Hollywood’s “other” awards ceremony is all grown up and ready for its close-up.
In the ever-ascending world of TV and, now, all things streaming, the Emmy Awards ceremony has become the ultimate television program. As such, every September we cross our fingers and hope that, like our favorite TV shows, the broadcast will entertain us in unexpected ways. We roar at hilariously unscripted moments, like legendary presenter Lucille Ball unable to announce the contents of an envelope in 1975 because she forgot her reading glasses, Kirstie Alley unabashedly including her then-husband, “who had given me the big one,” in her 1991 acceptance speech, or a professional hoaxer accepting a trophy on behalf of Betty Thomas—who was very much present—in 1985.
We thrill at instances of high emotion, such as Viola Davis’ impassioned 2015 speech about breaking through the glass ceiling of roles for women of color. We applaud adroitly executed production gags (witness 2010 host Jimmy Fallon’s joyous Glee opening featuring favorites from across network boundaries). And we cheer for big triumphs: Ted Danson’s 1990 win after seven consecutive losses, Henry Winkler’s four-decade-overdue celebration in 2018, Tracy Morgan’s return to the spotlight in 2015 after his devastating car accident. We welcome our extended TV family into our homes—and now onto our phones—week after week, night after night, with growing enthusiasm in the era of “peak TV.” We want their big night—just like that winged Emmy trophy—to sparkle and soar.
Photography by: PHOTO BY GABRIEL OLSEN/FILMMAGIC VIA GETTY IMAGES