SINGAPORE – At the 2020 Emmy Awards, it was time for a show that never received much recognition to shine.
“The Internet is gonna turn on me,” said a sheepish Schitt’s Creek co-creator and actor Dan Levy as he took one of the seven Primetime Emmys in total the Canadian sitcom won (from 15 nominations; the show also won two Creative Arts Emmys) on Sunday night in Los Angeles (Sept 21 morning Singapore time). This is the most number of Emmy wins in a single season for a comedy series.
Not bad for a show that only began showing up on the Emmy radar after its fifth season in 2019, when it garnered four nominations and no wins.
This year, after its sixth and final season, the sitcom about a wealthy family forced to live in a small town after going broke won Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Comedic Actor for Eugene Levy, Outstanding Lead Comedic Actress for Catherine O’Hara, among others in performing, writing and directing.
The sweep was not quite an upset as the final season earned praise from critics and was strongly tipped to be a big winner in a turbulent year that many felt needed a show that was sunny and accepting of diversity. Also, since its debut on American Netflix in 2017, it had built a fan base that the Emmy voters, who in the past have leaned towards prestige comedies such as Amazon Prime Video’s The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, could not afford to ignore.
Abigger surprise was the comeback of cable giant HBO.
The streaming service Netflix swaggered into Emmy season with 160 nominations, giving it the biggest lead it has ever enjoyed against traditional Emmy powerhouse HBO, with its 107 nods.
However, wins by HBO’s superhero series Watchmen (11 awards) and corporate dynasty drama Succession (7 awards) helped push the cable channel to the top.
Including its Creative Arts wins, HBO has 30 Emmys versus Netflix’s 21, putting them at No. 1 and 2 positions respectively in the studio rankings.
Streaming service Apple TV+, launched in the United States last year, picked up its first Primetime Emmy when Billy Crudup won Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role in workplace drama The Morning Show. Earlier last week, another streaming service launched in 2019, Disney+, picked up its first Emmys, in the Creative Arts categories which honour mainly technical achievements. It earned seven Emmys in total for its Star Wars spin-off series, The Mandalorian.
HBO received a boost to the top thanks in part to the shock win by Zendaya in the Best Actress in a Drama Series category – an honour now trending on social media.
The biracial actress, 24, became the youngest winner in the category after beating category favourites Laura Linney (crime thriller Ozark), Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show) and Olivia Colman (biographical drama The Crown).
Zendaya, who plays Rue on the series that gained controversy for addressing issues such as sex and drugs among high-schoolers, is also among the record number of black performers winning Emmys this year.
In what is being hailed as a breakthrough for diverse casting, a record-setting total of 11 black performers have won awards at the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmys. They include Uzo Aduba (Supporting Actress in a Limited Series, in the biographical Mrs America), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Supporting Actor in a Limited Series, Watchmen), Regina King (Lead Actress in a Limited Series, Watchmen) and RuPaul (Outstanding Reality Series).
72ND PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS WINNERS
Outstanding drama series
Outstanding limited Series
Outstanding comedy series
Outstanding lead actor in a limited series or TV movie
Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True)
Outstanding lead actress in a limited series or TV movie
Regina King (Watchmen) Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series
Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek)
Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series
Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek) Outstanding lead actor in a drama series
Jeremy Strong (Succession)
Outstanding lead actress in a drama series
Outstanding reality/competition series
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Outstanding variety talk series
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver