Awards Season: Aaron Sorkin In, Steven Spielberg Out

Awards Season: Aaron Sorkin In, Steven Spielberg Out

September 27, 2020

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With the 2020 Emmy Awards in the can, here are some of the highs and lows of this year’s virtual awards show.

  • Worst: Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue in front of (obviously) faux crowd.  

    We didn’t need Kimmel to pull the bait-and-switch with his opening monologue at the end to know that the “crowd” wasn’t actually there. 

  • Best: ‘Schitt’s Creek’ parties it up in Canada.  

    While most winners accepted their awards at home in front of family, the cast of the Pop TV series gathered together up in Canada, where they have a much better handle on the pandemic. It turned out to be a good thing, considering it won every single comedy award of the night.

  • Worst: The in-person presenters.  

    A few presenters showed up in person, including Jennifer Aniston and Tracee Ellis Ross. Don’t think there was too much social distancing going on in a bit that quickly went stale. (We’ll cheat a bit and say Anthony Carrigan showing up as “Barry’s” NoHo Hank, disguised as a mailman, was pretty great, though.)

  • Best: “What Have You Been Doing During Quarantine?”  

    Kimmel turned it over to some of your favorite stars like Will Arnett, Ty Burrell, Chris Harrison, Kenan Thompson and Bob Newhart to ask how they’ve been spending their quarantine. “Good Doctor” star Freddie Highmore joked that for him, masks him more more recognizable. Burrell gave the most R-rated answer: “What have I been doing? More like WHO have I been doing!” (He’s married.)

  • Worst: Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon try to ring in 2021 a few months early. 

    We get it, 2020 has been awful, but there’s still a few more months left. The bit came off a tad tasteless, considering so many have truly suffered this year. 

  • Best: Martha Schrader’s “Unorthodox” acceptance speech.

    While some moments of this year’s Emmys were awkward or stiff, Martha Schrader’s acceptance speech for “Unorthodox,” winning in the Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special category, was genuine and sweet. 

    Schrader was so excited to win and everyone else on screen shared the joyous moment with her by jumping around in the background and smiling from ear to ear. 

  • Worst: “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong’s living room.  

    While we appreciated his “un-thank you” to COVID-19 when he accepted the Best Drama Series prize, “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong seriously upstaged himself with the clashing patterns in his drapes, sofas and carpet. Perhaps he should hire one of his show’s set decorators for a makeover.

  • Best: Essential workers get to announce nominees (and some winners).  

    Taking a page out of the Democratic National Convention, the Emmys highlighted essential workers like ER doctors and truckers who are the real heroes during the COVID-19 crisis, and allowed them to read off a few of the nominees. No snark here, just a really nice touch. 

  • Worst: Sterling K. Brown tries to claim “This Is Us” drama win.  

    We get it. Jimmy Kimmel hosted a previous awards show that featured the wrong winner announced, but this bit went on way too long. Even Brown himself admitted: “That was embarrassing.” It was for us watching too.

  • Some had better quarantines than others

    With the 2020 Emmy Awards in the can, here are some of the highs and lows of this year’s virtual awards show.

    Steve Pond

    Steve Pond

    Awards Editor • [email protected] • Twitter: @stevepond

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