The Not!Live Blog of the First Ever Pandemmys! (More Commonly Known as the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards)

It’s 2020 and things are weird.

So how does one hold a self-congratulatory awards ceremony for an industry that has been all but shut down for the past 6 months because being in the same room with a bunch of other people can literally kill you? Excellent question, Dear Reader Who May or May Not Actually Be Bothered to Read a Blog Post About an Event No One Attended Two Days Ago!

It turns out, the answer is: very creatively. Jimmy Kimmel, always a good-natured host of these sorts of things, presided over an event that was held largely virtually, with a handful of live presenters in the Staples Center with him, some celebrities pre-taped out in the real world, and remarkably movingly, a number of essential workers in every field, representing all those great people out there who have been keeping the world moving during this crisis.

As for how the Emmy trophies are handed out this year, there are people in genuinely hilarious tuxedoed hazmat suits stalking the nominees at their homes with trophies they may or may not receive, and occasionally there is a terrifying surprise box, rigged to explode with a trophy and confetti for the winner, but more often set to rig with disappointment champagne.

All in all, the proceedings were weirdly fun and unexpected, and never shied away from the multiple crises weare facing, from COVID to social justice issues, and the upcoming election — but managed to address them in a way that didnt feel hectoring or preachy. The nominees were a nice balance of formal and relaxed, and it was lovely to see them surrounded by friends and family on their big night. Sadly, it was the lowest-rated Emmys ever and there were no after parties, but hey, maybe this time next year we’ll have a vaccine and a red carpet. (But don’t hold your breath. Just use a mask.)

7 p.m.: The show begins without the big red carpet pre-show — just Jimmy Kimmel wandering out onto the stage in front of an audience that isn’t there. Or, rather, out onto the stage in front of an audience that was there a year, maybe two, ago. The effect is so well executed that my son wandered into the room and was OUTRAGED at the sight of a large audience in the midst of the pandemic, not a mask to be seen. Kimmel of course revealed that it was an illusion and that he was actually in an empty auditorium but for a few cardboard cutouts in the audience and one live Jason Bateman.

As for the jokes themselves … you know. They’re awards show jokes. They’re fine! I mean, I don’t really remember a particular one — except for maybe the jab at how dumb Quibi is, and the NOT JOKE that ABC’s Standards and Practices required that every time “Schitt’s Creek” was said, it was also shown on screen through a title card. I would note how stupid this is, but then I remember that we are a nation in which pharmaceutical ads have to tell people to not take the advertised drug if they are allergic to said drug, so, you know.

Oh, and there was also a pretty good zinger about how the least realistic part of Watchmen was that there were people in Oklahoma who would wear a mask. ~chef’s kiss~

Jimmy also explains that to make this work, they have more than 100 live feeds to locations around the world, and a team of interns in formal hazmat suits waiting at people’s homes to thrust an Emmy in their hands … or not …

7:09: Jennifer Anniston is the first in-person celebrity presenter, and after some banter with Jimmy based on the two of them having to keep their distance and not being able to hear each other, she presents the nominees for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy.

And in the most dangerous bit of the night, Jimmy explains that before he can open the envelope, he must first disinfect it …

… and then set it on fire. Which he does! And it goes up in flames! And they have a hell of a time putting the fire out!

And I assume they had a backup plan if the envelope was a total loss, but I have to admit, this bit gave your trusty blogger a whopping dose of anxiety during a time OF TOO MUCH ANXIETY. Jennifer Anniston then runs home as she is a nominee herself when she’s reminded that the trophies will be presented at the winner’s home.

Anyway, the wonderous Catherine O’Hara wins for her work in Schitt’s — NOT SHIT’S — Creek, and madam deserves it.

I mean, how much does this image sum up this weird-ass year?

O’Hara gives a lovely speech and shares her gratitude to the Levy men for allowing her to play a woman of a certain age who is wholly herself. Indeed.

As for what I predicted:

Look, this is a list of tremendous actresses, all of whom deserve to be here. I’m not going to complain about any single one of them, I just wish there was room for a few more deserving nominees. (And, if I were being completely honest, a little less Maisel love. Brosnahan is terrific but we get it already.)

