By Nate Millado
As they say in the biz: The show must go on. So despite the coronavirus pandemic nixing the typically glitzy, red carpet affair, the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards will still be handed out on Sept. 20—albeit virtually.
PopTV's critically acclaimed cult fave Schitt's Creek landed a whopping 15 nominations for its final season, including acting notices for all four fictional Rose family members (Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Daniel Levy, and Annie Murphy).
Finally, Toni Collette turned in yet another Unbelievable performance in Netflix's searing limited series as a hard-nosed detective tracking a serial rapist.
Read on to find out how these eight incredible actors reacted to their Emmy nominations—and how they plan to celebrate on the big night—in their own words.
Eugene Levy (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy, Schitt's Creek)
Eugene Levy (Schitt's Creek patriarch Johnny, the most rational Rose) already has two writing Emmys on his mantel for SCTV. But the elder Levy tells Gold Derby "it felt pretty damn good" to finally score a nomination for acting:
"I spent a career playing the comic relief. I come into projects. I come in for a few scenes. I get my laughs. I don't have to carry any story, no exposition, and that's what I'm paid to do, and that was kind of a fun thing for me. I wasn't really expecting any trophies for that work. Just doing that work was rewarding enough to be able to come in and do that. So listen, I don't know, this is all a shock to me, to be honest, at this stage in my career, to have this kind of work, what you're doing on camera, recognized by the other people who are doing the same kind of work is pretty amazing. I have to say, if it's going to happen, I'd rather have it happen now at this stage in my life than if I had been 20 and had it happen."
Catherine O'Hara (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy, Schitt's Creek)
Catherine O'Hara deserves an Emmy for the way she pulls off Moira's over-the-top fashion and unique lexicon (one word: pettifogging.) The legendary improv queen tells The Hollywood Reporter she's "happy to be a late bloomer":
"Isn't that really the best way to experience on your show? We got to build the show and develop the characters without worrying about expectations, from anyone. We got to make the show the best we could make it ... There's so many projects that get a ton of attention right at the beginning, maybe before they're even quite ready for it, and then it's kind of downhill attention-wise from there. We're so lucky to do the show we wanted and, apparently, leaving people wanting more ... You have to have a bit of patience in life or just don't have any big expectations, just carry along and do the best you can and maybe someone will notice, maybe they won't, but if you enjoy the work itself, then that's enough of a gift."
Christina Applegate (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy, Dead to Me)
As sardonic, wine-chugging widow Jen Harding in Dead to Me, Christina Applegate absolutely kills it. In a bit of a role reversal in Season 2, it's Jen (not Linda Cardellini's Judy) keeping a terrible secret, and Applegate delivers an Emmy-worthy performance when it all inevitably unravels. She considers the nomination a silver lining in these increasingly tricky times, as she tweeted:
"I'm so proud of my wonderful friends @lindacardellini and @thelizfeldman and the entire cast and crew of @deadtome These are strange times. Sad times. But it's nice to have some good news. Much love."
Dead to Me streams on Netflix.
Don Cheadle (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy, Black Monday)
Photo Credit: Michael Buckner/SHOWTIME.
"Given that it's been announced on a Tuesday, I hereby regretfully decline my nomination for 'Black Monday.' I am a dayist. Been one for many years. My principles are my bedrock and sacrosanct." —Don Cheadle quipped in a statement the day the Emmy nominations were announced. All joking aside, Cheadle tells Gold Derby the entire crew deserves a pat on the back for any love Black Monday receives:
"We do this show on a five-day schedule, which is Herculean and really, really not possible to do without the crew that we have, putting in the kinds of hours that they do. They're there before we get there and they're there after the actors leave, putting the show together and giving it the look that it has and not just the crew that's on the set during the time, but also our post-production people are very gifted. We have a lot of effects that we do on the show. The music is a big part of the show. The editing clearly, obviously, is a big part of the show. These are all things that happen once the actors get to take their makeup off and go home. So we would not have what we have without their support and without their creativity ... So it's always them. Whenever we get any sort of accolades, to not turn around and thank them, we'd be incredibly remiss."
Linda Cardellini (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy, Dead to Me)
We've loved Linda Cardellini ever since she was hanging out with Freaks and Geeks, but as Judy Hale in Dead to Me, she gets to sink her teeth into her juiciest role yet. Of course, she faces stiff competition in the category—including co-star Christina Applegate. Still, she welcomed her second Emmy nod with total humility in a statement:
"I am thrilled and humbled to be nominated this morning with all of these incredible women whom I admire so much. Especially my dear friend and partner in crime Christina Applegate. You're my person. I feel so fortunate to collaborate every day with all of the incredible women who run this show. Liz Feldman, thank you for your genius and for giving life to 'Jen and Judy.' What a wild ride. This show is truly a team effort and I am so grateful to everyone involved. Especially our hardworking cast and crew. This is a celebration of everyone's work today. Love and congrats to all."
Dead to Me streams on Netflix.
Annie Murphy (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy, Schitt's Creek)
Had Annie Murphy not scored a nod for playing former socialite-turned-PR-maven Alexis, Schittheads everywhere would have let out a collective "ew." In an interview with Vulture, Murphy waxes poetic over her wonderful ride. "It's all ... a lot. But a wonderful lot." So, how will she celebrate come Emmy night?
"There will be pizza and pajamas. That'll be the extent of my plans. I'll put that out in the open right now. It's kind of my natural state anyway, so that's what I'm looking forward to. Did I mention the pizza?"
Toni Collette (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series, Unbelievable)
Toni Collette plays tough and tireless detective Grace Rasmussen in the Netflix limited series Unbelievable.
Photo Credit: Beth Dubber/Netflix.
Scroll through Toni Collette's IMDB credits and you'll agree she is the definition of versatility: Hereditary, The Sixth Sense, Muriel's Wedding, Knives Out, The United States of Tara, the list goes on. So it's no surprise the Aussie actress landed her fourth career Emmy nom for playing a steely detective in Netflix's Unbelievable. Her statement on nomination morning says it all:
"I've been acting for 30 years now. I love telling all kinds of stories about all kinds of people. It still excites me to get up at 3, 4, or 5 a.m. to go hunt out obscure parking lots where we set up a whole new world each day. But working on something like Unbelievable makes it all the sweeter. I am so proud to be part of a ridiculously talented team telling a story that really matters. It has been a thrill for all of us knowing that this story has resonated far and wide with both women and men all around the globe. And so, I'm truly over the moon to be nominated. We must celebrate all that we can in this unstable time of real struggle."
Unbelievable streams on Netflix.
Dan Levy (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series, Schitt's Creek)
Talk about multi-hyphenate! Not only did Dan Levy co-create Schitt's Creek with dad, Eugene Levy, he's also a showrunner, writer, director, and, of course, actor. Cynical, lovable, and GIF-able David Rose is—in the words of the great Tina Turner—"Simply the Best." The younger Levy tells The Hollywood Reporter how he plans on celebrating his show's 15 noms:
"For a tiny show out of Canada that never saw it coming, and then to actually not be able to go to the Emmys, is an incredibly Schitt's Creek way of winding this whole thing down. So on one hand I'm like, 'This tracks.' It's our crew that would have been so fun to see all dressed up and there. I would have loved for our team to get to have that 'pinch me' moment. My dad and I have already been talking about potentially doing a socially distanced event in his backyard in Toronto, so maybe we can all dress up and pretend, six feet apart, that we're there."