The 2020 Emmys lacked some of what we normally expect from events like this, like spectacular fashion and awkward audience cutaways. But we still got a slew of great acceptance speeches from this year’s winners. Some had some funny bits to them but the most memorable came with a message of love and letting those who may be considered an “other,” that they belong with the winners of the world. With the ceremony now officially in the history books, let’s take a look at the seven best speeches we heard during this evening’s festivities.
Movie/Limited Lead Actress: Regina King, “Watchmen”
Before she even spoke, King had already made a big statement by wearing a T-shirt featuring an image of Breonna Taylor on it with the text, “Say Her Name.” Even after three previous wins (and an Oscar victory to boot), King seemed overwhelmed by the circumstances that surrounded her win. But she quickly got to what she wanted to say, giving a nice shout out to her fellow nominees and her “Watchmen” crew. The most prescient part of her speech came when she implored people to vote and to cast their votes in ALL the races on the ballot, which more people should do.
Comedy Writing: Dan Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”; “Happy Ending”
While he got a chance to speak four times this evening, it was Levy’s first speech for writing the show’s finale that stood out the most. He started off funny by noting that he wasn’t presented with a trophy like the show’s leads had gotten. He then thanked his father, Eugene Levy, for giving him the reins to the show even though he didn’t have any experience. He gave credit to all the writers who helped him come up with the crazy situations the Rose family found themselves in and even gave a specific shout out to Issa Rae and the writers on “Insecure” despite not even being nominated in the category.
Movie/Limited Supporting Actor: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, “Watchmen”
Abdul-Mateen started off his acceptance speech in a standard but heartfelt way, thanking his family and his homes in New Orleans and Oakland. He then started talking about the themes that “Watchmen” encompassed: the lasting scars of white domestic terrorism and police corruption but then segued into the story being about a god visiting Earth and bestowing all the love that a black woman deserved for her hardship and sacrifice. He then dedicated his win to all the black women in his life and raised a glass to all of them.
Drama Directing: Andrij Parekh, “Succession”; “Hunting”
Parekh started off on a humorous note by saying he was honored and “not the least-bit humbled” with the win. After thanking the staff of the show, Parekh, whose parents are of Ukrainian and Indian descent, had a very wonderfully heartfelt message. “I want to dedicate this Emmy to all the kids whose name’s, like mine, are difficult to pronounce. To those who don’t look like their classmates and defined as outsiders, as hyphenated Americans and not simply just as Americans. This is proof that you belong and this Emmy is ours.”
Movie/Limited Supporting Actress: Uzo Aduba, “Mrs. America”
Her genuine surprise and shouting out, “Mom, I won!” was made the speech priceless right off the bat. After thanking the people that worked on “Mrs. America,” Aduba then thanked the woman she portrayed. She recognized the late-Rep. Shirley Chisholm for fighting for “all people who had been forgotten and marginalized who she represented.” She then implored all of us to change the world before going off-screen to embrace her mother.
Competition Program: RuPaul Charles, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
Queen Ru might not have been surprised at winning the category for the third year in a row, but he certainly was caught off-guard when the Emmy popped out of that box. Rather than thanking the usual list of producers and directors, RuPaul thanked the show’s viewers and had a special message for them. “Kiddo, I know how you feel right now. Just know that you are loved and don’t give up on love. Believe in love and the power of love, okay?” That’s a message we all could use right now.
Governors Award: Tyler Perry
Perry used his speech to tell the story of a quilt his grandmother gave to him and how he had dismissed the work and stories that it represented because it didn’t look like he thought it should. He then beautifully outlined how we are all “sewing our own quilts with our thoughts, our behaviors, our experiences and our memories.” He talked about how his mother’s quilt never imagined that her son would own land that was once the base of the Confederate Army, “where Confederate soldiers plotted and planned on how to keep blacks enslaved and now on that land Black people, white people, gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, ex-cons, Latin, Asian…all coming together to add patches to a quilt that is…diversity at its best.”