Best and worst dressed at the 2020 Emmy Awards

2020 has been an unprecedented year, and as a result, the 72nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards looked a little different. There was no seating chart, backstage drama, or fancy menu (unless you count ordering from Seamless). In fact, there was no theater filled with A-listers at all — the Emmys went totally virtual. According to Vox, the Television Academy stationed 130 cameras worldwide, which were operated either remotely or by the nominees themselves (and thankfully, some of them do know how to play producer).

That’s all well and good, but let’s be honest: most of us are here for the fashion, so what about the red carpet? The Emmy Awards were missing two key players for the pre-show: E!’s longtime host Giuliana Rancic and Vivica A. Fox, who both tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to People. As much as we missed Rancic’s often misguided commentary (and wish her a fast recovery), everyone else still brought their A-game. Not many of us are willing to wear an evening gown while chilling on the couch, but we’re also not TV stars.

According to Variety, the dress code allowed for “designer pajamas” and recording from bed. Producers claimed to be “exploring the cutting edge of technology” to make stars look their best. All in all, nominees were told to “come as you are, but make an effort” — and some stars clearly made a greater effort than others. Here are the best and worst looks from the night.

Regina King said her name

Regina King wasn’t just one of the best-dressed celebs of the night — she made a statement. Prior to her major red carpet moment, the star popped by E!’s pre-show for an interview wearing a shirt emblazoned with Breonna Taylor’s face and the words “Say her name.” Taylor became a face of the Black Lives Matter Movement in March after she was fatally shot by two police officers who barged into her apartment on a no-knock warrant while she was sleeping, unarmed. Per the New York Post, Taylor’s family settled the case for $12 million with Louisville officials the week before the awards show.

According to Page Six, King’s Phenomenal tee — which she styled backwards — is actually a celeb favorite, worn on social media by the likes of Jessica Alba, Olivia Wilde, and Amy Schumer. The other side of the shirt says, “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.” This wasn’t King’s only fashion statement, but it was her most important.

Beyond that, the Watchmen actress — who won the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie – walked the actual red carpet in a royal blue Schiaparelli gown and Stuart Weitzman shoes. It was notably bold for a virtual ceremony, but we stan.

There were designer hazmat suits

In ceremonies past, all eyes were on A-listers — but the 2020 Emmy Awards are nothing like ceremonies past. Last year, the Fiji Water Girl™ wreaked hydration havoc on the Golden Globes red carpet. This year, it was the people who hand off awards at the Emmys. 

Let us be clear: there is no fashion moment — no fashion moment – that sums up 2020 better than the hazmat tuxedos worn by the poor souls tasked to deliver trophies to winning nominees in the middle of a global pandemic — unless, of course, those hazmat suits also happened to be on fire and stepping on a MAGA hat. According to People, the suits were created by costume designer Katja Cahill and Emmy executive producer Guy Carrington. The point was to keep it “safe and classy” as trophy presenters played Santa Claus, traveling to the homes of winners to deliver their prize. We particularly dig the presenter who solemnly waved at Ramy Youssef through a sliding glass door when the Ramy star lost his nomination. Excessive? Maybe. Emotionally accurate? Absolutely. In any event, a look that follows all proper health and safety protocols is the best look.

Zendaya came to slay her living room carpet

For Zendaya, the Emmy Awards were a significant milestone. The former Disney Channel actress, who portrayed Rue in HBO’s Euphoria, won her very first Emmy nomination, making her the youngest star in history to ever take home an award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama. Needless to say, she planned to slay and absolutely looked like a snack standing on what appeared to be the tile of her kitchen floor. Snacks are best had in the kitchen, anyway, and who needs a red carpet when you’ve got Instagram?

According to People, the actress was dressed by celebrity stylist Law Roach, who put her in a glamorous taffeta gown by Christopher John Rogers, complete with a plunging neckline. She topped it off with crystal-embellished Christian Louboutin pumps and Bulgari jewels. Though pajamas were encouraged, getting glammed-out was always the plan. The actress had previously revealed during an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live that she came to serve.

“I do want to dress up. I still want to have the experience, you know,” she told guest host Ben Platt in late August. “It’ll be probably just my family over here, but I definitely want to pull a look and maybe just walk my living room carpet.”

Randall Park was outshone by an alpaca in menswear

Fresh Off The Boat star Randall Park, who presented an award during Sunday’s ceremony, looked sharp — but not as sharp as his date, an alpaca with a tuxedo collar. As ABC said in a Twitter post, “living for this.”

Isabella (yes, the alpaca has a name and a cute hairdo) earned her right to share the limelight with the beloved comedic actor. According to the Los Angeles Times, she attended rehearsals with stand-in actor Dana Kenerson, which leads us to believe she spent more time preparing for her close up than Park. She even stopped to take selfies with her fans, which included stage manager Lynn Finkel. All in all, Isabella looked extraordinarily on-trend in menswear during the big day, and we’d be remiss not to mention that her auburn ‘do is the look for fall. 

According to Reuters, the alpaca was invited to the show as a “cheeky nod to the exotic animals popular in Zoom backdrops during pandemic shutdowns.”

