Top Emmys Moments 2020: Historic Ceremony for Black TV Talent and a Schitt's Sweep

Zendaya surprises in the Drama Actress category, Schitt's Creek is the little Canadian comedy that could, and more of the biggest moments from the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards.

by | September 20, 2020 | Comments

For a show produced remotely from dozens of locations across the globe — it was nearly 4 a.m. when Succession creator Jesse Armstrong accepted his series’ award for Outstanding Drama — the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards were surprisingly gaffe-free. Sure, there were a couple of Zoom lags, but ultimately this was a less catastrophic live television program than some perfectly normal years.

The Jimmy Kimmel–hosted show gave out 23 awards in three hours and only ran five or so minutes over. The tone swung appropriately between serious and silly, honoring the best in television in an incredibly chaotic year while also paying tribute to essential workers and acknowledging the difficult reality we’re all living in.

The ceremony also raised $2.3 million for No Kid Hungry, and the Television Academy pitched in another half a million, bringing the donation total to $2.8 million for charity that probably would’ve been spent on afterparties instead. (For those wondering, the Zoom afterparty Kimmel joked about as he closed the show was not real — we did check.)

There weren’t any La La Land/Moonlight moments, nor were there any outrageous oversights. There were, however, a few surprise winners — Zendaya’s trophy for Euphoria (complete with breathless, excited acceptance speech) especially — making the show a little more exciting than sure thing after sure thing winning.

Actually, even the non-winners had memorable moments: Ramy Youssef posted a video of a hazmat-suited PA waving through his window after he lost his category to Eugene Levy, proving those Kia commercials weren’t completely kidding; they really did bring Emmy trophies to the homes of nominees — in the Los Angeles area, at least.

But the biggest moments of the show included historic wins, essential workers, and literal fire. Read up on all the winners here, and read on for the biggest moments from the 72nd Emmy Awards.

1. FIRE!

THE 72ND EMMY® AWARDS - Jimmy Kimmel, Jennifer Aniston

(Photo by ABC/Image Group LA)

Award show openings are difficult in the best of circumstances, let alone when they’re produced virtually from an empty basketball arena in the middle of a global pandemic. And while Kimmel’s joke monologue started weird — why wasn’t he acknowledging that all of the celebrity reaction shots were from old ceremonies? — once he finally did, and introduced all of the technological feats the producers were performing in order to bring this remotely produced live TV show to air, things went much smoother. Well, except for the first award presentation — after bringing out pal Jennifer Aniston to assist, the duo’s Covid-precaution bit ended with Kimmel dousing the winner’s envelope in Lysol and lighting it on fire. Aniston swiftly blasted a fire extinguisher on the mini inferno, but the kindling proved to be a little TOO good — she had to blast it an extra two times when the flames continued to burn. We could hear nervous stage direction coming from off camera.

Related: 2020 Emmy Winners: Your Full List of Winners from the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards


The rise of Schitt’s Creek from niche cable network Canadian import to Netflix hit to Emmys sweep is one even the writers of the kindhearted, optimistic sitcom might not have scripted. But the series’ arc — culminating in a sweep of all seven major categories (series, all four main acting categories, writing, and directing) — is ultra satisfying for a show that championed acceptance and heart above all else. The closest other shows have come to achieving this feat is Taxi‘s five wins (out of six noms) in 1981, and All in the Family‘s six wins (out of seven) in 1972.

Catherine O’Hara and Levy getting some richly deserved TV accolades was satisfying enough, but their TV children Annie Murphy and Dan Levy, too? Even better. Plus, the emotion shared between Eugene and Dan, co-creators and real-life father and son, was so genuine you could feel the love through the screen. In fact, the show’s remote celebration in Canada was filled with joy, with every cast and crew member in attendance getting emotional as the show continued to take home awards.


Anthony Anderson was at the Staples Center to perform a whole bit with Kimmel about how this year’s Emmys in particular were the blackest yet — about 34 percent of this year’s nominees were Black — and what a shame it was that he and his cohort were not able to celebrate together. Although Anderson didn’t win himself, Regina King’s expected win (wearing a shirt that paid tribute to Breonna Taylor) kicked off a successful night for Watchmen (her costar Yahya Abdul-Mateen II took home a trophy, as did the show itself and its writing); Uzo Aduba beat several Hollywood heavy-hitters for Mrs. America while also in a Breonna Taylor shirt; and Disney star–turned–prestige cable ingenue Zendaya’s Drama Actress win for Euphoria was perhaps the biggest upset of the night. Her win makes her the second Black actress in 72 years of Emmys history to win in that category, following Viola Davis.

