The 2020 Emmy Awards

By Lisa Respers France, Marianne Garvey and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 1001 GMT (1801 HKT) September 21, 2020
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7:50 p.m. ET, September 20, 2020

Jasmine Cephas Jones and dad Ron make history

From CNN's Lisa Respers France

Jasmine Cephas Jones and Ron Cephas Jones attends the "Head Of Passes" opening night celebration at The Public Theater on March 28, 2016 in New York City.
Jasmine Cephas Jones and Ron Cephas Jones attends the "Head Of Passes" opening night celebration at The Public Theater on March 28, 2016 in New York City. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Jasmine Cephas Jones has followed in the footsteps of her actor father, Ron Cephas Jones, and in the process made some Emmys history.

They became the first father-daughter pair to win Emmys in the same year.

She won for outstanding actress in a short form comedy or drama series for her performance in the Quibi series "#FreeRayshawn" while he won for his guest starring role on "This Is Us."

It was the first Emmy for the "Hamilton" actress and the second for her dad via his "This Is Us" work.

“As a parent that’s the most fulfilling that I could ever feel at the moment," Deadline reported Ron Cephas Jones saying after his win. "Winning another Emmy is the icing on the cake, but to see my daughter progress and move into this place where she’s earned an Emmy is beyond words and I tear up every time I think about it to be honest with you. To see my daughter become healthy and happy, that’s a parent’s dream.”

In an interview with CNN prior to her win, Jasmine Cephas Jones spoke with pride about her father.

"One of the reasons why I'm acting is because of him and he's taught me a lot," she said. "He's a great dad, but he's also a great mentor and to be able to have this moment it's like full circle for me."

7:46 p.m. ET, September 20, 2020

Emmy nominations deliver more diversity — but not everyone is happy

From CNN's Lisa Respers France

The Emmy Awards delivered more diversity among the nominees. But there has been some backlash over the nominations falling short on representation.

Some on social media complained that while Billy Porter, who is Black, was nominated for lead actor in a drama series for "Pose," none of the central trans actors on the show received a nod.

In the acting categories, 33% of the nominees are Black, compared with 14% the five years prior, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times

Their analysis found that performers of color made up 37% of the total of nominations overall, which is 6% more than in any of the past five years.

While "Ramy" became the first Muslim American sitcom to score a nomination with co-creator and star Ramy Youssef earning noms for outstanding lead actor and outstanding directing in a comedy series, there was less to celebrate for other minorities.

Asian artists were not well represented, despite the third consecutive Emmy nomination for Sandra Oh in the lead actress in a drama series category for "Killing Eve."

Oh made history in 2018 as the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated in a lead actress category.

The lack of Latinx representation — most notably EGOT winner Rita Moreno for her work in the comedy "One Day At a Time" — led Daily Beast writer Laura Bradley to highlight that "Tuesday's Emmy nominations included only one Latinx actor, Outstanding Guest in a Drama Series nominee Alexis Bledel."

Here's a list of some of the nominees:

Outstanding lead actor in a limited series or TV movie

  • Jeremy Irons ("Watchmen")
  • Hugh Jackman ("Bad Education")
  • Paul Mescal ("Normal People")
  • Jeremy Pope ("Hollywood")
  • Mark Ruffalo ("I Know This Much Is True")

Outstanding lead actress in a limited series or TV movie

  • Cate Blanchett ("Mrs. America")
  • Shira Haas ("Unorthodox")
  • Regina King ("Watchmen")
  • Octavia Spencer ("Self Made")
  • Kerry Washington ("Little Fires Everywhere")

Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series

  • Anthony Anderson ("Black-ish")
  • Don Cheadle ("Black Monday")
  • Ted Danson ("The Good Place")
  • Michael Douglas ("The Kominsky Method")
  • Eugene Levy ("Schitt's Creek")
  • Ramy Youssef ("Ramy")

Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series

  • Christina Applegate ("Dead to Me")
  • Rachel Brosnahan ("The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel")
  • Linda Cardellini ("Dead to Me")
  • Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek")
  • Issa Rae ("Insecure")
  • Tracee Ellis Ross ("Black-ish")