Who Will Win: Catherine O’Hara

Who Should Win: Catherine O’Hara

When we return to Kimmel, he explains that for every Emmy that is handed out, the network who wins will donate $100,000 to No Kid Hungry, in an attempt to bankrupt PopTV. SPOILER ALERT: They might just reach that goal.

7:20: After sitting through a video about the weird Hazmat-suited Emmy presenters that was actually a long Kia commercial, Kimmel presents Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy to one Eugene Levy for his work on Schitt’s Creek.

Ramy Youssef, who was one of the losers in this category, showed us what happens when your name isn’t called:

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when u lose the emmy

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Sad trombone here.

What I predicted:

Alright, so by my calculations, this is a tight race between Eugene Levy and Ted Danson — they are both comedy kings, both of their shows ended this year, and it would be a nice send-off for either of them to win here. That said, keep an eye on Ramy Youssef. He won the Golden Globe for this show, and while the Golden Globes are more likely to reward an unexpected nominee like Youssef, the fact that he made the list of nominees is remarkable and he might sneak away with this, especially if the larger vote is split between Levy and Danson.

Who Will Win: If I HAD to guess, Ted Danson

Who Should Win: Ted Danson

7:27: Tracee Ellis Ross is the next in-person celebrity presenter and she does a way-too-long bit in which she acts like she doesn’t want to have to stick around to present the Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series. She’s charming, but even the most charming among us can use a little editing.

Eventually, she announces that the Emmy goes to Dan Levy, and this had to be the moment when it started to become clear it was Schitt’s night and all other nominees in all the other comedies must have been saying, “oh schitt” to themselves.

INTERESTING NOTE: Only Acting and Best Series Emmys receive an actual statue during the Pandemmys, something which Dan Levy, bless his heart, calls out. He also gives a shout-out to Issa Rae in particular, which was lovely.

I did not predict writing and directing categories because Momma’s gotta sleep sometime.

7:37: The next envelope is brought out to Jimmy Kimmel by Barry’s Noho Hank, a “mailman” from St. Petersburg … Florida. See, it’s a political joke because Hank is Russian and the post office is under assault by our President who is a Russian tool? Trust me, it’s a good gag. “Everything is OK at the USSPS!”

And then the Outstanding Direction in a Comedy Series Emmy goes to … Schitt’s Creek.

7:43: The first essential worker to present an award is a teacher, God bless her, and she presents Outstanding Lead Supporting Actor to Dan Levy for Schitt’s Creek.

“Oh no,” he worries, and not without merit, “the internet is going to turn on me. I’m so sorry.” Oh, Canadians.

What I predicted:

I mean, this should be Dan Levy’s to lose. That said, I’m thrilled both William Jackson Harper and Andre Braugher were nominated here — they did terrific work on The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine respectively. And as far as I’m considered, there should be some sort of special award given to Kenan Thompson every single year for almost single-handedly saving Saturday Night Live from itself. But that’s a whole other story.

Who Will Win: Dan Levy

Who Should Win: Dan Levy

7:46: Zendaya emerges from the Tunnel of Presenters to introduce the first segment of a series in which women of color talk about their experiences in the business, and the first up is one Issa Rae:

7:52: Mr. Tim, the UPS delivery man, is our next essential worker presenter, and he delivers the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Emmy to Annie Murphy of, you guessed it, Schitt’s Creek. And she’s wonderful, and she deserves this win as much as the rest of her cast, but at the same time, I AM SO BUMMED FOR D’ARCY CARDEN, YOU GUYS. SHE FINALLY GETS NOMINATED, AND IT’S THE SAME YEAR EVERYONE FINALLY GETS AROUND TO WATCHING SCHITT’S CREEK.