And let’s not forget Oprah and Chris Rock introducing Tyler Perry, the recipient of this year’s Governor’s Award, who was present at the Staples Center to accept his trophy in person (and deliver a moving speech about perseverance and his grandmother’s quilt).


Astronaut Chris Cassidy on the International Space Station for the 72nd Emmy Awards program

The existence of award shows is essentially a way for Hollywood to pat themselves on the back, and there was plenty of that in this show. But the producers also managed to pay tribute to essential workers and people doing incredibly important jobs in this time, including doctors, nurses, teachers, mail carriers, UPS guys, and even astronauts. Commander Christopher Cassidy filmed a segment from the International Space Station, though Jeremy Irons was nowhere in sight.


(Photo by ABC)

Sorry, HBO Max — that long-awaited Friends reunion (pushed a couple times now due to Covid) will be overshadowed by Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow popping into a Zoom frame together for a bit about them living together and watching the Emmys. It was a cute moment, especially since the three women are clearly IRL friends and looked radiant as they hung out together. Jason Bateman, whose random appearances was a running gag in the show and who is known to hang out with the Friends gang, was there too.

What were your favorite Emmys moments? Share in the comments below!

Emmys: 72nd Emmys (2020)


Description: The 72nd Emmy Awards were broadcast live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on ABC, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and produced by Done+Dusted, Reginald Hudlin and KIMMELOT. The telecast featured awards in 23 Emmy categories, plus the Governors Award, and presenters and surprise guests including Anthony Anderson, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Ty Burrell, LaVerne Cox, America Ferrera, Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey, and more. Singer-songwriter and Grammy-winning artist H.E.R. performed for the “In Memoriam” presentation.

Critics Consensus: What could go right? Apparently just enough to make the 72nd Annual Emmy Awards — the first and hopefully last PandEmmys — an entertaining, unusually comforting night of mostly pleasant surprises.

