Hazmat suits and cardboard cut-out celebs: How this year’s socially-distanced Emmys went down

It’s been a weird year for events, and the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards were no exception.

Substituting a packed awards house for an empty room, Jimmy Kimmel opened the Emmys by revealing this year’s award winners would receive their trophies at home – from interns in hazmat suits.

Working to a room filled with cardboard cut-out celebrities in the stands, Kimmel reminded viewers partway through his intro: “This isn’t a MAGA rally, it’s the Emmys.”

The socially distanced awards show also featured an all-too realistic Ozark star Jason Bateman, who argued he should be allowed to stay because “it’s a big night for me” and had “very clean hands”.

Nominees were, however, safely at home and would be connected to host Kimmel through more than 100 different video calls, while winners received their awards delivered to their homes by a Television Academy employee wearing a tuxedo-style hazmat suit.

This made for some pretty awkward encounters.

The biggest winners of the night included Schitt’s Creek, which swept the comedy categories with seven Emmys going to the Canadian series.

Watchmen scored ‘Best Limited Series’, ‘Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie’ (Regina King) ‘Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series’ (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), and ‘Best Writing In a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Sequel’.

And Succession won the coveted ‘Best Drama Series Emmy’, as well as ‘Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series’ (Jeremy Strong), ‘Best Writing in a Drama Series’ and ‘Best Directing in a Drama Series’.

While Zendaya, 24, made history as the youngest person to ever win the ‘Lead Actress in a Drama Series’ category for her role as Rue in the series Euphoria.

“I know this seems like a really weird time to be celebrating,” she said.

“But I just want to say there is hope in the young people out there. I know our TV show doesn’t always feel like a great example of that.”

Nominees also used their looks for the event to refer to some of the year’s most important events.

Among these were Regina King, Sterling K Brown, and Uzo Aduba who wore clothes that referenced Black Lives Matter and the killing of Breonna Taylor, whom both King and Aduba paid tribute to in their speeches.

Politics also received mention on more than a few occasions, often by presenter Jimmy Kimmel.

While British writer Jesse Armstrong, who accepted the ‘Best Drama Series’ award for Succession, gave viewers something a little different with a list of “un-thank yous”, including to the coronavirus.

“Un-thank you to President Trump for his crummy and uncoordinated response,” Armstrong said. “Un-thank you Boris Johnson and his government for doing the same in my country.”

In news outside of the Emmys, longtime E! host and awards show correspondent Giuliana Rancic was absent from the 2020 Emmys red carpet because she and her entire family had tested positive for COVID-19, she revealed in a statement shared by E!.