Emmys 2020: Unique or unnecessary?


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A close up of the iconic Emmy Awards statue. The show only garnered 6.1 million viewers, a drop from last years 6.9 million viewers.

The Emmy Awards have been around for decades, but in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, the celebrities honored last Sunday had to live the experience a little differently. 

To avoid large crowds, the ceremony was hosted virtually for celebrities, while host Jimmy Kimmel stood on stage in an empty arena giving out awards . Artists accepted their awards through video chat, and despite there not being a red carpet or paparazzi, they still dressed to the nines to fully live out the night as best they could.

There were some amazing, well-deserved wins for several celebs, like Zendaya, who won Outstanding Drama Actress, and the comedy show Schitt’s Creek, who stole a total of five awards. But, the entire time, I had one big question lingering: is this all necessary?

Award shows like the Emmys have been the same for years; they consist of a live audience and are usually hosted in an arena to hold a large number of guests and celebrities. 

There are sometimes after parties and pre-parties often lasting as long as three hours. There has never really been a change to the way award ceremonies are done until this year. Although the Emmys are not the first award show to try and deliver the same experience to both artists and viewers at home, they were the first that seemed, to me, non-essential. 

Living in a time period where regular day-to-day life is interrupted, many people want to try and foster as much normalcy as possible. But, in a situation like this, are award shows really needed? 

Of course, celebrities should be honored, and there are many ways to do that, but trying to act  like everything is normal while hosting an award show where things are clearly not normal anymore is upsetting to see. If I turn the T.V., I’m going to want to escape from the outside world, not be reminded of it. 

If I was a celebrity, I would love to still be able to dress up and act out the night, regardless of it being virtual or not. But, as someone who is not a celebrity, I don’t really see the need for it all. 

Announcing the nominees and winners online works just as well as attempting to host the show virtually. The artists can thank the academy through their social media platforms without having to worry about tuning in for a video call or network issues. 

Overall, I was entertained by the virtual event, but regardless of my enjoyment, I hated sitting through the broadcast alone in my dorm room thinking, “Wow, life really isn’t normal right now, is it?” 

Award shows, like many other live broadcasted talk shows and media events, have been coming across as ignorant and tone deaf lately, not realizing that their virtual experiences are just a reminder to the outside world how different everything is during the pandemic.