Welcome back from the weekend which began with the sad news that Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lost her decade-long battle with cancer on Friday, dying at the age of 87 with an entire country mourning and reflecting on her amazing career. It might not be immediately obvious what Justice Ginsburg has to do with the movies or television we cover here at Below the Line, but her constant fight for women’s rights and equality among people of all races, genders, sexual preferences and immigration status has made her a true hero among millions of Americans. If you’re a woman or LGBTQ or black or brown, there’s a very good chance that you’re working in the industry and receiving fair treatment due to her fights for justice within the Supreme Court over her 27 year tenure. She will be greatly missed for so many reasons. A huge loss.
Of course, that tragic event led to a somewhat brighter one as the 72nd Annual Emmy Awards went on as planned with a mix of clever ways of making sure they’re as fun as possible while sticking to COVID pandemic guidelines.
It began with Jimmy Kimmel doing monologue for a mostly empty auditorium cut together with taped audience laughter and applause from previous years, and then he’d be joined randomly by various celebs including Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, Anthony Anderson and Sterling K. Brown taking part in bits as well as presenting to the winners, who were mostly tuned in from their homes.
The night began with an amazing streak as the Pop TV show Schitt’s Creek won seven consecutive Emmys, winning all the 7 Comedy categories for which it was nominated, including Comedy Series. It began with Catherine O’Hara winning her first Emmy in over 36 years but also her first acting Emmy for Schitt’s Creek, followed quickly after by her co-star, Eugene Levy, which whom she shared that earlier Emmy for their writing on the Canadian sketch show, SCTV. They were soon joined by multiple Emmys for Levy’s son, Dan Levy, for writing, co-directing and his supporting actor role, as well as Annie Murphy for her role on the show. With ten total Emmy wins (including three from Creative Arts categories), Schitt’s Creek became the first comedy to win that many Emmys for a single season. (Oddly, it had received ZERO nominations for its previous five seasons.)
The rest of the night allowed Emmys to be spread out a little more, although HBO’s Watchmen looked to dominate with four successive wins added to the seven Creative Arts Emmys it had already won over the previous week, so that it ended up with the most Emmys for the year, including Outstanding Limited Series. (Oddly, it had three directing nominations for three different episodes but lost in that category to the Netflix show Unorthodox.)
Although the Emmys were mostly spread out, it was another big night for HBO who added eleven more Emmys on Sunday night to the 19 it had won in the Creative Arts portion of the awards for an outstanding 30 total Emmys, putting Netflix far behind in its berth as the streamer only took home two Emmys Sunday night for Unorthodox and for Julia Garner’s supporting performance in Ozark. FX and Apple TV+ plus were the only other networks to win last night (other than Pop TV, HBO and Netflix) with Uzo Aduba’s win for Mrs. America and Billy Cruddup’s Emmy for The Morning Show, respectively.
HBO effortlessly dominated the other non-Comedy categories with Watchmen’s four wins, and then the network’s Drama Succession added four more including Drama Series, Lead Actor to Jeremy Strong, and for its writing and directing. Euphoria star Zendaya became the youngest woman to ever win in the Lead Actress for a Drama, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver won in the Variety Talk series category, and Mark Ruffalo rounded out the network’s eleven for the night with his performance in I Know This Much is True.
Overall, it was a good show that did not shy away from the issues facing our country, whether it’s the pandemic — multiple first responders and essential workers presented Emmys during the night — or the Black Lives Matter movement, the call for diversity and inclusion in the industry and how it all has impacted the country. Many winners made political speeches and statements or just wore their feelings on “Black Lives Matter” and “Breonna Taylor” shirts. Tyler Perry received the Television Academy’s Governor’s Award for his work with Tyler Perry Studios.
Missed this on Friday but according to Deadline, Apple TV+ show See, starring Jason Momoa, is returning to production in Toronto. The streaming network’s other shows, Invasion and For All Mankind are also expected to return to production soon but with no date or location.
It looks like Netflix’s popular show Stranger Things may also be able to resume filming on its fourth season next week Monday, also according to Deadline. The tentative date would allow the production to restart work in Georgia after being shut down as the pandemic begun on March 13.
The ABC sitcom United We Fall has been cancelled after just one season. It debuted in mid-July and aired the last episode of the season in late August, but ABC has decided not to go forward, which may be another sign that network sitcoms may be hurt by the advent of so much streaming content over the past few months even with people having more time to watch stuff, presumably.
Significantly less high-profile than the Emmys, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) announced its own awards over the weekend. Probably the most significant awards to keep an eye on every year is People’s Choice Award, since they often go onto Oscar nominations. This year’s winner was Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland, with Regina King’s directorial debut, One Night in Miami and Tracey Deer’s Beans taking the runner-up slots. Past winners include The King’s Speech, Green Book, The Silver Linings Playbook, La La Land and last year’s Jojo Rabbit. All of these went onto multiple Oscar nominations including for Best Picture. Besides playing at TIFF, Nomadland also played as part of the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals and will be the Centrepiece of the New York Film Festival that began on Thursday, complete with a drive-in premiere.