Emmys 2020: Succession, Watchmen and Schitt’s Creek sweep – as it happened

Last modified: 04: 06 AM GMT+0

An unusual year has led to an unusual format for the glossy awards ceremony as Schitt’s Creek is first to win all four comedy acting categories

That's a wrap


A strange night, introducing what will be the new awards show normal for the foreseeable future as the television academy brought their annual party to living rooms, green rooms and event spaces around the world. It was an unusual ceremony, intriguing to start with and a little boring by the end but then the Emmys, with its lack of musical performances or breaks between awards, is never the most entertaining night of the year.

Jimmy Kimmel was a sturdy if a little safe choice of host whose lack of bite was countered somewhat by a string of deserving and diverse victories, some were genuine surprises while most were at least given to newer, more daring shows. Without Game of Thrones and Veep to dominate and with The Marvelous Mrs Maisel left to pick up the scraps, Schitt’s Creek, Succession and Watchmen were the big winners, a strong showing for HBO but a disappointing night for Netflix.

It was a mostly slick night, devoid of big glitches, but there was a sense of spirit or at least fun missing, something that the upcoming awards ceremonies will hopefully work to figure out by the time they come around. This was a patchy start but a start nonetheless.

Here’s a look at tonight’s strange evening in full:

While the final season of Schitt’s Creek swept the comedy board, there’s some grumbling about another final season coming to an end with no awards waiting:

The Good Place never won a single Emmy? Seriously? GTFOH.

— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) September 21, 2020

I was not a big fan of the final season of The Good Place (though I thought it was good!), but it winning no Emmys across its entire run is very disappointing!

— Emily VanDerWerff 😎 (@emilyvdw) September 21, 2020

i'm very happy for schitt's creek but i also feel bad for the team of the good place, which was one of the defining pieces of TV art of the trump era

— David Mack (@davidmackau) September 21, 2020

Here’s an interview from 2019 with Regina King, one of tonight’s big winners from the most awarded show this year:


In case you missed it, here’s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s moving speech from earlier tonight:

"I dedicate this award to all the Black women in my life. The people who believed in my first." @yahya wins #Emmy for supporting actor in limited series or movie for his role in @Watchmen. https://t.co/Lvq117xzZ6 #Emmys pic.twitter.com/Fo9dRIoV0K

— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 21, 2020


Here’s one of the slightly less awful comedy bits from tonight:

And here’s a similar breakdown by show:

Watchmen - 11

Schitt’s Creek - 9

Succession - 7

The Mandalorian - 7

RuPaul’s Drag Race - 6

Saturday Night Live - 6

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver - 4

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - 4

So Netflix might have had the most nominations going in, with a record-breaking 160 across the board, but it was HBO’s night. Including both the Creative Arts Emmys and the telecast, here’s the full tally by the top networks:

HBO - 30

Netflix - 21

Pop TV - 10

Disney+ - 8

NBC - 8

VH1 - 6

ABC - 5

National Geographic - 5

Just a reminder, since it was about 40 hours ago, that the night started off with a number of big wins for Canada

Congratulations to the cast and crew of @SchittsCreek for their historic Emmy's sweep tonight - and for bringing such joy and humour to all our lives these past six years. And to all Canadians who were nominated this year, we’re so proud of your great work too.

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 21, 2020

Sarah Snook made a tin foil Emmy btw

It's Sarah Snook's tin foil #Emmy for us pic.twitter.com/odWyLmhZ6v

— Vulture (@vulture) September 21, 2020

In case you missed it, here’s Kimmel’s strange opening monologue

WINNER: Succession - drama series


And there it is. The big award of the night goes to the show everyone has been talking about for the last year. Jesse Armstrong is picking it up back in London understandably disappointed not to be with the rest of the cast. His speech is full of un-thank yous to the virus, to nationalists and to Trump and Johnson for their “crummy” responses to the pandemic.

