(Margaret Tran / Daily Titan)

Award season has begun, and the first one to commemorate it was the 72nd Emmy Awards, or as Jimmy Kimmel called it, the “pandemmys.” 

The awards premiered on Sept. 20, but the annual award show looked a little different. In light of the pandemic, it was apparent that hosting an award show in a stadium filled with hundreds of people was not an excuse to break social distancing rules. Instead of canceling, the Emmys created a predominantly virtual live event with over 100 different cameras. 

This year’s show featured Kimmel as the main host, who started the show off strong by pretending to talk to a crowd of celebrities. Audiences at home were confused to see the theater filled with people, but the audience was an illusion created with video clips from previous years. 

Instead of a live audience, the seats contained cardboard cutouts, with the exception of Jason Bateman, who showed up to the awards show ready to sit as the only member of an empty audience.  The hosts presented in a large room surrounded by live screens that showed each of the nominees at the safety of their homes. 

Without an orchestra to play music, the Emmys brought in DJ D-Nice, who played generic radio pop hits as he transitioned in and out of commercial breaks. The closest we got to any live music performances was when singer H.E.R sang Prince’s song “Nothing Compares 2 U,” in memory of famous figures in television that passed away this year. 

The big winners of the night in each category were: “Schitt's Creek” for Outstanding Comedy Series, “Watchmen” for Outstanding Limited Series and “Succession” for Outstanding Drama Series. The hit drama “Succession” won 7 Emmys along with “Watchmen” which won 11. 

“Watchmen” is the first comic book adaptation to win a top award in one of television’s biggest award shows. Comedy series “Schitt’s Creek” swept all of the wins in its category, “breaking the Emmys record for most wins in a single season for a comedy,” according to BBC’s website. 

However, it was not the nominees, major celebrities or the overwhelming success of “Watchmen” that made this year’s award show different. 

It was briefly mentioned that this year, the Emmys planned on donating $100,000 for every Emmy awarded, with the Academy adding another $500,000 for the charity, “No Kid Hungry.” There were 23 Emmy awards presented at the end of the night, making a $2.8 million donation. 

While the night was mostly about actors and celebrities, the show also highlighted essential workers. The Emmys provided a platform of representation for the workers who provide necessary services everyday during this pandemic.

Cindy Marcellin, a United States teacher, Tim Lloyd, a U.S. Postal Service worker, Jacinda Duran, a truck driver, doctors Kevin and Karen Tsai and other frontline workers presented awards throughout the night. 

The night also became historic after eight Black actors received Emmy awards —  a record breaking number in the industry. Zendaya, at age 24, is the youngest woman to receive an Emmy for best lead actress in a drama. Anthony Anderson gave a speech and emphasized the point that “Black Lives Matter.” Regina King and other women also wore Breonna Taylor on their shirts to spread awareness of injustice. 

The Emmys had the same format from years prior. However, the world is not the same as it once was. 

What made the Emmys worth watching was not the overdrawn speeches and skits of lighting boxes on fire or Randall Park bringing an alpaca. It was not seeing the same series win every category and holding a box with a hand popping out with an Emmy and confetti. This Emmys was about finding quality representation in media, especially through a pandemic, and showing people that we as a society, famous and not so famous, can be united.

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