Cherishing the essential: how the PandEmmys turned into an intimate show

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It was just as good as expected, and maybe even a little bit more special!

What took place at Staples Center in LA yesterday night was a ceremony to remember. We all believed it was no different from the previous editions for a couple of minutes: witty jokes from the stage, the nominees laughing and smiling, background noises of a crowded room, and then – at the end of Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue – the camera cuts to an empty, silent, dark stadium. “This isn’t a MAGA rally; it’s the Emmys,” says the host, and this last joke finally sounds down to earth, so distant from the flashy, bubbling, and frivolous Hollywood standard mood.

PandEmmys 

A new, woke mindset has paved its way to the top of our entertainment pyramid, thanks to a Pandemic that has made one thing clear: we have to learn how to cherish the essential. 

Therefore, the so-renamed PandEmmys become an intimate opportunity to celebrate work in the TV industry, universal emotions, and powerful stories. According to predictions, both Netflix and HBO stole the show with their multiple awards winners Schitt’s Creek (for Comedy), Succession, and Watchmen (for Outstanding Drama and Miniseries) – the last one managed to take home 11 awards alone. 

Big-hearted and honest performances 

Eugene Levy and his son Daniel Levy won all there was to win for Comedies, thanks to the last season of a Canadian, delicate show about a peculiar family whose members were all awarded. Together with the Levy father and son, Catherine O’Hara won the Emmy for Leading Actress as Moira and Annie Murphy for Supporting Actress as Alexis: the shiniest peak of the night for Netflix.

Succession won two Emmys – one for Best Drama, one for Best Writing – both received by its creator Jesse Armstrong, plus the one for Leading Actor won by Jeremy Strong and his tense, multifaceted performance as Kendall Roy. 

Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True) and Regina King (Watchmen) won Best Actor and Actress in a miniseries – both also produced by HBO – making two of the most powerful and political acceptance speeches of the night. 

Elections, BLM, and the history reminder 

Regina King paid tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court Justice who died a few days ago: begged people at home to go vote as a strong, much needed democratic action, and wore a t-shirt with the sentence ‘Say their name’ and the face of Breonna Taylor as a BLM reminder. A similar one with the same name was also worn by Uzo Aduba, winner of Supporting Actress in a miniseries for her role in Mrs. America

Damon Lindelof also referred to Tulsa and its implications in his acceptance speech for Watchmen – which became the first comic-book adaptation ever to win a TV’s top prize – and looked visibly moved: “History is a mystery, it is broken into a million puzzle pieces, and many are missing; we know where those pieces are, but we don’t seek them out because we know finding them will hurt. Sometimes we caused that hurt, maybe we even benefited from it, but we have to name it before we can repair it.”

Old and new stars: Change is real

Two more Netflix originals are among the winners: the German Maria Schrader won an Emmy as Best Director for Unorthodox, and Julia Garner achieved the one for Supporting Actress in a Drama thanks to her role in Ozark. Billy Crudup joined the group as Best Supporting Actor, with his role in the AppleTV+ drama The Morning Show. On the other hand, Jennifer Aniston showed up with her on and off-screen friends Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow, after keeping the light tone of the show going with Kimmel in a funny sketch on burning all the germs and fight possible infections. She was nominated herself as Leading Actress but lost to Zendaya and her remarkable performance as Rue Bennett in Euphoria. She made history by becoming the youngest actress to win the award and gave an optimistic and euphoric acceptance speech, surrounded by her family and friends at home. 

This was the real magic of the night: virtual connection but real houses, real humans, real emotions. And at the end of the day, it was all we needed.   

You can find the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards winners list here.

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