WINNER: Julia Garner (Ozark) – supporting actress in a drama series


The second year in a row for Julia Garner winning in this category and this time it was fiercer than ever with Helena Bonham-Carter, Laura Dern and professional award-winner Meryl Streep. It’s also one of the rare big wins for Netflix tonight ...


WINNER: Billy Crudup (The Morning Show) – supporting actor in a drama series


Ooh another shock here given the three Succession contenders but Billy Crudup’s divisive role in Apple’s divisive show has won out. It’s an important end note for the fresh streamer given a mostly quiet night for them.


Here’s that semi-Friends reunion in case you’ve missed it:

Jennifer Aniston, @LisaKudrow, and @courteneycox reunite at the #Emmys. https://t.co/aMQbvKLGl8@courteneycox: "We live together."@JimmyKimmel: "You do?"
Jennifer Aniston: "We’ve been roommates since 1994, Jimmy." pic.twitter.com/E9A5wSchM6

— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 21, 2020

A very shocked Zendaya:

.@Zendaya's #Emmys win has her in a total state of.... #Euphoria. 😉 pic.twitter.com/UrRzVlquHe

— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) September 21, 2020

WINNER: Andrij Parekh (Succession) – directing for a drama series


The cinematographer turned director is another welcome winner for Succession and he delivered a touching speech about belonging in America with his children. Three more awards left and at least one of them is going to Succession ...


WINNER: Jesse Armstrong (Succession) – writing for a drama series


A very deserving win for Jesse Armstrong whose whipsmart Succession scripts easily outdo pretty much anything else on the small screen. He’s surprisingly still awake and still coherent despite accepting the award from London at an ungodly hour. It’s a big night for HBO.


WINNER: Zendaya (Euphoria) – lead actress in a drama series


A big surprise here for an extremely deserving Zendaya, who has beaten out favourites Jennifer Aniston and Olivia Colman to pick up one of the night’s biggest awards for her lead role in the dark HBO drama Euphoria.

She’s shocked but gracious and aware that it’s “a weird time to be celebrating” while also paying tribute to those “on the streets” doing the work.


This is ... impressive.

Regina King has won 4 Emmys for 4 different roles within 5 years. (And an Oscar!) That's gotta be a record

— kateyrich (@kateyrich) September 21, 2020


WINNER: Jeremy Strong (Succession) – lead actor in a drama series


A slight shock here, less so for the show but more for the star with Jeremy Strong winning out over his more-favoured co-star Brian Cox. The second season of Succession has turned it into one of the biggest dramas on TV and, as things start to wrap up, this will probably be the first of a number of awards for HBO’s hit tonight.


Aaaand here’s how it looks from the inside:

Just hanging out with a few of my friends... #Emmys pic.twitter.com/t7NFRwO49i

— Sterling K Brown (@SterlingKBrown) September 21, 2020


In case you need a refresher, here’s a list of tonight’s winners so far:


This happened too. Which feels ... unsafe.

My favorite characters from "Friends": Phoebe, Michael Bluth, Rachel, and Monica!! ✨ #Emmys pic.twitter.com/l8YQk0U0U6

— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) September 21, 2020


WINNER: RuPau's Drag Race – competition program

RuPaul’s Drag Race with the B-52s

Another win here for the standout show of the category or at least the one with the most passionate fanbase. RuPaul also won a fifth Emmy earlier this week for hosting the show, breaking a record.


A tribute section now to those who have died in the past year, soundtracked by the incredibly talented HER with a rocky cover of Nothing Compares 2 U. Regis Philbin, Robert Forster, Lynn Shelton, Jerry Stiller and Ian Holm are among those being remembered.

WINNER: Watchmen - limited series


And, as a shock to no one, the most nominated show of the night has won the award for limited series. Given the incredible balancing act Watchmen pulled off, it’s a win that feels wholly earned.

Damon Lindelof’s speech is gracious and generous given the nature of the show, quoting others over himself. “Stop worrying about getting cancelled and start worrying about what you’re doing to get renewed,” he says.