Jameela Jamil didn't even put on shoes

Most celebrities didn’t actually take the designer pajama dress code to heart, which made for an exciting virtual red carpet that stoked some tiny sense of normalcy in a wildly tumultuous year. Yes, it’s vapid, but c’mon. We’re a bit nostalgic for a time when Hollywood was worried more about making a worst dressed list than their entire state burning down. Then there was Jameela Jamil, who just couldn’t be bothered to get off the couch despite The Good Place’s numerous nominations, which shattered any temporary illusions that 2020 is just fine.

Jamil took on a “no bra? No heels? NO PROBLEM” mantra for the virtual awards ceremony. In an Instagram post, the nominee admitted, “I still did my make up and wore a sequin dressing gown, because… It’s what Tahani would have wanted. And this is her day, not mine.” Okay, but you could’ve at least put on slippers. Just give us something!

Daniel Levy had a total David fashion moment

Schitt’s Creek made history at the Emmy Awards. The series was the first comedy or drama to sweep all four acting categories. According to Deadline, it also won “all seven comedy series categories,” but no one was as highly praised as Daniel Levy. The star, who won for his writing on the show’s finale “Happy Endings,” opened up about his work on the series in one of his acceptance speeches. “Getting to write this show, getting to tell these stories has been the greatest, most cathartic experience in my life,” he said. The fashion wasn’t half bad either (cue Moira, whining “Day-vid” in a wig).

After six seasons, the cast of Schitt’s Creek are used to making the most out of a Schitt situation. Though they couldn’t celebrate their series’ unexpected success at an actual awards ceremony, the cast had their own, private Emmys party in Toronto, according to Entertainment Weekly. In true David fashion, Levy — who was one of the most-nominated stars of the night — dressed to impress in a skirted suit by Thom Brown.

At least Paul Mescal had his houseplant

If Keanu Reeves wasn’t already the Internet’s boyfriend, it’d probably be Normal People star Paul Mescal — and he’s absolutely showing his commitment to the role in the direst of situations. Think about it: it was basically the middle of the night in Ireland when the Emmy Awards aired. Mescal posed on his own staircase for an Instagram snap instead of a red carpet, but he still managed to suit up rather than opting for pajamas in bed. In fact, he was at least partially vertical for the ceremony, for which he had zero company beyond his houseplant, who frankly also looked a little tired.

In essence: Mescal appeared to be completely alone during one of the most monumental moments in his budding career, up well past a normal bedtime, peeling his eyelids open while wearing a suit and mumbling to his houseplants. If that isn’t peak quarantine, losing his nomination on top of it definitely is. Normal People, or “the horny Irish teens” as it’s affectionately known by fans on Twitter, may have been snubbed, but Mescal’s Louis Vuitton suit isn’t a bad consolation prize. Is it possible to be sad when you’re rocking LV?

Anthony Anderson, take a hint

Black-ish actor Anthony Anderson is no stranger to the Emmy Awards. The star has been nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series every single year since 2015. Though he’s never actually taken home the trophy, he did take something home on Sunday night: our pick for worst dressed.

Listen, it’s not that Anderson was actually dressed poorly. In fact, he put a lot of thought into his look despite what appears to be a last-minute outfit change. According to E!, the star originally didn’t plan to wear a full suit and wanted a tuxedo robe made for the occasion. Ultimately, he opted for a shimmery gray suit, which could have set him up to be one of the sharpest dressed of the night, but he was missing one important accessory — a mask.

In some bizarre turn of events, Anderson decided to wear sunglasses indoors to protect his eyes from non-existent UV rays but did not wear a mask while standing near groups of people decked out in clear PPE. When everyone around you is wearing masks and face shields, you think you’d get a hint. The most we saw Anderson do is hold a piece of plastic up to his face as he posed next to Sterling Brown, who was wearing a mask. Why even bother pretending, at that point?

Tracee Ellis Ross was her own Emmy

Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross doesn’t need an Emmy. The star, who’s lost all four of her nominations since 2016, dressed as her own trophy — and she had a matching mask to boot. Co-star Anthony Anderson should’ve followed her lead.

Despite the lax dress code, Ross opted for a wildly glamorous look, which included a ruffled Alexandre Vauthier gown in an opulent shade of metallic gold. According to Harper’s Bazaar, she topped the look — which had a dangerously high slit — with vintage Tiffany & Co. jewelry, Jimmy Choo pumps, and a matching gold mask. Ross also nixed the hairstylist and did her updo all on her own.

“How fun to get dressed up!” she wrote in an Instagram post. “Can’t say I miss the frenetic energy of the red carpet or wearing high heels, but boy do I miss a pretty dress!!”

Jennifer Aniston's pre-show look nailed it

As far as the Emmy Awards go, it’s been there, done that for Friends star Jennifer Aniston. The actress won for her famed sitcom in 2002, and though she hasn’t been nominated in about a decade and a half, she’s reached the kind of Hollywood success that transcends awards. She’s single-handedly responsible for “the Rachel,” the dreadful haircut all of us had in the early aughts, and adeptly navigates headlines about her ex-husband from 20 years ago as she does her roles in Adam Sandler’s latest flicks.

In 2020, the star was nominated for The Morning Show and wore a classic — but frankly kind of boring — little black gown. She looked great, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about. We’re here to talk about Aniston’s pre-show look, which may have just been one of the best of the night, if only because we totally relate.

In an Instagram post, Aniston revealed that she busted out her “other mask” for her awards show prep — a skin-soothing face mask. The star donned some comfy pajamas, sipped some champagne, and hung out like no one was watching. Aniston is all of us watching the Emmys on lockdown. Slay!

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