Emmy Magazine Features

Party of Five

With five nights of socially distanced shows, the Creative Arts Emmys made the best of a very different year.

By Liane Starr
Story

“What could go right?” joked Jimmy Kimmel at the start of the first virtual Emmys. A lot, it turned out. From an almost-empty arena, the 72nd awards proved the pandemic was no match for ingenuity — and the need for humans to connect.

Step into our virtual photobooth!

As an actress, Kate Mara thrives on tough and troubling roles, like her upcoming lead in A Teacher. As a producer, she’s assuming some control “over the roles I get to play and the people I get to work with.”

"She’s the first and only actor I wanted,” says the showrunner of Nat Geo’s Genius: Aretha. And just like that, Cynthia Erivo — the feisty phenom who wowed in Harriet and belted her heart out on Broadway — became the Queen of Soul. “She’s tiny, but she’s got so much power,” says the director of Harriet . “She’s a force of nature.”

Now soaring to new altitudes, Kaley Cuoco stars in — and executive-produces — The Flight Attendant for HBO Max. But she’ll always cherish her long run on The Big Bang Theory, as well as that too-brief time on 8 Simple Rules with John Ritter, who taught her leadership and respect on the set.

When he read The Good Lord Bird, Ethan Hawke felt the pull of history, and it led him to his starring role as abolitionist John Brown. “A large portion of this country doesn’t want to talk about the Civil War being about slavery,” Hawke says. But “with love and wit,” the Showtime series takes up this “serious American conversation” about life and liberty.

The magnetic, empathetic S. Epatha Merkerson forms bonds and finds laughs on every set, all the while impressing with her true-to-the-core performances. No wonder Dick Wolf has kept her on the call sheet for more than 20 years.

Black women are the force behind A Black Lady Sketch Show, Robin Thede’s answer to the white- male-dominated world of sketch TV.

How does a series about the roots of evil engender so much goodwill? Ask Tom Ellis of Netflix’s Lucifer, now starting season five. “Even though it’s about the Devil, our show has a really good message,” he says. “It’s about people taking responsibility for their actions and trying to accept everyone around them.”

Thank goodness, The Boys will soon return to save the world from superpowered scoundrels. In the meantime, cast members — on three continents — break through their screens (or so it seems) for emmy’s interactive photo shoot.

The interests of Chloë Sevigny guide her “to more artistic things,” says director Jim Jarmusch. So it’s not surprising that a desire to work with director Luca Guadagnino led her to HBO’s We Are Who We Are.

In the time of Covid, what more could we want to hear from our lab-coated healers than “How can I help?” On NBC’s New Amsterdam, the devoted doctors say that — and mean it. And though the creators never conceived of the coronavirus when the series debuted, they now find themselves with one of the most relevant shows around.

Browser Requirements
The TelevisionAcademy.com sites look and perform best when using a modern browser.

We suggest you use the latest version of any of these browsers:

Chrome
Firefox
Safari


Visiting the site with Internet Explorer or other browsers may not provide the best viewing experience.

Close Window