggles. It was also a big year for inclusivity: There were a record number of black nominees and winners this year, including Regina King, RuPaul, and Zendaya, who became the youngest person to ever win for Lead Actress in a Drama.
Here are the best, worst, and what-is-even-happening moments from what may be the most unusual Emmys to date.