(LOS ANGELES) — Like everything else in 2020, the Emmy Awards was like no other year.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jimmy Kimmel hosted to an empty audience at the Staples Center in Los Angeles while nominees watched from home.
The Emmys started off with a bang with an unprecedented sweep by Schitt’s Creek. The show, which ended its six-season run this year, made history by becoming the first comedy series to sweep all the major comedy categories.
And the Emmys made history again when, toward the end of the show, 24-year-old Zendaya became the youngest person to win outstanding actress in a drama series for her role in Euphoria.
In between those historical moments, many stars took a moment to use their platform to deliver impassioned messages to viewers.
Among those was Mark Ruffalo, who gave a powerful speech during his win for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie, urging viewers to fight for diversity and get out and vote.
“If you have privilege, you have to fight for those who are less fortunate and more vulnerable. And that’s what’s great about America — our diversity,” he said.
Regina King, who won for lead actress in a limited series or movie and wore a shirt honoring slain Black woman Breonna Taylor, ended her speech with a similar message.
“Have a voting plan,”she said. “Go to Ballotpedia.com, vote up the ballot.”
Anthony Anderson, who was nominated for lead actor in Black-ish, appeared in-person from the Staples Center and told Kimmel, “I’m still rooting for everybody Black because Black stories, Black performances and Black lives matter.”
He then led the Emmys host in a chant of “Black lives matter,” telling him to say it loud enough so Vice President “Mike Pence can hear it.”
Jennifer Aniston, up for lead actress in a drama for The Morning Show, had some old Friends over on her big night — her Friends co-stars Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow. Cox and Aniston joked about being roommates since 1994.
And, movie and TV mogul Tyler Perry, the recipient of this year’s Governors Award, accepted his Emmy with a story-turned-metaphor about a homemade quilt his grandmother once gave him.
Perry later saw a similar quilt in an antique store. The salesman told him the quilt was made by a former slave who added each patch of the quilt to represent a part of her life. Perry said the story made him so “embarrassed” that he had initially brushed off the significance of his grandmother’s gift.
“Here I was a person who prides myself on celebrating our heritage, our culture, and I didn’t even recognize the value in my grandmother’s quilt,” Perry said. “I dismissed her work and her story because it didn’t look like what I thought it should.”
“We are all sewing our own quilts with our thoughts, our behavior, our experiences and our memories,” he said.
Perry noted how he now owns land that once was a Confederate Army base. Now, “on that very land, Black people, white people, gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, ex-cons, Latin, Asian, all of us come together working,” he said, “to add patches to a quilt that is as diverse as it can be.”
You can find the complete list of winners at Emmys.com.
By Emily Shapiro and Danielle Long
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