The focus of the Emmy Awards stayed mostly on the nominated shows and creators, but given the significant issues of 2020 it wasn’t surprising when politics came up in speeches on Sunday.
“Watchmen,” which blended a superhero tale with the history of the real-life Tulsa Massacre — a 1921 incident in which a White mob attacked and burned an Oklahoma City neighborhood known as Black Wall Street, killing dozens and injuring hundreds — won four Emmys including outstanding limited series or movie.
“I knew this was never my story to tell and the only reason I’m standing here now is because of the people alongside me,” said creator Damon Lindelof, who adapted the original graphic novel with a team that included many Black colleagues.
“History is mystery,” he continued while dressed in a T-shirt that read “Remember Tulsa ’21.” “It is broken into a million puzzle pieces and many of them are missing. We have to name it before we can repair it.”
Lindelof won a second Emmy with Cord Jefferson for writing for a limited series, while “Watchmen” stars Regina King won lead actress and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II won for supporting actor.
King wore a T-shirt beneath her jacket that read “Say Her Name” and a photograph of Breonna Taylor, the Louisville EMT killed by police earlier this year.
“Gotta vote,” she said at the end of her speech. “I would be remiss not to mention that being a part of a show as prescient as ‘Watchmen.’”
She then mentioned the need to educate oneself on the candidates and issues and make a plan to vote, ending with a shoutout to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday.
“Be a good human, rest in power R.B.G.,” she said.
“‘Watchmen’ was a story about trauma,” Abdul-Mateen said during his acceptance. “It was a story about the lasting scars of white domestic terrorism.”
Anthony Anderson, the star of “Black-ish,” gave a speech about Black Lives Matter and the need to continue to fight for justice, before announcing the limited series award ultimately given to “Watchmen.”
Elsewhere during the limited series category, Mark Ruffalo won for lead actor for “I Know This Much Is True,” in which he played two identical twins.
“We are stronger together when love each other and we respect each other’s diversity,” Ruffalo said. “We have a big important moment ahead of us. Are we going to be a country of division and hatred, a country only for certain kinds of people, or are we going to be one of love, strength, and compassion?
“Get out and vote. Make a plan. And vote for love and compassion and kindness.”