On Sunday night, from a mostly empty Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 72nd Emmy Awards, a celebration marked by television’s Golden Age and a global pandemic.
Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek” and HBO’s “Succession” were the night’s biggest winners, earning 9 and 7 awards, respectively.
As reported over the summer by the Los Angeles Times, the Emmys have a long way to go to award a more diverse field of entertainment. Nominations alone saw no Latinx representation. Only 1 percent of Asian Americans comprised the list of nominees.
Still, last night’s ceremony tiptoed in the right direction. On top of a record number of Emmy nominations for Black actors this year, the Television Academy awarded a record-high number of Black performers (a mere 7). Among the group is Zendaya, who became the youngest winner ever for lead actress in a drama series and the second Black woman to win the category, following Viola Davis. She won for her whip-smart portrayal of Rue, who experiences depression and addiction, in the HBO teen drama “Euphoria.”
Other highlights came from speeches by Succession’s Andrij Parekh and Jesse Armstrong. Parekh won for best directing for a drama series. In his quick, but meaningful acceptance, he said, “I want to dedicate this Emmy to all the kids whose names like mine are difficult to pronounce. To those who don’t look like their classmates and are defined as outsiders, as hyphenated Americans, and not simply just as Americans, this is proof that you belong. And this Emmy is ours.”
Armstrong closed the night by speaking for the “Succession” cast in their win of best drama series. In an interesting twist, he took a moment for a list of un-thank yous.
“Un-thank you to the virus for keeping us all apart this year. Un-thank you to President Trump for his crummy and un-coordinated response. Un-thank you to Boris Johnson and his government for doing the same to my country. Un-thank you to all the nationalists and sort of quasi-Nationalists governments in the world who are exactly opposite of what we need right now. And un-thank you to the media moguls who do so much to keep them in power.”