Pandemmys 2020: Un-Thank Yous, Doctors and Dazzle

Pandemmys 2020: Un-Thank Yous, Doctors and Dazzle

Awarding, applauding, unmasking and other reasons why a man’s skirt, a pink pantsuit, the home couch and vulnerable lives mattered at the Emmys

It is humdrum, a tired way to argue a point by comparing India’s glamour and film industry with that in the West. Yet this moment is a telling one. Fettered by the universality of the pandemic gloom, people, communities and industries across the world are showing strands of vital differences in their individual and collective responses. If the fall of the celebrity, the unravelling of tinsel town arrogance and damaging allegations today define the entertainment industry moment in India, the Emmy Awards 2020 captured another zeitgeist.

Dissent is alive both here and there. Amongst cinematic celebrities. Yet there is a world of difference between making dissent a cohesive versus a divisive issue. Or, as the recently passed American Supreme Court justice and feminist Ruth Bader Ginsburg who was invoked with “Rest in Power RBG” lines by some Emmy winners had said: “Fight for the things that you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”



Actor Jennifer Aniston (left) on stage with Emmys 2020 host Jimmy Kimmel.

Of course, like every year, the awards were for the most memorable and outstanding performances for drama, talk show, short films and limited series on television and streaming platforms. For acting and scripting, producing and technological flourish, for directing and driving stories that keep us addictively glued wherever we may be in the world.

However, the Penultimate Emmy, the Big Pandemmy as Kimmel might like to call it went to the Television Academy, actors and nominees for taking the narrative of inclusivity, race and gender equality and dissent against white supremacy, that began a few years back at American awards functions, a few steps further. By bringing in real moments and sentimental slivers from the lives of those seldom applauded—a UPS delivery man, a postal services executive, a history teacher, doctors and nurses—men and women from essential services sectors who have unflinchingly played their valorous part in the pandemic—the Emmys applauded ordinariness in an extraordinary way.

The awards ceremony had unexpected but enjoyable walk-ins to Kimmel’s stage. The inimitable Jennifer Aniston of the forever sitcom Friends, arrived in a dazzling necklace and a figure hugging black dress to douse a fire lit to sanitise an awards envelope, giving Kimmel firefighting company. This, after she and some of her Friends co-stars had waved from their screens at home. Aniston in a dressing gown while at home, belted and unbelted for effect, looked like she had put on four and half years in the last two and half decades of Friends! Actor with the gift of the gab Sterling K Brown, nominated for best actor for This is Us, came in a black suit and BLM (Black Lives Matter) T-shirt. Glittering in a ruffled gold Alexandre Vauthier gown was star Tracee Ellis Ross nominated for Black-ish while actor Jason Sudeikis took a COVID test on stage. There was no red carpet. Whoa.


Photo: Instagram/Instadanjlevy

The main cast of Schitt’s Creek, actors Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Annie Murphy, Karen Robinson, Daniel Levy and Noah Reid gathered to attend the virtual Emmys 2020 in Toronto..

Schitt’s Creek
, the very stylish Canadian comedy series (actually among the best looking series you can watch right now on Netflix) took seven prime time awards and nine Emmys. Co-creator Daniel Levy’s Thom Browne kilt suit and his bespectacled earnestness got a raving applause too. Time to say okay to unwaxed male legs and long socks! While Zendaya (winner of the lead actress award in a drama series for Euphoria) in a big and bold polka dotted skirt with a blingy little top (Armani Privé) gave her natural cheer and charm a place in the sun.

What the actors wore mattered little because everyone made sure that the mood they wore mattered more. The emphasis on ballot planning and voting in the forthcoming American Presidential elections, on Black Lives Matter campaigns, on safety protocol for COVID, doffing hats to essential workers, pledging care for the “less privileged and vulnerable” as Mark Ruffalo (best actor for This Much I Know is True) said were why the Emmys chimed well.

So when actor Regina King, all dressed up in a pink pantsuit with a T-shirt inside featuring the face of Breonna Taylor (an emergency medical technician who was fatally shot in Louisville US by a policeman), called the Emmys ceremony “freaking weird” you readily agreed.


Photo: Youtube/Television Academy

A screen grab of actor Regina King during the Emmys 2020 award ceremony.

Especially when this Episode One, Season One of Freaking Weird, where stars sat guffawing in their living rooms, poise and point of view in place, brought $2.8 million to No Kid Hungry, an American group working to help children left hungry in the pandemic. Each winning film (23 awards were given out) brought a donation of $100,000 and the Television Academy committed $500,000 adding to the figure.

So when Jesse Armstrong, the creator of HBO’s Succession sent a series of “Un-Thank Yous” (to US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to quasi-nationalists and the COVID-19 pandemic), you had to thank the Pandemmys for saying it all, saying it well.

Courtesy Instagram/Instadanjlevy;