“Schitt’s Creek” swept the comedy category at the 2020 Emmys while "Succession" took home the top honor for drama at an award show that was marred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 Emmys kicked off during unprecedented times with a fakeout that saw the host pretend to present the opening monologue for an audience that wasn't really there.
The 72nd Emmy Awards are without a doubt the most unique award show in recent memory thanks to the coronavirus pandemic forcing the broadcast to go virtual and forego the large gathering of celebrities dressed to the nines on the red carpet.
Still, that didn't stop host Jimmy Kimmel from making the most out of a bad situation, kicking off the show with an opening monologue that poked fun at the pandemic, Trump supporters and Hollywood.
The host took the stage to thunderous applause from the audience, all of whom appeared to be live and in-person as he mocked the "frivolous and unnecessary" awards show. However, midway through the opening monologue, it became clear that the footage was just being reused from a previous show. Kimmel hung a lantern on that fact when he spotted himself in the crowd.
"Of course I’m here all alone, of course we don't have an audience!" Kimmel said. "This isn't a MAGA rally, it’s the Emmys. Instead of the live audience, we took a page from baseball and did cardboard cutouts of the nominees."
With that, the host highlighted some cardboard cutouts in the crowd at the Staples Center before awkwardly noticing that "Ozark" star Jason Bateman was there in person. The star asked if he could stay because he's been going crazy in quarantine. When Kimmel suggested that he could stay despite safety regulations if he agreed to laugh at his jokes.
"I'm out," Bateman curtly replied.
The show then forged ahead with Kimmel revealing that more than 100 cameras were dispatched to stars all around the country so that they could tune in and give their acceptance speeches if they won. Jennifer Aniston arrived in person to announce that "Schitt's Creek" actress Catharine O'Hara took home the first award of the night for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series. O'Hara's on-screen husband, Eugene Levy, took home the next award for his role on the same show.
The series pulled off the hat trick by taking home the first three awards of the night when series creator and star Daniel Levy brought home the Emmy for outstanding writing in a comedy series.
"Getting to write David Rose, getting to write this show, getting to tell these stories has been the greatest and most cathartic experience of my life," the younger Levy said after tearing up thanking his Emmy-winning dad.
Things got slightly political once again before the announcement of Daniel Levy again as the winner for outstanding directing in a comedy series when "Barry" actor Anthony Carrigan somewhat reprised his role from the show. He engaged in a bit with Kimmel in which he pretended to be a Russian operative impersonating a mail carrier out to steal mail-in-voting ballots. When Kimmel wasn't fooled, Carrigan's character settled for handing over the Emmy winners envelopes.
The "Schitt's Creek" winning streak continued for a fifth award when Daniel won outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series.
"OK, the Internet is about to turn on me," he joked before giving his acceptance speech.
“Schitt’s Creek” continued its winning streak with Annie Murphy taking home the award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series. Finally, the show maintained its winning streak by taking home the coveted award for outstanding comedy series.
Daniel spent his moment speaking to encourage fans to register and vote in November.
"I'm so sorry for making this political," he said before turning things over to his dad, who promptly gave thanks to everyone involved, including his son.
Kimmel kept the jabs at Trump coming by noting that he should have built his wall on the northern border of the U.S., taking a shot at the Canada-based "Schitt's Creek" cast.
"Has he tweeted yet? Oh, it's Sunday, he's probably at Church," Kimmel said, mocking the president.
David Letterman arrived next for a pre-recorded segment in which he announced the first non-"Schitt’s Creek” related award of the night, which went to “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver.
As the show moved out of comedy, Regina King took home the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie for her leading role in HBO's "Watchmen." She was the first of the night to acknowledge the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died earlier this week at age 87. The actress was wearing a bright pink blazer and a black t-shirt with a photo of Breonna Taylor on it. Later in the night, Uzo Aduba, who won outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie, donned a shirt with Taylor's name on it as well.
Mark Ruffalo kept the political ball rolling, giving a speech next after taking home the award for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie where he encouraged people to vote in November for "compassion and kindness" rather than a country of "hatred and division" that's only for "a certain type of people."
Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson got to speak next after winning for their writing on “Watchmen.” In his speech, Jefferson acknowledged the victims of the 1921 racially motivated massacre in Tulsa, Okla. that was used as the backdrop for the series.
"This country neglects and forgets its own history at its own peril often and I think that we should never forget them," he said. "Thank you so much for this honor."
Fortunately for viewers, the show wasn't completely without levity. Kimmel introduced a segment halfway through the awards show that saw famous TV celebrities like Will Arnett, Kene Thompson, Bob Newhart and more explain what they're doing in quarantine. The bit featured former "Saturday Night Live" star David Spade dress up as "Tiger King" subject Joe Exotic.
However, things took a turn back to the political when Anthony Anderson took the stage to announce that "Watchmen" had won outstanding limited series. He joined Kimmel on stage for a message in support of Black artists.
"We have a record number of Black Emmy nominees this year, which is great," he began. "These Emmys would have been the NBA All-Star weekend and Wakanda all wrapped into one. This was supposed to be the Blackest Emmys ever. Yall wouldn't be able to handle how Black it was going to be, but because of COVID, we can’t even get in the damn building!"
"But not tonight… no, not tonight, this isn't what it should have been, Jimmy but you know what, I’m still rooting for everybody Black, because Black stories, Black performance and Black lives matter," Anderson continued. "And because Black lives matter, Black people will stay at home tonight to be safe, which is fine because guess what, yall don’t know how to light us anyway."
Kimmel took another shot at Trump after the In Memoriam segment when it came time to announce the winner of outstanding reality-competition program.
“Past losers of this category have gone on to become President of the United States,” he joked.
Trump was nominated in that category in 2004 and 2005 for NBC’s “The Apprentice.”
The award ultimately went to "RuPaul's Drag Race" in 2020.
A top honor of the evening, the Governors Award, went to Tyler Perry for his work in TV, producing countless episodes with predominantly Black actors. He took the stage to tell a story about a patchwork quilt his grandmother gave him, noting that people used to sew memories into a quilt to represent their lives. Although he didn't respect the quilt when he had it, he noted that he's proud to make a quilt of his own in which he can celebrate the opportunities he's given the Black community in the entertainment industry.
With that, the night began to wind down with back-to-back awards for "Succession," which took home writing and directing trophies. After that, Billy Crudup brought home the accolade for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for his work on "The Morning Show."
Julia Garner earned herself the award for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series for her role in Netflix's "Ozark" before the biggest and final award of the night was announced.
Sterling K. Brown took the stage to jokingly pretend that "This Is Us" won the highly coveted award for outstanding drama series before getting serious and reading the real winner for 2020 — "Succession."
Series creator Jesse Armstrong closed things out on a political note with a list of "un-thank yous" directed at those who he deemed responsible for keeping the cast and crew apart on such a celebratory night.
"Un-thank you to the virus, un-thank you to President Trump for his crummy and uncoordinated response, un-thank you to Boris Johnson for doing the same in my country, un-thank you to all the nationalist and qazi-nationalist governments in the world," he said. "Un-thank you to the media moguls who keep them all in power... so, un-thank you."
However, the show didn't end on a political bummer. Kimmel closed out the show by noting that a total of $2.8 million had been raised for No Kid Hungry.