Dinner-style Emmys show few clear signs of pandemic restraint



A person walks the red carpet before the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, United States on September 19, 2021. REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 19 (Reuters) – While once again deviating from the look of the old-fashioned Primetime Emmys, Sunday’s top honors show on television gave little overt appearance of being limited by a second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So much so that the evening’s first host, comedic actor-writer Seth Rogen, joked that the site of hundreds of unmasked attendees gathered in an enclosed space, with no obvious sign of social distancing, made it difficult for him. comfortable even though vaccinations were mandatory.

“Let me start by saying that there are far too many of us in this little room.” What do we do ? Rogen, resplendent in a bright orange sports jacket, paused nervously in the opening minutes of the show. “We’re in a tightly sealed tent right now. I wouldn’t have come to this.”

Since the opening hip-hop song and dance number, “Just a Friend,” performed as a vibrant chant led by the show’s host, Cedric the Entertainer, the organizers have sought to project entertainment value. and glitter despite persistent public health and travel restrictions.

The show producers pre-requested media interviews to assure viewers that the 73rd Annual Emmy Awards would indeed be safe and secure, even as they worked to make the show look like a glamorous dinner party. and starry.

Although the participants’ faces were discovered on camera, they were masks during commercial breaks – a routine that many on-screen artists got used to as they returned to work on production sets. in the midst of the pandemic.

The broadcast even played it COVID-19 safe for a laugh, such as when comedian and presenter Ken Jeong was denied admission by a security guard because he did not have sufficient proof of vaccination.


“Dude, I didn’t have four boosters to perform remotely,” Jeong insisted to a security guard during the gag, before announcing “Saturday Night Live” as the winner for best variety drama series.

According to the producers, and Cédric, the precautions were very real.

“We’re all vaxed,” the host told viewers at the start of the show. “I was vaxed and had no reaction like the friend of Nicki Minaj’s cousin,” a reference to a headline-grabbing but unfounded claim of vaccination side effects made by the Trinidadian rap star.

The CBS network show was broadcast from an air-conditioned tent outside the LA Live entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles where, vaccinated and tested, 500 TV personalities were seated at tables, rather than in the auditorium normally filled with many more people for such matters.

It marked one of the largest in-person celebrity gatherings for an entertainment awards show since the pandemic began in early 2019, and was a far cry from last year’s largely virtual Zoom-type Emmy show. hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

Seating for Sunday’s event was limited to a maximum of four tickets per nomination. And due to lingering travel limitations, many Emmy nominees have joined the debates via satellite from London.

A contingent of British nominees, including actors, producers, screenwriters and directors from one of the night’s big winners, “The Crown”, gathered at Soho House nightclub in London, eight hours before the Pacific time zone, which makes it a middle-of-the-night affair for them.

Broadcasting repeatedly and transparently in London throughout the show as “The Crown”, tracing the history of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Family, has raised awards for Best Leading Actor and Leading Actress in a Drama and for Best Drama Series, among others.

Politics, which has increasingly become a motif of Hollywood awards season, has been largely avoided.

One of the few notable exceptions came when CBS ‘”The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert took the stage to present the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama – the winner was Gillian Anderson for ” The Crown ”- and usurped the recent California governor’s recall. election.

Colbert’s show went on to win an Emmy for its live broadcast on election night 2020.

In one of the evening’s most memorable acceptance speeches, Renée Elise Goldsberry of historic Broadway musical hit “Hamilton,” which won the award for best prerecorded variety special, gave a nod to the role. key culture played by television during the pandemic, while also sounding a note of hope for Broadway’s imminent return.

“The television allowed us to come together and put on a show. Look around you, look around you,” she said, alluding to the lyrics to the song “Hamilton” “That Would Be Enough”. “The curtains go up and the lights come back on.”

Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Howard Goller

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