WINNER: Uzo Aduba (Mrs America) – supporting actress in a TV movie/limited series


The first win tonight for Mrs America (a show that would usually have swept the board) and the third Emmy for Uzo Aduba, who has won twice before for Orange is the New Black. She is also the second winner tonight, after Regina King, to wear a Breonna Taylor T-shirt.


See, excitement!

Such a joyous moment for Maria Schrader, who just won her first #Emmy for directing #Unorthodox! pic.twitter.com/9vnsKKaOqX

— Television Academy (@TelevisionAcad) September 21, 2020

A small record here tonight: Schitt’s Creek is the first show to ever sweep all four comedy acting categories. In case you need more reasons to watch it, here ya go:

WINNER: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Watchmen) – supporting actor in a TV movie/limited series


An interesting category here without a real frontrunner but a deserved win for the rising star from Watchmen. He’s a bit taken aback but his speech is incisive and well-crafted, talking about the dangers of white domestic violence and devoting the award to all of the black women in his life.


WINNER: Maria Schrader (Unorthodox) – directing for a TV movie/limited series


Ooh a nice surprise here for the breakout Netflix series and nice to see a surprised winner for once tonight! It was a tough category, including the late Lynn Shelton for Little Fires Everywhere, and the streamer’s first win for the evening despite going in with the most nominations.


Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are having an Emmys watch party together pretending that it’s a new year’s celebration for 2021, another joke tonight that isn’t working! To the next award!

WINNER: Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson (Watchmen) – writing for a TV movie/limited series


The second win for Watchmen, the most nominated show of the night, which has co-writer Cord Jefferson thanking his therapist (“Therapy should be free!”), a rare, and refreshing, shoutout for a winner’s speech!

Watchmen shall return very soon ...


WINNER: Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True) – lead actor in a TV movie/limited series


A slight shock here for those who thought Hugh Jackman would win for his performance in HBO’s acclaimed drama Bad Education, especially given how Mark Ruffalo’s dark series was mostly ignored in most categories.

The actor is using his spotlight to talk about the importance of mental health awareness and how we look after the most vulnerable members of society. “We have to come together with love,” he says in a speech heralding the importance of diversity and staying together during a difficult time. He’s another winner talking about how voting could save us all from division and hate this November. It’s a welcome relief from Kimmel’s disappointing avoidance of political barbs.


WINNER: Regina King (Watchmen) - lead actress in a TV movie/limited series


An explosion of confetti and a knock on the door for Regina King for her role in Watchmen, the most nominated show of the evening. King, who is on her way to becoming an EGOT, delivers an impassioned speech in a Breonna Taylor T-shirt.

It’s the first of a number of wins for the acclaimed show as well as a big season for King whose big-screen directorial debut, One Night in Miami, is also set to return her to the Oscars stage.


WINNER: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - variety talk series


Okay so those Emmys-in-boxes are a thing and they’re threatening to wound whoever wins for the rest of the night (they will spring out when announced).

Presented by a countryside-lurking David Letterman, the predictable winner was John Oliver for Last Week Tonight. It was fun to watch him terrified of how the box might open as well as gratifying given how much his weekly show continues to outdo any of his rivals.

This just dropped during a commercial break. Kind of a big deal ...

WINNER: Schitt's Creek – comedy series


An incredibly random list of celebrities bigged up the nominees (including Elton John, the Broad City ladies, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Count von Count – sure) although we all knew who would win this one.

It’s the final comedy award of the night and the seventh for Schitt’s Creek, accepted by the Levy family. Dan has come to implore viewers to vote before apologising for making things too political. Eugene has smartly thanked Netflix, the platform that really did turn the show into the hit it ultimately became. That’s it for comedy! No more laughs tonight!


WINNER: Annie Murphy (Schitt's Creek) – supporting actress in a comedy series


In another nice touch, a UPS delivery driver is presenting this award. Aaaaand it’s ANOTHER award for Schitt’s Creek for Annie Murphy, one of the lesser known members of the cast.

“I’m so proud to be part of a show that stands for love and kindness and inclusivity and acceptance,” she says in a speech from the same envious party we still can’t attend.


