Hollywood stars don pajamas for pandemic-era ‘virtual’ Emmys

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LOS ANGELES, Sept 20, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – TV stars picked out their
favorite pajamas ahead of Sunday’s reinvented, pandemic-hit Emmys,
which will see nominees accept prizes live from their homes, with dark
superhero satire “Watchmen” tipped to dominate the night.

Hollywood’s first major Covid-era award show will look radically
different to previous editions, with no red carpet and a host
broadcasting from an empty theater in Los Angeles, which remains under
strict lockdown.

Winners at the 72nd Emmys — the small-screen equivalent of the
Oscars — have been sent cameras to hook up in their own living rooms,
gardens and even bedrooms.

They have also been encouraged to get creative with their
acceptance speeches as well as locations, meaning even the show’s
producers are in for a few surprises.

“They don’t know what it’s going to look like — it’s a crapshoot,”
said Deadline awards columnist Pete Hammond.

Jimmy Kimmel has been tasked with hosting the night.

The late night funnyman began presenting his own talk show from
home months ago, and held together the notorious 2017 Oscars after a
fiasco saw the wrong best picture winner announced.

“The executive producers at least seem very prepared for anything
and more importantly everything to go wrong,” said Libby Hall,
IndieWire’s TV awards editor.

As for the awards themselves, “Watchmen” leads the charge with a
whopping 26 nominations, primarily in the limited series categories.

The timely graphic novel spin-off — which won rave reviews from
critics and audiences alike — tackles historic US racism, police
violence and even mask-wearing.

“‘Watchmen’ speaks so specifically in so many unprecedented ways to
the moment in which we’re living right now,” said Hill.

“I think people will probably get pretty tired of hearing
Watchmen’s name getting called… it’s as much of a lock as we have
right now.”

– ‘Big momentum’ –

The prestigious drama series categories promise to be more closely
contested this year than in recent editions — HBO’s Emmys
record-breaking “Game of Thrones” has finally mounted a dragon and
soared off to Westeros.

“It’s a relief for HBO that they have ‘Succession’ hitting at the
right time,” said Hammond.

The dark portrait of a powerful Murdoch-esque family’s wrangling
for control of a dynastic media empire has amassed 18 nominations.

It is tied with “Ozark,” Jason Bateman’s crime saga set in the
American heartland from Netflix, which despite landing a record 160
nominations this year is still desperate to win its first major series
Emmy.

Dark horses include British royals saga “The Crown” and live-action
Star Wars series “The Mandalorian,” which boasts lavish Thrones-esque
production values and has already won multiple Emmys in technical
categories for newcomer Disney+.

In the race for comedy honors, past winner “The Marvelous Mrs
Maisel” — Amazon’s quirky tale of a 1950s housewife who becomes a
standup comic — will battle sleeper hit “Schitt’s Creek.”

The latter, a Canadian comedy about a privileged family forced to
live in a rundown motel, failed to earn a single nomination in its
first four years, but gained attention by later airing on Netflix and
signed off with a heartwarming final season.

Emmy voters “know it’s the show’s last chance… that’s the one
that’s got big momentum,” said Hammond.

– ‘Crapshoot’ –

Of the more than 100 acting nominations in the drama, comedy,
limited series and television movie categories this year, more than a
third of them went to black actors — a new record

Aside from the awards themselves, the night will honor the career
achievement of Tyler Perry.

The African-American entertainment mogul has championed greater
diversity in Hollywood, and this year paid funeral costs for black
victims of police violence including George Floyd.

The theme of tackling racism is expected to feature prominently
throughout the night.

Many stars in famously liberal Hollywood are likely to have a wary
eye on President Donald Trump’s re-election bid — and to express
grief over the death of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

And then of course there’s the pandemic itself to address.

“Even if Sunday night is a complete disaster, it’s at least going
to be an interesting disaster,” said Hill.

“And that’s really all you can ask for in 2020.”

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