The Primetime Emmy Awards, which honour the best in television, were held virtually on Sunday night. HBO series Watchmen was the biggest winner of the night, taking home eleven awards, including one for Outstanding Limited Series.
Regina King and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II also won awards for lead actress and actor in a limited series. The show, which had an outstanding 26 nominations, is a reimagining of a superhero graphic novel that tackled racism in America. It got critical acclaim last year during its nine-episode run.
“This is freakin’ weird!” Regina King joked as the Emmy was presented to her at her home. In her acceptance speech, she encouraged viewers to register to vote in the US presidential election and paid tribute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Schitt’s Creek was the other big winner on the night. The Canadian show made history with nine prizes, breaking the record for most wins in a single season for a comedy. It’s a feat even TV greats such as ‘Frasier’ and ‘Modern Family’ failed to do.
“This is such a very nice moment,” said the show’s creator, Jesse Armstrong. “But it’s sad not to be with the cast and crew to share it.”
Zendaya made history with a surprise win for best drama actress, becoming the youngest ever winner in that category. The 24-year-old triumphed for her portrayal of a drug addict in HBO’s high school drama Euphoria. She’s the second Black actress to win the award, following Viola Davis’ win in 2015 for ‘How to Get Away with Murder.’
“I know this feels like a weird time to be celebrating, but I just want to say there is hope in the young people out there,” Zendaya said in her acceptance speech. “I know our TV show doesn’t always feel like a great example of that, but there is hope in the young people, and I just want to say to all my peers out there doing the work in the streets, I see you, I admire you, I thank you.”
Several winners used the ceremony to highlight certain issues in the US such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the struggle for equality.
Lead actress in a series winner, Regina King, wore a T-shirt featuring Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old woman from Louisville, who was shot and killed by police in March.
“The cops still haven’t been held accountable,” she said to reporters. “She represents just decades, hundreds of years of violence against Black bodies. Wearing Breonna’s likeness and representing her and her family and the stories that we were exploring, presenting and holding a mirror up to on ‘Watchmen,’ it felt appropriate to represent with Breonna Taylor.”
Nigerian-American actress Uzo Aduba also wore a black T-shirt with Taylor’s name in gold. “I would be remiss not to bring in some of what is happening outside in the streets and the experiences of so many who look like myself,” she told reporters.
‘This Is Us’ actor, Sterling K. Brown, presented the show’s final award for best drama series. He took to the stage at Staples Center wearing a black T-shirt with white letters BLM for Black Lives Matter and a white raised fist.