‘Schitt’s Creek,’ ‘Watchmen’ win big at virtual PandEmmys

‘Schitt’s Creek’ cast members arrive for the 71st Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles September 22, 2019. — AFP pic

LOS ANGELES, Sept 21 — Quirky feel-good show Schitt’s Creek and Watchmen swept the Emmy awards yesterday in a live show where the coronavirus pandemic meant most celebrities took part from their sofas and backyards dressed in a variety of gowns, hoodies and sleepwear.

“Hello, and welcome to the PandEmmys!” said Jimmy Kimmel, opening the show, which had multiple skits and jokes about life under lockdown.

Schitt’s Creek, a sleeper hit on the small Pop TV network about a wealthy family that is forced to live in a rundown motel, won seven Emmys, including best comedy series and acting awards for Canadian stars Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy and Annie Murphy.

It was the first time in the Emmy Awards’ 72 years that a comedy won all seven categories in the same year, organisers said.

Levy thanked his son Daniel, who won for writing, directing and as a supporting actor, for transforming the show “into a celebration of inclusivity, a castigation of homophobia and a declaration of the power of love.”

The Schitt’s Creek winners got their trophies delivered to a restaurant in Ontario, Canada, where they had gathered to celebrate, by a person dressed in a custom black-and-white hazmat suit, designed to look like a tuxedo.

The coronavirus pandemic meant no red carpet and no physical audience for the show, which was broadcast live on ABC. Instead, producers sent camera kits and microphones to all the nominees, scattered in 125 places around the world, who chose how and where they wanted to be seen.

“It seems frivolous and unnecessary to do this during a global pandemic,” Kimmel said.

“What’s happening tonight is not important. It’s not going to stop Covid. It’s not going to put out the fires, but it’s fun. And right now we need fun. … This has been a miserable year. It’s been a year of division, injustice (and) disease,” he added.

Not everyone was appearing remotely. Actresses Jennifer Aniston and Tracee Ellis Ross were among presenters who made it to the Emmys studio set in Los Angeles, keeping a safe distance.

HBO’s alternative reality show Watchmen, infused with racial themes, won for best limited series, while actress Regina King won for her performance as the show’s kick-ass police detective and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II took best supporting actor. Watchmen, which went into yesterday’s ceremony with a leading 26 nods, also won for writing.

Creator Damon Lindeloff dedicated the Emmy to the victims and survivors of a 1921 massacre of the Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which partly inspired the series.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was named best variety talk series for the fifth successive year, and the British comedian accepted wearing a red sweatshirt.

The last awards to be presented will be for drama, where Netflix, which dominated nominations with a record 160 total nods, is hoping thriller Ozark will bring the streaming platform its first best drama series Emmy.

HBO’s Succession, the wickedly juicy saga of a fractious media family, may thwart Ozark, despite not having been on the air since late 2019. — Reuters