How This Year’s Unlikely Emmys Saved Awards Season With Its Home Setup

How This Year’s Unlikely Emmys Saved Awards Season With Its Home Setup


“What could possibly go wrong?” Jimmy Kimmel, the host for this year’s history-making Emmy Awards, asks the empty crowd at Staples Center–as he addresses the ones at home. A perfectly imperfect awards ceremony, the 2020 Emmy Awards have just set the standards of what awards season looks like in the time of a pandemic.

RELATED: Emmys 2020: The Best Dressed Celebrities at the Red Carpet—From Home, That Is

Woven together seamlessly at times–and imperfectly in others, the production of the first major awards ceremony amidst the COVID season brought authenticity and newness to the table, singlehandedly saving awards season while practicing social distancing. In fact, the producers of the Emmys knew, expected, and even hoped for the show’s flaws, if anything, to ground the audience of the current situation and somehow remind everyone of the world’s current crises. And they’ve done it successfully, through bringing light to simple joys in celebrating television; which has always been the core of the television industry.

This year’s Emmy awards also provided a platform to talk about something important; from the Black Lives Matter movement, justice, to voting. Even throughout the show, there was a nod to the current situation, by including emergency room workers, a truck driver, a UPS driver, a teacher, and a rancher to present the awards. A fitting celebration for the ordinary people, the front liners, who also deserve the recognition for what they’ve done to keep our lives going despite the pandemic.

The most bizarre setup of it all was the trophy presenters in hazmat suits on standby outside the nominees’ house. According to ABC, Trophy presenters “may be visiting some of the winners live,” and one of the most asked questions was how the nominees wouldn’t get spoiled about winning if they were going to be handed their awards in the comfort of their homes. A video captured by Ramy star Ramy Youssef perfectly put this in perspective. In Ramy’s video, captioned “when you lose the emmy,” a person dressed in a heavy-duty hazmat suit is seen holding a trophy and waving outside his window, before walking away. Hilarious, but also a bit cold, this is just a glimpse of the many challenges of making the show’s production look as live as possible.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the Emmys this year is the behind-the-scenes snippets shared on social media. Instead of seeing the best-dressed celebrities hanging out backstage or chatting with each other during commercial breaks, we get to see these A-list celebrities in their natural habitats. Further making their speeches rawer than usual, it’s being able to skip the walk towards the stage, it’s losing the time allotment for speeches, and giving the winners freedom to speak in gratitude and with grace. Specifically, Zendaya, the winner of the Best Actress in a Drama trophy, who had her family behind her upon accepting her award for her first major role in Euphoria. Eloquently emphasizing the hope for young people, it’s incredibly symbolic as she makes history to become the youngest lead drama actress winner.

All in all, the 2020 Emmys have triumphed in breaking traditions, successfully getting through the challenges and restraints amidst COVID-19, and setting a new bar for openness in television and awards season. Though imperfect at times, the 2020 Emmy Awards deserve the applause.

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