The 72nd Primetime Emmys included a heartbreaking in memoriam segment, reminding viewers how many beloved stars died in the past year. The segment featured a stirring performance of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" by H.E.R., and included a montage with clips and photos honoring those lost. Since the montage itself was completed early, host Jimmy Kimmel paid tribute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before H.E.R.'s performance began.
The segment began with Regis Philbin, the beloved Live host who died on July 24 at age 88. Glee actress Naya Rivera, who died tragically in a drowning accident on July 8 at age 33, followed. The montage ended with words from Chadwick Boseman, who died on Aug. 28 at 43 from colon cancer. Although Boseman was best known for his movie roles, including Black Panther, he began his career on television.
Others included in the montage were Big Bird puppeteer Caroll Spinney, Inside The Actors' Studio host James Lipton, comedian Jerry Stiller and actors Diana Rigg, Diahann Carroll, Max von Sydow, Kirk Douglas and Carl Reiner. Director Lynn Shelton, who died from acute myeloid leukemia in May at 54, was also included. Shelton was posthumously nominated for directing an episode of Reese Witherspoon's Little Fires Everywhere but lost to Unorthodox's Maria Schrader.
This year, the Emmys were held virtually, with the Staples Center in Los Angeles being used as a "home base." Kimmel hosted the show from the arena, with a handful of celebrities joining him to introduce categories. Nominees accepted their awards at home and delivered their acceptance speeches through videoconferencing. Some nominees were gathered together, especially the Schitt's Creek team, who were based in Canada.
Whoever designed this In Memoriam to contextualize some of those who we lost by superimposing them on recognizable sets and scenes? Gold star. And 🙏 for including Adam Schlesinger. #Emmys— Sarah Rodman (@SarahARodman) September 21, 2020
Schitt's Creek was the big winner on the night, sweeping most of the main comedy categories for its sixth and final season, including Outstanding Comedy Series. Succession won Outstanding Drama Series for its second season, while HBO's Watchmen won Outstanding Limited Series. Last Week Toniht with John Oliver won Outstanding Variety Talk Series and RuPaul's Drag Race won Outstanding Competition Program.