The COVID-19 Primetime Emmy Awards: The Rundown

By Karina Wensjoe


A night usually acclaimed for their high-end red carpet wardrobe, dazzling jewelry, and a luxurious start-strutted audience, the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards took a different turn this year due to the Coronavirus’ consequential strike on the country. The show made the most of the pandemic by telecasting all nominees and presenters, with late-night personal, Jimmy Kimmel, as the host.


The notable television award show became a socially distanced extravaganza that televised over 100 nominees from the comfort of their own homes, where racing Kia's made their way to deliver the winner’s award. With all the fun and giddy feelings that come with watching award shows, The Emmys took a distressing hit by scoring the lowest ratings in the show’s history. The Television Academy faced a downfall of only 6.1 million viewers, a 12% decrease from last year's viewership. Although the event added the usual humorous agenda, the ceremony was able to administer a virtually fun time by not straying away from the seriousness of the pandemic itself. The Coronavirus is not currently the most appealing topic for viewers to watch when the pandemic has already filled up our entire livelihood. Most audiences would want to forget living in the aching pandemic and looked forward to the ceremony as an escape. After all that’s what the Emmys are all about: Television. While raising awareness for the pandemic is greatly encouraged and the viewership being dismantled, the show still went on as an entertaining display for television enthusiasts.


The show’s nominees received a compilation of prominent wins. “Schitt's Creek” hit a record-breaking sweep taking several awards in the most successful categories of the night: Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Director for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series.


Ravishing Zendaya Coleman, 24, was notably the youngest person to win an Emmy in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category for her performance as troubled but bittersweet, Rue, in “Euphoria.” Her genuinity shined in her acceptance speech addressing the younger generation, “I just want to say that there is hope in the young people out there,” Coleman said. “To say to all our peers out there doing the work in the streets: I see you, I admire you, I thank you.”


The awards ceremony brought to light the fight for justice regarding the Black Lives Matter movement with nominees wearing “Say her Name” and “Breonna Taylor'' t-shirts as a call for action. “Watchmen” star, Regina King, who won for Outstanding Limited Series, dedicated her acceptance speech to the show’s message on racial violence and how it correlates with the societal issues we’re currently experiencing.


Segmented interviews in between the ceremony included several noteworthy stars, such as Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, and America Ferrera, all who reflected on the importance of diversity and talent being included on television.


Singer/songwriter H.E.R. added to the list of top moments with an emotional performance of Prince’s “Nothing Compares to you” for the In Memoriam segment. Nya Rivera was the first commemorated artist and the piece ended with a clip of Chadwick Boseman giving a powerful speech, “It is the reason why you are on the planet at this particular time in history. The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”


Commercial breaks were just as entertaining. The Emmys provided viewers a glimpse of television’s next big Marvel Universe project, “WanadaVision” and other promotional videos for television shows ready to stream.


The Emmys without a doubt did not fail, or suffer from a technical malfunction for that matter, in performing the 72nd ceremony with cheer, social awareness, and lots of hand sanitizer. In kicking off the award shows season, the Emmys is just an example of how other ceremonies will most likely be performed. Although not the same, the escape needed from the situations occurring in our world as we speak can be turned off for just three hours to enjoy these talented stars accepting an award to demonstrate their drive and motivation in the television industry.


Karina Wensjoe is an editorial intern who is knowledgeable in all things travel, beauty, and sustainability.

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