What I predicted:

If D’arcy Carden doesn’t win this, I’m burning down this whole place. Yes, everyone here is wonderful and deserving and I’m especially happy to see Yvonne Orji here because she’s fantastic and truly anchors Insecure. BUT I SWEAR TO GOD, IF D’ARCY CARDEN DOESN’T WIN THIS, I’M BURNING THIS WHOLE PLACE DOWN.

Who Will Win: D’Arcy Carden

Who Should Win: D’ARCY CARDEN

No disrespect to Annie Murphy, but:

7:55: Jason Sudeikis is the next in-person celebrity to present, and while he gets a fake COVID-19 test, he announces the Outstanding Comedy Series goes to Schitt’s Creek, making it the first series to ever sweep all seven major categories.

The good news is you can watch Schitt’s Creek for free on CW Seed or IMDb TV, and Comedy Central is going to start airing the series in five-episode blocks every Friday night if you want to see what all the hubbub is about. The bad news is thanks to this ENORMOFUCKING win, the chances Levy will want to return to Schitt’s Creek and mess up a perfect ending have just diminished.

Levy concludes his speech by urging us to vote — so do it, America, because Dan can’t. He’s Canadian.

What I predicted:

Let me begin by noting how happy I am that What We Do in the Shadows was nominated. That said, it’ll never win. But I am genuinely delighted that this hilarious and quirky series received the attention it deserves, and by doing so, it is one less show for me to yell at you about.

As for who will win this year, the same way I have a feeling this year is going to be big for Ozark over in Drama, I have the same sense that Schitt’s Creek is going to be a big winner in the Comedy category. First of all, it is a fantastic series helmed by comedy royalty that ended its run this year. But secondly, this is one of those shows that was a cult favorite until only recently, and I feel like there will be a push of people trying to prove that they finally get it. But who knows, The Good Place ended this year, too; and never underestimate the Academy’s desire to reward something safe like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Again.

Who Will Win: Schitt’s Creek

Who Should Win: Schitt’s Creek

8:08 p.m.: After cracking jokes about Canadians stealing all the Emmys, Jimmy Kimmel introduces the crazy surprise box concept.

Kimmel then introduces David Letterman as our next presenter, somewhere out in the wilds of Montana, where he gets heckled by Uber drivers, delivers a handful of jokes from 1986, and gives his old buddy Regis a shoutout: “Regis, I checked; you’re in the montage, buddy.”

From the back of a pickup truck, because everything is insane now, Letterman announces the Oustanding Variety Talk Series goes, once again, to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Oliver is assaulted by the Jack-in-the-box Emmy.

Oliver gives a charming speech, whatever. What is more notable is that he wins an Emmy while wearing a Liverpool F.C. sweatshirt. As my husband pointed out, Oliver was probably more excited about Liverpool winning the Premier League than this Emmy, which I’m certain he’s correct about. It also probably doesn’t hurt that he’s won this Emmy every year he’s been eligible since his first season.


What I predicted:

This, like every year, is Last Week Tonight with John Oliver‘s to lose.

Who Will Win: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Who Should Win: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

8:13: We then move on to the next big category of the night: Limited Series or Movie. The first category is Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie which obviously goes to Regina Goddamned King, the ONLY acceptable answer.

Regina, wearing a Breonna Taylor shirt, thanks Damon Lindelof, his brilliant mind, and his willingness to set outside his comfort zone to take this journey. PREACH.

She also urges everyone to vote up the ballot and visit, to see who will be on your ballot this year. Because it’s not just about the President, you guys, it’s about EVERYONE on that ballot. And finishes her speech by wishing RBG rests in power.

I only thought I was in love with Regina King before …

What I predicted:

I’m not even going to pretend there is anything to discuss here.

Who Will Win: Regina King

Who Should Win: Regina King

8:21: The Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie goes to Mark Ruffalo for I Know This Much is True, which considering how much weight he had to gain and lose to play TWO different roles, he deserves two Emmys, not just one.

Note: Mark Ruffalo’s wife does not play it cool and is adorable:

What I predicted:

Now, this is an interesting category. There is a good chance that Hugh Jackman could win this by virtue of being Hugh Jackman. There is also a good chance that Jeremy Irons could win this by coasting on Watchmen goodwill. And that’s not to say Jeremy Irons doesn’t deserve to win — there has never been more perfect casting than Irons as an aging Adrian Veidt.

