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Emmys avoid a ‘Scandal’ by FINALLY honoring Kerry Washington for ‘Live in Front of a Studio Audience’

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Kerry Washington is an Emmy winner at last! The actress known for her roles in “Scandal” and “Little Fires Everywhere” was honored during the Creative Arts Awards on Tuesday night, September 15, but it wasn’t in a category you might expect. Instead of a performance award, she took home Best Variety Special (Live) as a producer of “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: ‘All in the Family’ and ‘Good Times.’” Watch the online ceremony above.

“Thank you for this amazing creative family. It’s such a brilliant team,” said Washington. And she’s not kidding. Other A-list stars are among the Emmy-winning producers of “Live in Front of a Studio Audience”: Will Ferrell, Jimmy Kimmel, Justin Theroux, celebrated TV director James Burrows, and of course Norman Lear, who at 98-years-old just broke his own record as the oldest Emmy champ in history.

“Live in Front of a Studio Audience” also won this Emmy category last year by recreating episodes of “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” Washington played “The Jeffersons’” Helen Willis in that production, but did not become an executive producer until the second installment, in which she did not act. It aired on December 18, 2019, when it had the misfortune of coinciding with news of the impeachment of Donald Trump, but clearly voters made sure to tune in.

Washington is best known for her work in front of the camera, but she certainly isn’t the first to win their maiden Emmy as a producer. Ferrell, Theroux, Brad Pitt (“The Normal Heart,” Best TV Movie, 2014), Mark Ruffalo (“The Normal Heart”), Anthony Edwards (“Temple Grandin,” Best TV Movie, 2010), John Travolta (“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” Best Limited Series, 2016), Steve Buscemi (“Park Bench with Steve Buscemi,” Best Short Form Variety Series, 2016), Sarah Jessica Parker (“Sex and the City,” Best Comedy Series, 2001), Leah Remini (“Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” Best Informational Series or Special, 2017), and Washington’s “Little Fires” co-star and fellow EP Reese Witherspoon (“Big Little Lies,” Best Limited Series, 2017) are among the thespians who claimed their first Emmys as producers.

And Washington has a few more chances at Emmy hardware this year. She’s nominated twice for “Little Fires Everywhere” (Best Limited Series and Best Movie/Limited Actress) and once for “American Son” (Best TV Movie).

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Emmys Twist: Zendaya Wins Best Lead Actress in a Drama for Euphoria

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Holy Emmy upset!

In a stunning twist, Zendaya won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series prize for her work in HBO’s teen drama Euphoria, besting perceived frontrunners Jennifer Aniston and Laura Linney.

In including Zendaya among TVLine’s Dream Emmy Nominees last June, we declared, “With her dispassionate voiceovers and heavy-lidded, moody expression, it might seem at first like Euphoria‘s Rue doesn’t care about anything. But throughout the HBO drama’s eight-episode run, Zendaya found subtle, heartbreaking ways to show us that her recovering drug addict cares about everything, particularly her relationship with best friend and crush Jules. Underneath that angsty-teen exterior was a young woman trying to grasp her own identity, and we watched in awe every week as Zendaya presented new layers of Rue’s heartache and uncertainty.”

View the complete Emmy winners list here.


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The last words of every fallen Star Wars villain

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Can you think of a movie character who has permeated the culture so much that the literal sound of their breathing is iconic? Darth Vader — or Anakin Skywalker, depending on your entry point in the franchise — is as distinctive a villain as any of pop culture’s sundry bad guys. From the “Imperial March” that introduces him, to the plot twist heard round the world that defined him, to the prequel films that attempted — in vain — to provide him an origin story, it’s hard to top the villainous treachery of Lord Vader himself.

At the climax of Return of the Jedi, after Vader has thrown Emperor Palpatine down a chute to his untimely, fiery demise (temporarily, at least), the Sith Lord has succumbed to the effects of the Emperor’s force lightning and is nearing his final breath. Luke carries him out of the Emperor’s chamber in an attempt to rescue him, but Vader knows his end is nigh. He asks Luke to remove his helmet so he can look at his son with his own eyes. We are shown the true form of Anakin Skywalker: a sad, frail old man, concealed under a façade of cruelty and evil – also, life-support armor. Anakin is content knowing that he is done for, but Luke insists that he needs to save his father, newly redeemed. Anakin, resolute, responds:

“You already have, Luke. You were right. You were right about me. Tell your sister, you were right.”

Anakin, now free from the imposing mask of Darth Vader, has come to terms with the evil he has perpetrated, and has no one but Luke to thank for his redemption from the Dark Side. A noble exit for this icon of Star Wars lore.

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Majority of this Year’s Acting Winners Are Black

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The 2020 Emmy Awards saw a noticeable uptick in the number of nonwhite acting winners, with “Watchmen” star Regina King’s fourth Emmy win and a surprise nod for “Euphoria” star Zendaya leading the way.

Out of the 19 performer categories — including the guest, short form and voice-over categories from last week’s Creative Arts Emmys — 10 went to Black actors. In addition to King and Zendaya, other winners included “Mrs. America’s” Uzo Aduba, King’s co-star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, “Saturday Night Live” guests Maya Rudolph (a double winner for voice acting on Netflix’s “Big Mouth”) and Eddie Murphy, and two of the stars from Quibi’s “#FreeRayshawn,” Laurence Fishburne and Jasmine Cephas Jones.

Zendaya, the youngest person to win the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award, is also only the second Black actress to claim the title after Viola Davis for “How to Get Away With Murder.” Rudolph’s two wins this year marked the first of her career.

Overall, the winners represent a significantly more diverse group than last year, when just two of 19 winners were performers of color.

The year prior, four Black actors — Tiffany Haddish, Samira Wiley, Ron Cephas Jones and Katt Williams — swept the guest acting categories, while nonwhite winners on the main broadcast were limited to just three: Regina King for “Seven Seconds,” Thandie Newton for “Westworld” and Darren Criss for “American Crime Story.”

The 2020 Emmy nominations came under significant scrutiny in the months since nominations were announced back in July, with some praising the Television Academy’s increased recognition of Black actors, while others called out voters for shutting out Latinx performers.

Nonwhite performers made up 49 out of the 118 acting nominees this year, with Black actors making up the largest portion. “The Handmaid’s Tale” actress Alexis Bledel was the only Latinx actor to score a nomination, drawing condemnation from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and a boycott from actor John Leguizamo.

Sunday’s broadcast featured a number of callouts to topical issues like the Black Lives Matter movement and the upcoming presidential election. King, while claiming her award for “Watchmen,” appeared in a shirt bearing the image of Breonna Taylor, the Black woman who was fatally shot by police officers in her home earlier this year.

“Black-ish” star and Emmys presenter Anthony Anderson also made reference to the fact that the awards show’s record number of nominations for Black actors unfortunately came in a year when nominees could not celebrate in person.

“This isn’t what it should have been,” Anderson said. “But I’m still rooting for everybody Black, because Black stories, Black performances and Black lives matter.”

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