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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Emmys disappoint with COVID-19 concerns and questionable wins

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The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards honored the best U.S. prime time television shows, as chosen by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

After a painfully long three-hour ceremony stuffed with awful sketches, lengthy acceptance speeches and questionable wins, television’s biggest night is finally over. Allow me, also named Emmy, to walk you through this year’s Emmys. 

As Seth Rogen pointed out in his presentation of the first award, the ceremony did not seem to be COVID-conscious. “They said this was outdoors,” he said. “It’s not. They lied to us. We’re in a hermetically sealed tent right now. I would not have come to this.” Despite the show’s later attempt (defensive rambling from DJ Reggie Watts) to assure viewers it was safe, the venue seemed quite packed. 

Despite the potentially hazardous nature of the event, the entertainment had to have been worth it, right? Wrong. Host Cedric the Entertainer fumbled through a series of unfunny sketches, one of which was entirely devoted to the fly on Mike Pence’s head in the vice presidential debate. Other parts of the ceremony felt out of place as well, like when “Hamilton,” the 2020 filmed version of the 2015 musical, won for the Outstanding Variety Special, Pre-Recorded category over Bo Burnham’s stroke of genius, “Inside” (2021) (among other well-deserving nominees).

The ceremony itself was terrible, and most in-person attendees were clearly hating it as well. Conan O’Brien gave Television Academy Chief Executive Frank Scherma an obnoxiously loud standing ovation. “How do we get out of here?” Amy Poehler asked at one point during the show.

Despite the record-breaking diversity in the field of nominees, none of the acting trophies went to people of color, a few of whom were frontrunners in their respective categories. It was indeed a frustrating night for many. 

As for who did win, “Ted Lasso” (2020–) scored big in comedy, earning Jason Sudeikis, Brett Goldstein and Hannah Waddingham acting prizes.HBO’s showbiz hit “Hacks” (2021–) earned awards for directing and writing, and acting legend Jean Smart received a standing ovation for her win as its fearless lead actress

The Crown” (2016–) predictably swept the drama category, but not without a few surprises. Olivia Colman won for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II,which was expected to go to either her castmate Emma Corrin, who played Princess Diana, or landmark nominee Mj Rodriguez of “Pose” (2018–2021). Colman herself was clearly surprised by the win, as she said in her acceptance speech, “I would have put money on that not happening.”

In another strange but rather sad moment, Kerry Washington’s presentation of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series included a moving tribute to the late Michael K. Williams (also nominated) before she opened the envelope and announced Tobias Menzies’ name.

The Limited Series category was probably the most competitive one of the year, and voters seemed  split between “Mare of Easttown” (2021), “I May Destroy You” (2020) and “The Queen’s Gambit” (2020), which won overall.Kate Winslet, Julianne Nicholson and Evan Peters won for “Mare of Easttown,” and Ewan McGregor had a surprising win for “Halston” (2021).

In the best moment of the night, Michaela Coel finally won her trophy for writing in “I May Destroy You,” an achievement underscored by her moving acceptance speech.

Despite a few highlights, this was a reminder that awards shows are simply not worth watching, at least in this author's opinion. If it was torturous from the comfort of my couch and sweatpants, it’s hard to imagine being one of the in-person attendees — dressed to the nines, stuffed in a tent with self-obsessed celebrities, bad entertainment and surely some COVID-19 molecules.