But all that aside, Mark Ruffalo gave an amazing, heartbreaking, stunning performance as the Birdsey twins in I Know This Much is True, a miniseries that didn’t get much traction, in no small part because of how depressing it was. Will enough people have seen it for him to win? It’s unclear.

Who Will Win: Hugh Jackman

Who Should Win: Mark Ruffalo

8:26: Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series or a Movie is presented by Randall Park and a charismatic alpaca for some reason, and Watchmen wins, obviously.

Lindelof hands it off to his co-writer, Cord Jefferson, who thanks his therapist, and honestly, how is that not everyone’s speech? He also recognizes the men and women who died in the Tusla Massacre of 1921, noting that we erase our history at our own peril. Indeed.

8:35: Commander Christopher Cassidy speaks to us from the International Space Station for no good reason before we cut to a painful bit with the ladies of Little Fires Everywhere pretending it’s New Year’s Eve?

8:37: Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series or Movie does NOT go to Watchmen, but to the formidable and deserving Unorthodox, instead, and I’m fine with that, to be completely honest. Go watch it on Netflix, it’s worth your tme.

8:39: A farmer/rancher presents the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie to the outstanding Yahya Abdul-Mateen II for his role as Cal in Watchmen, and his willingness to bare it ALL, albeit covered in blue. Godbless.

He also dedicates his Emmy to all the Black women in his life:

Not that I am a Black woman, and not that I am a part of his life, but we love you too, Yahya.

What I predicted:

I hope the Watchmen actors don’t split this vote, because they were all great — Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Cal (among other roles) and Louis Gossett Jr. as Will, in particular.

Who Will Win: Louis Gossett Jr.

Who Should Win: Louis Gossett Jr. or Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

8:42: We then endure a montage of what TV actors have been doing in quarantine which is … you know.

Still: highly relatable content:

8:49: A badass lady truck driver is our next essential worker and she presents Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.

It’s worth noting that Tracy Morgan stands in for Tracy Ulman (because “all Tracys stick together”) while wearing a tracksuit that deserves its own Emmy:

The wonderful Uzo Aduba defeats the odds of being one of THREE nominees for Mrs. America in this category and wins to her own apparent shock.


Let’s go change the world!

What I predicted:

Mrs. America had so many great, juicy roles for women, it’s hard to see how someone from that series doesn’t take home the Emmy in this category — if they don’t split the vote between them.

But you know what else had amazing roles for women? Unbelievable. I’m not sure if Merritt Weaver belonged in the supporting or lead category, but she belonged SOMEWHERE. Kaitlyn Dever’s is a more obvious supporting role and she should have been included here. These are truly infuriating omissions.

Who Will Win: Margo Martindale

Who Should Win: Merritt Weaver

8:53: Anthony Anderson comes out to present the final award in this category, but before he gets down to that bit of business, he rants about how this fucking virus ruined what would have been the Blackest Emmys ever, with speeches quoting Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and Cardi B.. “‘WAP,’ Jimmy,” Anderson said, repeating “WAP” several times at which point the audio cut out because ABC was censoring him …

Anderson then demanded that Kimmel say “Black lives matter” with him, “Say it so that Mike Pence can hear it.” It was delightful.

Fittingly, Watchmen won Outstanding Limited Series or Movie.

Damon Lindelof gives a beautiful speech honoring his staff and the Tulsa Massacre and the value of trying to put our history back together, and offered us all sage advice from a showrunner who has been put through the ringer:

“Be careful, be clumsy, run hot, stay cool, be the bull in the china shop. Pick up what you broke and glue it back together. Don’t stop until it’s great. Affirm. It’s never great enough. Dissent. Be consistent. Embrace paradox. Never contradict yourself. And, finally, stop worrying about getting canceled and ask yourself what you’re doing to get renewed.”

I won’t do it justice, just watch it below:

Same, Damon Lindelof. Same.