Air Date: Sunday, September 20, 2020


Tag Cloud

sequel BBC One GLAAD MCU Apple TV Plus discovery screen actors guild 99% cars live action First Reviews target Elton John transformers TCA anime IMDb TV Hollywood Foreign Press Association TruTV RT History james bond SundanceTV stand-up comedy Tags: Comedy Western Podcast BAFTA Red Carpet Marvel VOD AMC Musicals crossover comic book movies Fargo action-comedy Rocky Esquire mutant Apple TV+ worst movies Nominations mission: impossible Superheroe dc TV renewals spain Amazon Prime USA AMC Plus IFC Films zombies Hulu rotten spider-verse Funimation dogs Logo Certified Fresh El Rey Captain marvel adenture comics marvel comics Tomatazos Emmys Comics on TV Walt Disney Pictures godzilla docuseries Summer ABC black sitcom Musical mcc classics ABC Signature political drama young adult Classic Film Trailer 2018 Sundance Now Comic Book justice league NYCC new york The Purge VH1 History TBS streaming wonder woman Thanksgiving Crackle The Walt Disney Company sag awards Dark Horse Comics Winners 73rd Emmy Awards Vudu casting kong Christmas reviews Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Disney Plus movies critic resources social media leaderboard Freeform OneApp jurassic park Rom-Com supernatural Set visit cinemax composers Superheroes medical drama zero dark thirty Rock parents Emmy Nominations rt labs critics edition DC Comics Britbox Biopics Disney streaming service fast and furious Starz razzies Black History Month festivals 21st Century Fox space Amazon Prime Video WGN suspense ID DirecTV science fiction witnail toy story E3 Cannes Neflix movie police drama Chernobyl mockumentary Comedy LGBTQ HFPA dceu olympics green book saw directors Pride Month Nat Geo rom-coms President Fox News YA Acorn TV OWN The Arrangement SDCC asian-american FX Pacific Islander 2015 war Super Bowl canceled TV shows hispanic superhero talk show Warner Bros. Broadway Nickelodeon comiccon robots Spring TV deadpool basketball 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards breaking bad crime drama Holiday Tubi TNT venice serial killer blockbusters australia hist book adaptation comedies 2021 Comic-Con@Home 2021 technology Tumblr art house DGA child's play thriller The Walking Dead 71st Emmy Awards live event TLC Grammys 45 dramedy adventure a nightmare on elm street vampires adaptation jamie lee curtis Video Games unscripted Awards Watching Series trophy Marvel Television high school CNN Lifetime nature ViacomCBS Disney Channel children's TV animated boxoffice golden globe awards 4/20 A&E 1990s BBC America richard e. Grant Hallmark RT21 doctor who Endgame indiana jones game show twilight franchise Family WarnerMedia The Academy HBO Max werewolf YouTube vs. black comedy Wes Anderson A24 2016 legend Alien romantic comedy Martial Arts Polls and Games Peacock comic book movie Pop TV Universal Pictures Spike documentaries FOX revenge video on demand Columbia Pictures rt archives football politics Pirates toronto feel good spanish 24 frames FXX marvel cinematic universe Star Wars halloween miniseries The Witch finale anthology batman Legendary stop motion video universal monsters BET Awards cooking genre Opinion IFC Fall TV spy thriller CBS scorecard Prime Video PaleyFest CW Seed mob Reality Competition Avengers halloween tv Turner Instagram Live Oscars Exclusive Video Country Ellie Kemper FX on Hulu Box Office dark dexter Food Network SXSW joker festival slashers Masterpiece Paramount Fox Searchlight cats TV Land popular Writers Guild of America comic hidden camera criterion Tokyo Olympics royal family latino Mary Tyler Moore Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Turner Classic Movies award winner sequels obituary Ovation ABC Family quibi aapi Fantasy biography television Kids & Family Quiz christmas movies TIFF Shudder cancelled TV shows period drama HBO trailers all-time Heroines 20th Century Fox japan PlayStation ITV San Diego Comic-Con Image Comics scene in color GoT rotten movies we love game of thrones Marathons harry potter Character Guide binge prank travel Mary poppins Amazon Studios foreign zombie YouTube Premium cancelled TV series psycho GIFs Syfy blockbuster aliens versus 90s renewed TV shows crime french films boxing Paramount Network Spectrum Originals telelvision Election Binge Guide 79th Golden Globes Awards Action spider-man Comedy Central TCA 2017 MTV diversity posters international 2019 007 Film Festival Cartoon Network heist movie hollywood gangster Holidays Anna Paquin Television Critics Association Disney+ Disney Plus scary TCM 72 Emmy Awards ratings lord of the rings Horror laika reboot blaxploitation king arthur Mystery remakes docudrama Adult Swim X-Men Travel Channel Teen Rocketman best Mary Poppins Returns independent stoner spanish language Pixar Best and Worst cancelled television CMT Pop Netflix Christmas movies TCA Awards south america Reality Netflix Premiere Dates streaming movies biopic Women's History Month Disney canceled hispanic heritage month Calendar singing competition monster movies japanese Black Mirror Infographic Sundance Creative Arts Emmys Lifetime Christmas movies NBC Stephen King LGBT NBA APB Tarantino Song of Ice and Fire Star Trek know your critic 93rd Oscars Schedule Apple Crunchyroll 2017 E! indie Year in Review Cosplay nbcuniversal PBS USA Network Animation Sundance TV Television Academy new zealand Toys BET pirates of the caribbean golden globes scary movies nfl natural history Academy Awards Valentine's Day CBS All Access kids DC Universe debate dragons facebook spinoff Brie Larson HBO Go Hallmark Christmas movies Lucasfilm TCA Winter 2020 strong female leads Trophy Talk king kong romance comic books Paramount Plus slasher Mindy Kaling historical drama The CW Sony Pictures Awards Tour psychological thriller DC streaming service true crime superman Bravo critics ESPN Shondaland book VICE free movies cancelled Discovery Channel news Music TV documentary Amazon Ghostbusters crime thriller rt labs series Mudbound Trivia worst Film Winter TV Showtime American Society of Cinematographers Photos Arrowverse Lionsgate Marvel Studios cops cults MSNBC women dreamworks elevated horror what to watch First Look BBC Countdown See It Skip It Universal sopranos based on movie teaser Sci-Fi Sneak Peek ghosts tv talk New York Comic Con 2020 TV One Hear Us Out die hard theme song Extras disaster Epix Baby Yoda Pet Sematary concert Drama Interview name the review YouTube Red kaiju new star wars movies National Geographic fresh archives satire italian screenings sports cartoon TV movies emmy awards chucky