It’s been a rather white night so far but now there’s a taped interview from Issa Rae, star and creator of the wonderful and under-awarded Insecure, explaining how a lack of understanding of what her show means caused her to fight harder for it to get made. It’s looking doubtful given Schitt’s haul but here’s hoping her excellent fourth season gets something by the end of the night.

WINNER: Dan Levy (Schitt's Creek) – supporting actor for a comedy series


There’s a nicely judged intro for this category from a teacher, one of many shoutouts to come for frontline workers during the pandemic.

“The internet’s about to turn on me,” blares Levy, who is probably wrong given the fervent fans for his cult show Schitt’s Creek. He calls it the greatest experience of his life to play this role and is extremely grateful for his big win. So far it’s sweeping all of the comedy categories and there are a few left for it to scoop.


WINNER: Andrew Cividino and Dan Levy (Schitt's Creek) – directing for a comedy series


Aaaand the sweep continues with another award for the comedy that’s slowly become a thing. Levy has thankfully ceded the stage to a grateful Cividino. More to come for this one.


Regina King, who is favourite to win later for Watchmen, has made a statement tonight with her choice of outfit (something Kimmel has conspicuously avoided doing tonight).

Regina King is wearing a Breonna Taylor shirt at the Emmys. pic.twitter.com/KrLKYUSfQ1

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 21, 2020


Ohhhhh this is what happens then:

when you lose the emmy pic.twitter.com/ECkbGcoHBA

— ramy youssef (@ramy) September 21, 2020


WINNER: Dan Levy (Schitt's Creek) – writing for a comedy series


Oof another spectacularly unfunny bit between Kimmel and an IRL Tracee Ellis Ross, ironic given the category. But yes, another big win for Schitt’s Creek from Dan Levy who stars in and writes for one of the most popular shows of the night.

It’s a huge night for Pop TV, if not a little bittersweet given that it’s the final season of their only known show ...


WINNER: Eugene Levy (Schitt's Creek) - lead actor in a comedy series


Aaand the Schitt’s Creek Toronto cast party might as well be the actual Emmys ceremony at this stage. Eugene Levy has been handed the second award of the night by a Hazmat suit-wearing somebody for his role in the final season of the offbeat comedy series.

He’s giving a heartfelt speech about his long-term castmates as well as his family focused on his son who came up with the show with him. Again, more shall come for this one and again if only we were all in Toronto right now.

This happened! It was part of a joke that didn’t work!

Jennifer Aniston really just put out a whole fire on live TV #Emmys pic.twitter.com/xraY90ojRH

— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) September 21, 2020

WINNER: Catherine O'Hara (Schitt's Creek) - lead actress in a comedy series


So that PJs post was a lie. Jennifer Aniston, a close friend of Kimmel’s, is there in person to present the first award after some unbearable banter about a deadly virus. Aaaaaand as expected Catherine O’Hara has won for the final season of critical darling and fan favourite Schitt’s Creek.

She’s accepting the award from a Toronto get-together with the rest of the cast which means we can’t see what her living room is like. She’s thanking the Levys for giving her the chance to be ridiculous as well as her “wardrobe whisperer” for putting her in a string of unhinged outfits. There will be a lot more for awards these chaps coming tonight ...

Here we go


And so it begins. Jimmy Kimmel has come on stage for the “Pandemmys” in front of a fake crowd digitally recreated from a previous year. He’s questioning the need of awards during a global pandemic (same) but also relying on his rather exhausting schtick of criticising the ceremony he’s been hired to host. Cool.

Using previous reactions (cut-tos, laughter and applause) to his monologue is creepy given that it’s not one that’s worth much of a reaction. It’s a strange way of pretending that we’re not where we are. But hey, joking about Quibi (“dumbest thing to ever cost a billion dollars”) is always welcome.

Wait, now the facade has dropped, with Kimmel seeing himself react to his own jokes. It’s a dumb way of progressing to reality but hey, at least we’re now back to 2020. Cardboard cutouts are taking the place of nominees apart from some of the stars who are actually there (as mentioned) such as Jason Bateman, sitting by himself in the audience.