Fact for Nerds: Watchmen is the first comic book TV series to win an Emmy in a major category.

What I predicted:

This is — or should be — a no-brainer. Watchmen was nominated for more Emmys than any other series, and while all of these series were good, especially Unbelievable and Unorthodox, no other limited series had the same sort of impact on pop culture and society in general than Damon Lindelof’s interpretation of the Watchmen universe. Give it all of the Emmys already.

Who Will Win: Watchmen

Who Should Win: Watchmen

8:59: The amazing  Cynthia Erivo (who was robbed of a nomination for her work on The Outsider) arrives to introduce another segment about women of color and their experience in this business, this time by Lena Waithe …. and, wait a goddamn minute … Cynthia Erivo is BRITISH? I literally had no idea and I’ve been burbling on about this woman for a year now. Wow.

9:02 p.m.: And now it’s everyone’s favorite part of any awards ceremony: THE DEATH MONTAGE.

After Kimmel gives a nod to the Notorious RBG, H.E.R. performs a beautiful version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” and sure enough, just as promised, Regis makes the cut.

Not making the cut, however: Kobe Bryant, Nick Cordero, Sam Lloyd, Chi Chi DeVayne,  Shelley Morrison, Honor Blackman, Kelly Preston, Hal Willner, and soap actors Roscoe Born, John Callahan, Marj Dusay and John Karlen. But, hey, some of them were featured in a hard-to-read scroll on a video that was played during the Creative Arts Emmys, so that’s like the same thing, right?

Zach Braff, for one, is pissed.

9:11: In a bit, Jimmy checks in with Jennifer Anniston at her home to make sure she arrived in time for her category, and we learn that, in fact, she lives with Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow, that they’ve “been roommates since 1994.”

Also, in a callback to the opening bit, Jason Bateman lives with them just “until he goes off to college.”

I am irritated with myself for how much I liked this dumb bit.

9:13: The next Emmy is for Outstanding Competition Program which goes to the eternally deserving RuPaul’s Drag Race. The lovely RuPual uses his acceptance speech to talk to all the kids out there who need to hear it, to let them know they are loved.


What I predicted:

RuPaul’s Drag Race forever.

Who Will Win: Top Chef

Who Should Win: RuPaul’s Drag Race

9:14: The President of the Academy comes out to blah blah blah at us for what feels like forever, before introducing the actual president of everything, Oprah Winfrey. 

Oprah, in turn, along with Chris Rock, pays tribute to this year’s Governors Award recipient, Tyler Perry, the one man in this business who can tape an entire 22-episode season of television in two weeks during a deadly pandemic. Just for that alone, he deserves all of the awards.

Perry delivers a beautiful speech about a quilt his grandmother gave him which serves as a metaphor about individuals’ stories and the value we give them. 

9:28: And onto the final category: DRAMAZ. The first Emmy is for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama and it goes to Jeremy Strong for Succession.

However, I have no idea what he said in his acceptance speech because I was so distracted by whatever is happening here:

What I predicted:

Again, I just feel like this is Ozark‘s year. It was there for us when the pandemic began and while that shouldn’t be a good enough reason to win a bunch of Emmys, these things are not always determined in a rational way. Additionally, this is the third time Bateman has been nominated for this series, and some voters might feel like it’s his “time.”

That said, keep an eye on both Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong. Succession has become HBO’s flagship show now that Game of Thrones is over, and one of these two might be rightfully recognized for their fantastic performances.

Who Will Win: Jason Bateman

Who Should Win: Brian Cox

9:36: The Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama, to everyone’s shock, surprise, and delight, goes to Zendaya for Euphoria.

I mean, just look at the pure joy happening here:

Literally, my favorite moment of the night. And, she’s the youngest woman to win in this category.

But, Zendaya fans, we need to discuss the use of the word “upset” here. It does not mean what you think it means.

Y’all. Now, come on.