Outstanding lead actor in a drama series

  • Jason Bateman ("Ozark")
  • Sterling K. Brown ("This Is Us")
  • Steve Carell ("The Morning Show")
  • Brian Cox ("Succession")
  • Billy Porter ("Pose")
  • Jeremy Strong ("Succession")

Outstanding lead actress in a drama series

  • Jennifer Aniston ("The Morning Show")
  • Olivia Colman ("The Crown")
  • Jodie Comer ("Killing Eve")
  • Laura Linney ("Ozark")
  • Sandra Oh ("Killing Eve")
  • Zendaya ("Euphoria")

7:40 p.m. ET, September 20, 2020

"Ramy" is the first Muslim American sitcom to score an Emmy nomination

From CNN's Nadeem Muaddi

"Ramy" is the first Muslim American sitcom to receive an Emmy nomination.

Ramy Youssef, the show's co-creator and star, was nominated for outstanding lead actor and outstanding directing in a comedy series. Co-star Mahershala Ali earned a nod for his season two supporting role.

In the show, Ramy Hassan (Youssef), a first-generation Egyptian American, struggles to balance his cultural and religious values alongside his American millennial ways. "Ramy" celebrates the Muslim faith while laying bare a host of community issues.

Although "Ramy" focuses on a Muslim American character, the show found a wide audience with millennials of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds who could relate to the character's anxiety over his romantic life, career aspirations and overbearing parents.

In January, Youssef won a Golden Globe for best performance by an actor in a television series.

7:32 p.m. ET, September 20, 2020

Jennifer Aniston sends Emmy love from home in a robe

From CNN's Marianne Garvey

Jennifer Aniston is using Emmys prep time for some self care. 

"The Morning Show" star took to Instagram to show off her majorly comfortable pajamas with matching robe. She completed her relaxed look with a rubber band on her wrist and a face mask — the relaxing kind. 

"Emmys prep... in my other mask," she wrote. "Congratulations to the nominees and all of the amazing performances we’ve seen this year."

Her "Morning" co-star Mark Duplass commented, "My dude! Lookin great."

Earlier he was interviewed by "E! Live From the Red Carpet" rocking his own pajama shirt under a tuxedo jacket. 

Hopefully we'll see some acceptance speeches straight from bed.

7:24 p.m. ET, September 20, 2020

These shows are nominated tonight

From CNN's Lisa Respers France

Nominations for the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards include a diverse mix of shows, including "The Mandalorian," "Insecure" and "Schitt's Creek."

Netflix dominated with 160 nominations, as new services like Disney+, Apple TV+ also made their mark.

Here's a list of tonight's nominations:

Outstanding comedy series

  • "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
  • "Dead to Me"
  • "The Good Place"
  • "Insecure"
  • "The Kominsky Method"
  • "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
  • "Schitt's Creek"
  • "What We Do in the Shadows"

Outstanding drama series

  • "Better Call Saul"
  • "The Crown"
  • "The Handmaid's Tale"
  • "Killing Eve"
  • "The Mandalorian"
  • "Ozark"
  • "Stranger Things"
  • "Succession

Outstanding limited Series

  • "Little Fires Everywhere"
  • "Mrs. America"
  • "Unbelievable"
  • "Unorthodox"
  • "Watchmen"

Outstanding reality/competition series

  • "The Masked Singer"
  • "Nailed It"
  • "RuPaul's Drag Race"
  • "Top Chef"
  • "The Voice"

Outstanding variety talk series

  • "Daily Show with Trevor Noah"
  • "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"
  • "Jimmy Kimmel Live"
  • "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver"
  • "Late Show with Stephen Colbert"

7:17 p.m. ET, September 20, 2020

Giuliana Rancic tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Lisa Respers France

Giuliana Rancic attends the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, in Los Angeles.
Giuliana Rancic attends the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, in Los Angeles. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Giuliana Rancic shared on Sunday why she wasn't covering E!'s Emmys pre-show coverage in person.

"Hey, everyone. As I go into my 20th year on the E! red carpet I have to say I do not take missing an award show lightly, but unfortunately this year is just so different," Rancic said in a message reported by her network. "As part of E! and NBCUniversal's very strict testing guidelines, especially before an event like this, I did find out that I tested positive for COVID-19. Now as much as I didn't want to hear that, I'm very thankful I heard it before I traveled and possibly could have exposed other people. So for that, I'm thankful."

