July 23rd, 2024

Anthony Anderson opens Emmy Awards with tribute to classic television

By Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press on January 15, 2024.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Host Anthony Anderson has opened an atypical Emmys in Mr. Rogers mode, walking on to a living room set and changing out of a flowing fur coat into a black tuxedo coat.

“Welcome to Mr. Anderson’s neighborhood on this beautiful MLK Day,” Anderson said from the stage of the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles at the start of the Fox telecast.

He then sat at the piano and led a small choir through TV theme songs including “Good Times” and “The Facts of Life,” whose characters Tootie and Mrs. Garrett were objects of his crushes.

He then got up and sang Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” in tribute to Miami Vice, with Travis Barker on drums.

The 75th Primetime Emmy Awards are arriving four months past their due date, coming after a year of historic Hollywood turbulence and upheaval.

Strikes by both actors and writers, seismic shifts toward streaming, and the dismantling of the traditional TV calendar mean the envelopes opened during the Fox telecast hosted by Anthony Anderson on Martin Luther King Jr. Day will display winners that were decided months ago.

The Emmys will provide some respite and celebration after the strike and the troubles that spurred it, and with its 75th edition, will attempt to provide links to its past and to TV history. It will include a series of cast reunions and scene recreations from beloved shows including “Cheers,” “Game of Thrones” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

The nominations themselves provide one big link to Emmys past – the continuation of the decades-long dominance of HBO, which this year has the three most nominated shows with “Succession,” “The White Lotus” and “The Last of Us.”

“Succession,” the drama about a dysfunctional family of one-percenters, led with 27 nominations for its final season, including best drama and three in the best lead actor category for Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong and Kieran Culkin.

Cox, who arrived on the red carpet wearing a gray tuxedo jacket with wife Nicole Ansari Cox at his side, said he had to miss last week’s Golden Globes, where several of his co-stars won, and is delighted to be at the Emmys because he “wanted to say goodbye to everyone and this is a wonderful way to do it.”

Cox said his cast mates are as wonderful in real life as they are terrible on the show.

“My TV family is a bunch of idiots,” he told The Associated Press.

Culkin, considered by many the favorite for best actor, told the AP he still hasn’t seen the epic finale that aired way back in May.

“I’m sure if I talked to a therapist, you could probably come up with a lot of reasons why I haven’t seen it,” Culkin joked.

But “Succession” won’t come away with the most wins. That’s because “The Last of Us,” second with 24 nominations, is coming in with eight via last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys, where “Succession” won none. Those include best guest acting awards for Offerman and Storm Reid, suggesting that voters may also favor its lead actors Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. Both could make history, with Pascal becoming the first Latino to win best actor in a drama and Ramsey the youngest to win best actress.

The elite ensemble from “The White Lotus” is all over the supporting categories. It has five women up for best supporting actress in a drama, including Jennifer Coolidge and Aubrey Plaza.

On the comedy side, the night could become a victory lap for the third and final season of ” Ted Lasso,” the soccer-themed series that won best comedy for its first two seasons.

Its main challenger comes from the kitchen. “The Bear,” about a chef struggling with his family’s legacy, will also vie for best comedy.

“Abbott Elementary” creator and star Quinta Brunson could become the first Black woman in more than four decades to win best actress in a comedy series.

Before the show she said it was an honor to be standing on the red carpet with so many accomplished Black actors on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, including Tisha Campbell from “Martin,” one of the classic series being celebrated on the telecast.

“This is a dream come true ya’all,” Brunson said. “I already feel like I won tonight.”

Last year’s two strikes meant the Emmys, normally held in September, made an unprecedented move to January, putting it in the heart of Hollywood’s awards season.

Academy voting took place on the normal timetable, however, meaning the winners have been determined since late August.


Associated Press Writers Krysta Fauria and Leslie Ambriz contributed to this report.

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