What I predicted:

Both Zendaya and Jennifer Aniston have been nominated for shows that have not been nominated for Outstanding Drama, which suggests to me their chances aren’t great to take this category. The women of Killing Eve might split the vote (although they didn’t last year when Jodie Comer won) (but that’s another reason why she probably won’t win this year).

So doing the math, it seems this is a race between two incredibly powerful and talented actresses: Olivia Colman and Laura Linney. It’s a true toss-up and I’m leaning towards Colman for a couple of reasons: she won the Golden Globe for the performance, and she’s fresh off a raft of awards, including the Oscar, for her performance in The Favourite. The momentum is on her side. On the other hand, Ozark might be fresher in the voters’ minds. In any event, Netflix is probably going to be the winner in this category.

Who Will Win: Olivia Colman

Who Should Win: Rhea Seehorn

9:39: The divine Laverne Cox comes out bitching about losing in the same category four years in a row, and it’s fantastic. Bless you, Miss Cox.

She then presents the Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series to Jesse Armstrong for Succession which is a well-deserved win.

What will not be winning any awards is this incredibly awkward set-up:

9:41: The Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series goes to Andrij Parekh for Succession.

I confess, I also have no idea how to pronounce his name. But congratulations on a well-deserved Emmy!

9:48: A pair of siblings who both happen to be doctors urge us to WEAR A GODDAMNED MASK IT JUST ISN’T THAT HARD YOU IDIOTS before announcing the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Billy Crudup wins for The Morning Show.

This sums it up for me:

What I predicted:

Don’t get me wrong, Nicholas Braun, Kieran Culkin, and Matthew Macfayden all deserve their nominations in this category for their performances in Succession, my problem is I don’t know which of these three I think should win, they’re all so great. I do worry about the vote being split and think there’s a chance that between the multiple nominations for Succession and The Morning Show, Bradley Whitford might be able to sneak away with this one.

Who Will Win: Keep an eye on Bradley Whitford

Who Should Win: Kieran Culkin. BUT DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE.

9:51: A nurse from New York City is our final essential worker presenter, and she announces the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama for Julia Garner in Ozark.

And she’s definitely deserving! But still:

What I predicted:

Another excellent list with deserving nominees. I feel like Meryl Streep probably has this one tied up with a performance that was cunning, scary and at times hilarious. That said, keep an eye out for Helena Boham Carter and Thandie Newton.

Who Will Win: Meryl Streep

Who Should Win: Meryl Streep

9:54: Yara Shahidi presents the last of the women of color segments, this one featuring the lovely and talented America Ferrera:

10:00 p.m.: Our final presenter is Sterling Brown who does a whole bit where he acts as if he thinks he’s being sent out to accept the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series for This is Us, the joke being that the series wasn’t even nominated this year (which is, to be fair, pretty surprising). BUT MY GOD, MAN, JUST GET ON WITH IT. IT’S THE LAST AWARD OF THE NIGHT, NO ONE WANTS JOKES RIGHT NOW.

And the Emmy goes to Succession, easily the best show on television that wasn’t Watchmen.

We return to the oddly symmetrical apartment of one Jesse Armstrong where he delivers the best acceptance speech of the night:

“Being robbed of the opportunity to spend time with our peers, maybe I’d like to do a couple of un-thankyous.

“Un-thankyou to the virus, for keeping us all apart this year. Un-thankyou to President Trump for his crummy and uncoordinated response. Un-thankyou to Boris Johnson and his government for doing the same in my country.

“Un-thankyou to all the nationalist and quasi-nationalist governments in the world who are exactly the opposite of what we need right now. And un-thankyou to the media moguls who do so much to keep them in power. So un-thankyou!”

What I predicted:

My big concern is that the show that most deserves to win on this list, Succession, will be beat out by Ozark. It just feels like Ozark has more momentum right now. And good for it, if it wins, but Succession is the better show, certainly the best show on this list.

Who Will Win: Ozark

Who Should Win: Succession

And with that, we conclude the strangest Emmys ever. Until next year, kids — now go take a shower, you’ve been wearing those sweatpants for days. 

The 72nd Primetime Emmys were held on ABC on September 20, 2020.

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