She added that she was doing well and gave an update on her husband, Bill Rancic, and their son, Duke.

"My husband Bill and our son also did test positive, but we're all doing well and taking care each other so I'm going to get back to doing that," she said. "But I just want to say I'm wishing you all the best and please protect yourselves and protect those around you. Take good care and I'll see you on the next red carpet." 

Her colleague, "Nightly Pop's" Nina Parker, filled in for Rancic.

7:10 p.m. ET, September 20, 2020

Zendaya pulls off red carpet moment from home for 2020 Emmys

From CNN's Marianne Garvey

So what if Zendaya doesn't have a red carpet to walk on?

Even though the 2020 Emmys Awards are virtual, the singer "arrived" in major glam. 

The "Euphoria" star showed off her look on Instagram, twirling in a purple Christopher John Rogers dress, sparkly Bulgari jewelry, and a stunning pair of Christian Louboutin crystal-embellished heels. 

Her stylist Law Roach took to Instagram to share the video, writing that there was more to come and that this was only "look one" of the night. 

7:05 p.m. ET, September 20, 2020

This Twitter account will be rating celebrity rooms shown during tonight's Emmys

From CNN's Sandra Gonzalez

The Twitter account @ratemyskyperoom will be provide some commentary tonight for CNN's live coverage of the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards on ABC.

The account — which awards a numeric rating to the settings that appear behind notable names during virtual appearances on cable news and other television programs — started off as a series of funny exchanges between a dating duo separated by an international border during a pandemic.

Months later, the account, which has gained responses from the likes of Hillary Clinton and followers like Jason Bateman and Ava DuVernay, is the unofficial authority on the art of the video call background. As Hollywood sets the stage for a major virtual event with the Emmy Awards, it's also more relevant than ever.

Emmy producers have said they'll have as many as 140 live camera feeds from the homes and other locales where nominees will be "attending" the show.

Claude Taylor, the chair of a left-leaning political action committee called Mad Dog, and his girlfriend Jessie Bahrey, who lives in Vancouver, never intended to become experts in background design. But with almost 300,000 followers and scores of high-profile fans, the influence wielded by the, in Taylor's words, "fluffy Twitter account" is undeniable.

Taylor offered these tips on creating an award-winning background:

  • Create balance, complexity and depth: To avoid the dreaded flat, blank wall, people should place themselves in rooms with depth and that have different eye-pleasing elements peppered evenly throughout the video frame.
  • Get some plants: He said plants are "a way to add character and color and personality to a room," but acknowledged that not everyone has a green thumb. He recommended flowers as a nice alternative.
  • Display books: Incorporating books seems like an easy way to add class to a shot, but Taylor said they should be used with finesse. People should also avoid too many horizontally stacked books.
  • Lighting is key: Lamps are a tricky element in that Taylor prefers to see them on when featured in shots, but to avoid being backlit, proper balance should be reached by having a light off camera — such as a ring light.

6:58 p.m. ET, September 20, 2020

What to expect for tonight's virtual Emmy Awards

From CNN's Brian Lowry and Marianne Garvey

The virtual Emmy Awards will be live tonight, and the producers fully anticipating that there will be foul-ups and planning to roll with that as best they can.

The first major entertainment industry awards since the pandemic struck will be broadcast on ABC and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, who told the Hollywood Reporter that he enjoys "putting myself in difficult situations. So if the worst happens and it all breaks down, there will definitely be a part of me that is amused by it."

Here's what you need to know:

  • 130 cameras in the field: The Emmys will be staged virtually, with nominees staying home due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the producers are determined to be "live, live, live," as they described the plan in a call with reporters, dispatching 130 cameras into the field and hoping nothing (or at least very little) goes technically wrong.
  • About the show: Kimmel will be live from a stage in the Staples Center, but there will be no audience and no red carpet. The Staples Center was chosen because it's large enough to house a crew under coronavirus-safe protocols. Producers also need to hook up an "unbelievable" number of wiring connections and live feeds to professional cameras wherever each nominee is located.
  • Netflix broke the nominations record: With its vast programming lineup, Netflix got 160 nominations — shattering the record HBO set in 2019 — but that's no assurance of taking home the most trophies, in part because it's frequently competing with itself.