Here come all those awards/living rooms/tech glitches ...


Not everyone is at home tonight! Canada ftw!

and our Roses have arrived! pic.twitter.com/JuFHlsVUZd

— Schitt's Creek (@SchittsCreek) September 20, 2020

One of tonight’s big shows is Insecure, which has picked up a ton of noms for its excellent fourth season which explored a fractured friendship with uncomfortably well-observed detail. Here’s our interview with Issa Rae, the mastermind and nominated lead star:


Snubs! Surprises! The noms gave us a lot of predictable choices but also a lot to get ANGRY or at least SHOCKED about earlier this year. Here’s Stuart Heritage on all that:

Bad news for anyone hoping for an early night tonight:

“If we’re in someone’s house with them, and something extraordinary happens, we’re not going to stop if we’re running over,” executive producer Ian Stewart said this week. “We want these natural moments to play out. Why would you want to cut that off?”

So while the nominees will be at home, Kimmel has revealed that a number of notable names will be with him in person at the Staples Center tonight. He joked that there’ll be “select celebrities on hand to infect [him]” but exactly who the TV academy trusts enough to be in the same space as him remains unsure ...

So the rumour that celebs will all be wearing designer pyjamas has been somewhat turned on its head by Zendaya, deservedly nominated for her fearless performance in Euphoria, who has been showing off her glamorous look for the night on her Instagram

THIS IS ZENDAYA SERVING LOOKS! 💜💜💜💜💜 pic.twitter.com/LnnIEjPy65

— Euphoria News (@EuphoriaHBONews) September 20, 2020


Here’s Jimmy Kimmel prepping for his rather lonely hosting gig tonight. While he’s often been a bit of a vanilla choice, his enthused and experienced style of hosting could be exactly what we need tonight ...


So given the staggering amount of Emmys given out each year (pretty much everyone in LA has at least two of ‘em by now), earlier this week saw the Creative Arts Emmys, which are handed out to some of the other categories not deemed important enough for the main show.

Here are some of the bigger winners from this year:

Outstanding television movie: Bad Education

Outstanding structured reality program: Queer Eye

Outstanding unstructured reality program: Cheer

Outstanding documentary or non-fiction series: The Last Dance

Outstanding animated program: Rick and Morty

Outstanding guest actor in a comedy series: Eddie Murphy (Saturday Night Live)

Outstanding guest actress in a comedy series: Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live)

Outstanding guest actress in a drama series: Cherry Jones (Succession)

Outstanding guest actor in a drama series: Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us)

As mentioned, it’s going to be a weird night. Hazmat suits, rumours of triggered boxes (with Emmys maybe flying out for winners), designer pyjamas, just ... weird.

Here’s a bit more on what to expect:

25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards, Arrivals, Barker Hanger, Los Angeles, USA - 12 Jan 2020Mandatory Credit: Photo by AFF-USA/REX/Shutterstock (10524160fp) John Leguizamo 25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards, Arrivals, Barker Hanger, Los Angeles, USA - 12 Jan 2020

While this year’s field is the most diverse ever with a record 34.3% of nominated actors being black, including Don Cheadle, Maya Rudolph and Billy Porter (up from 19.8% in 2019), there are others feeling left out.

Actor and director John Leguizamo has announced that he will be boycotting the ceremony after a lack of Latinx representation, although he blames the industry at large.

“It’s unbelievable that our stories aren’t being told, and there’s one reason for that,” he said. “Executives don’t see us, don’t get us – don’t care about us.”

There’s also been upset over the lack of trans actors in the mix despite FX hit Pose receiving nominations elsewhere, including for Billy Porter as best lead actor in a drama.

“I didn’t invent the academy or any of the award shows,” star Indya Moore tweeted. “If they think my work is unworthy Chile that’s just that ... Imagine if we depended on cis ppl to validate anything about us.”

