Not the Pandemmys – but barely normal either


OK, it sure wasn’t the Pandemmys, or the Zoomemmys, or whatever you want to call last year’s virtual Emmy ceremony – with everyone at home and visitors in protective material suits. dangerous showing up to award rewards.

This year was different – with challenge. People were together, and not even masked (except during commercials.) There was a lot of hugging and kissing – in fact, host Seth Rogen joked, he had just been sneezed in the face by Paul Bettany. (Guests were required to present vaccine proof and negative COVID-19 tests.)

But of course, that wasn’t the PRE-COVID Emmys, either. The crowd, in a tent in downtown Los Angeles, was much smaller than in normal years. And many overseas nominees were unable to come due to travel restrictions, especially the cast and crew of “The Crown”, who accepted its six dramatic awards at a party in London, as “Schitt’s Creek” had done a year earlier in Canada.

And in a year when so many things were different, there were familiar issues. The awards were focused on a few shows. The hashtag #EmmysSoWhite emerged – a record number of colored nominees resulted in just two black winners, RuPaul for “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and Michaela Coel for writing “I May Destroy You”. A slew of black actors have been ignored.

Cedric the Entertainer proved to be a cheerful and hardworking contagious host, but the comedy bits were patchy at best. It also didn’t help that some overly long speeches slowed down the process, for example from the director of “The Queen’s Gambit”, who was criticized on Twitter for a speech that to some seemed as long as a game. ‘chess.

There were still moments of well-being: Debbie Allen. Jean Smart! Kate Winslet. Ted Lasso himself – hell, all of Ted’s friends too. And perhaps best of all, the fiercely original Coel, giving an amazing (and concise!) Talk about writing.

Some key moments of the evening:


Yes, the expected Jeanaissance has happened, with veteran Smart receiving a standing ovation after winning Best Actress in a Comedy – her fourth Emmy in a long career – for playing a stand-up Las Vegas comedy in “Hacks”. She immediately paid a tearful tribute to her husband, Richard Gilliland, died in March: “I wouldn’t be here without him, and without him … putting his career on hold so that I can take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities I’ve had.” It was a theme – personal loss – that came up in a number of speeches.


While “Mare of Easttown”, also starring Smart, lost to “The Queen’s Gambit” for Best Limited Series, it won three key actor awards, including the Great Kate – Winslet, of course – which has captivated audiences with her role of “a middle-aged, imperfect and imperfect mother,” in her words, in which she also nailed a very tough Philadelphia accent. The show “is that cultural moment, and it brought them together. people and gave them something to say other than a global pandemic, ”Winslet noted.


It was without a doubt the wellness show of the year, and “Ted Lasso” – about the tireless American coach of a British football team – started winning early, with the Exuberant stage actress Hannah Waddingham accepting the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, closely followed by Brett Goldstein for Supporting Actor. Then Jason Sudeikis, the titular coach, made them a happy trio, taking home the award for best actor. “This show is about families, this show is about mentors and teachers, this show is about teammates, and I wouldn’t be here without these three things in my life,” Sudeikis said. He told his cast mates and the crew, “I’m only good if you make me look.” The Apple TV + show closed the evening by winning best comedy.


“We’re going to party,” said Peter Morgan, creator of “The Crown,” as Netflix’s royal saga took home drama, direction and all four acting honors. Sometimes it seemed like this party – held in London due to travel restrictions – might be more fun than the long party in Los Angeles. Olivia Colman, who became the second actor to win for playing Queen Elizabeth II on the same show, after Claire Foy, was elated but in tears as she remembered her father’s death during COVID. “He would have loved it all,” she said.


There wasn’t a whole lot of politics in the Emmy speeches, unless you counted Stephen Colbert riffing on the California governor’s recall attempt with a somewhat labored joke about the “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” recall. . “Ms. Maisel survived the recall and will remain wonderful,” he concluded. But Cedric the Entertainer delivered some topical humor with a riff on vaccines. Comparing the various jabs to the stores, he delivered. called Pfizer the Neiman Marcus, Moderna the Macy’s and Johnson & Johnson the TJ Maxx of vaccines. He also offered a dig to Nicki Minaj for the story of his cousin’s friend in Trinidad.


“Turn off that clock,” Allen said, opening his speech accepting the governor’s award. “I don’t pay any attention to it. She added that she “was shaking with gratitude and grace and trying not to cry… it took a lot of courage to be the only woman in the room most of the time.” She urged the younger generation to “Tell your stories… it’s your turn. The crowd cheered – when you’ve got your career as an actor, dancer, choreographer, and activist, you’re allowed to ignore playoff music.


Then there was Scott Frank, director of “The Queen’s Gambit”. When he won, he thanked a few people, then more, then more, reading a prepared speech. Frank was arrested on Twitter. “That’s why directors need editors,” wrote writer-producer Danny Zuker, calling the words “the Irishman” speeches.


Fortunately, what followed was probably the highlight of the evening – Coel’s remarks from “I May Destroy You”. She said she had something to say to the writers. “Write the story that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that isn’t comfortable,” she said. “I dare you.” In a world, she added, where we all feel the need to be visible, equating that with success, “don’t be afraid to disappear … See what comes to you in silence.” Coel dedicated her show, in which she plays a sexual assault survivor, “to every sexual assault survivor.”

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