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 that the Canadian sitcom won (from 15 nominations; the show also won two Creative Arts Emmys) on Sunday night in Los Angeles (yesterday 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 last year, 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 Actor in a Comedy Series for Eugene Levy and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series 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.
A bigger 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 (seven 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 No. 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 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role in workplace drama The Morning Show.
PRIMETIME EMMY AWARD WINNERS
Outstanding Drama Series Succession
Outstanding Limited Series Watchmen
Outstanding Comedy Series Schitt’s Creek
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 Zendaya (Euphoria)
Outstanding Reality/Competition Series RuPaul’s Drag Race
Outstanding Variety Talk Series Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
Earlier last week, another streaming service launched last year, 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 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category for Euphoria – an honour now trending on social media.
The biracial singer-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 in 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 11 black performers have won awards at the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmys.
They include Uzo Aduba (Supporting Actress in a Limited Series for the biographical Mrs America), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Supporting Actor in a Limited Series for Watchmen), Regina King (Lead
Actress in a Limited Series for Watchmen) and RuPaul (Outstanding Reality Series).
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