In a field filled with newbies, it’s almost anyone’s game, which means you’ll need to check out how our resident expert Adrian Horton is predicting for the win. Spoiler: it could be a big night for the Roy family ...

Virtual reality

Regina King in Watchmen
Regina King in Watchmen. Photograph: Mark Hill/AP

For a while, it seemed like the Television Academy was going to find a way around the chaos of 2020 with early word suggesting that somehow, a live Emmys ceremony would still take place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. But as July rolled around, and as California continued to see cases on the rise, producers wisely decided to keep things virtual, a bold but practical statement for the year’s biggest night in television, one that would help to prevent Eugene Levy contracting a deadly virus.

It’s not the first awards ceremony of the year that’s had to confront a post-Covid world but it is the biggest and will probably set a precedent as we head into the unknown of another season. Nominees will be at home with state-of-the-art equipment capturing their disappointment or glee while Jimmy Kimmel, by now a pro at working from home on camera thanks to his late-night show, will commandeer the proceedings.

Given how stale the Emmys can often feel (a lack of performances means it’s really just award after award after award), the unusual format could make it an interesting evening as could the nominees, rich with diversity and representing a fresher set of shows than usual. The smart money is on Watchmen, Succession and Schitt’s Creek cleaning up with Game of Thrones and Veep out of the picture although for once, we could be in for some surprises.

We’ll be here with every awkward moment, every shock win and every revealing insight into how celebrities live until the very bitter end. Stick with us!


Benjamin Lee

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Watchmen, Succession and Schitt's Creek dominate virtual Emmys
The most diverse field in Emmys history garnered several awards for black actors and a full sweep for a Canadian sitcom

Adrian Horton

21, Sep, 2020 @4:03 AM

Article image
Emmys 2020: Watchmen and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel lead nominations
The acclaimed HBO graphic novel adaptation leads the pack with 26 nominations, with the Amazon period comedy following behind

Benjamin Lee

28, Jul, 2020 @4:36 PM

Article image
Emmys 2016: the full list of nominees
Game of Thrones leads the pack with 23 nominations and The Americans, and Veep join newcomers Mr Robot and Master of None with multiple nominations

Lanre Bakare in New York

14, Jul, 2016 @4:43 PM

Article image
Emmys 2020 predictions: who will win and who should win?
With end of former juggernauts Game of Thrones and Veep, this year’s virtual Emmys are a mixed bag, with Succession, Schitt’s Creek and Watchmen leading the nominations

Adrian Horton

18, Sep, 2020 @6:32 AM

Article image
Emmys 2021: The Crown and Ted Lasso triumph – as it happened
The biggest night in television has seen major wins for Kate Winslet, the stars of The Crown and breakout football comedy Ted Lasso

Benjamin Lee

20, Sep, 2021 @4:23 AM

Article image
Filthy rich: why the awful antics of Succession are so addictive
The slick, anti-aspirational drama about a rich Murdoch-esque empire shouldn’t be quite this compulsive but it remains an odd fascination

Adrian Horton

22, Aug, 2019 @6:00 AM

Article image
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and Game of Thrones win big at Emmys – as it happened
The year’s biggest night in television saw a number of major showdowns, but no wins for Atlanta – and a big marriage proposal

Benjamin Lee

18, Sep, 2018 @3:49 AM

Article image
What about Twin Peaks? The 2018 Emmys' bizarre snubs
While Game of Thrones takes the lead, Twin Peaks: The Return was stuck with just technical recognition and Mindhunter was nowhere to be seen

Stuart Heritage

12, Jul, 2018 @5:17 PM

Article image
Emmys 2019: Game of Thrones leads race with record 32 nominations
The final season of the fantasy drama leads the pack while The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Fleabag, Chernobyl and When They See Us follow behind

Benjamin Lee in New York

16, Jul, 2019 @4:55 PM

Article image
The 50 best TV shows of 2018: the full list
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s femme fatale takes the top spot, above political high camp, breakneck drama and the water-cooler hit of the decade

21, Dec, 2018 @11:03 AM