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And the Emmy Goes to … Anthony Anderson’s Emmy Nomination Performance

This morning’s ceremony was … fun?

Getty Images
Getty Images

This morning’s 2016 Emmy nominations special was short and strange and, ultimately, maybe even memorable.

There were some thank-yous from a pale man in a gray suit, followed by some “hold, please / you’re watching a screen saver bounce around on YouTube in the middle of the day, I know you will” elevator music, followed by some self-congratulations from a tan man in a gray suit, followed by some Red Hot Chili Peppers (??), followed by the introduction of our hosts: Anthony Anderson and Lauren Graham.

And then there were Emmy nominations.

Some stray notes from the proceedings:

  • Parenthood got placement ahead of Gilmore Girls in the delivery of Lauren Graham’s résumé. Nah. Nope. Non. [“Cut it out” hand signal.] I see what you’re trying to do there, and I almost respect it, and peace to Parenthood, I’ve teared up during commercials for it before, but, just, nah. Please don’t ever let it happen again.
  • Here are the 2016 Emmy nominees that either Anderson or Graham have never heard of, ranked by seeming lack of recognition, most to least: Benedict Cumberbatch (both), American Ninja Warrior (Graham), A Very Murray Christmas (both), Kirsten Dunst (Anderson), Will Forte (Graham), The Night Manager (Anderson), Shameless (both), James Corden (both), Mr. Robot (both).
  • The only worthwhile goal in life is to strive for someone to say your name like Lauren Graham says Matthew Rhys’s name during an Emmy nomination announcement: smiling, blushing, yearning, wonder, pause, acceptance, warmth.
  • The most popular nominations picks from the YouTube chat section of the stream of the 2016 Emmy nominations special, ranked: “GAGA,” “Lady Gaga,” “Vera Farmiga,” “BORN THIS WAY — IN STORES NOW,” “BUY ARTPOP ON ITUNES,” “RAMI,” “TAYLOR [SNAKE EMOJI] [SNAKE EMOJI] [SNAKE EMOJI],” “GAGA AND HER FIANCE SHOULD BE NOMINATED,” “ARTPOP FLOPPED,” “Hodor,” “Sarah Paulson.”

But mostly: We need to talk about Anthony Anderson.

First, yes: congratulations to Anthony Anderson for his second straight Emmy nomination, in the highly competitive category of Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, for his brilliant work on ABC’s hit show Black-ish.

Moving on: Congratulations to Anderson for becoming the first person in history to deserve an Emmy award FOR HIS PERFORMANCE ON THE TV SHOW WHERE THEY ANNOUNCE WHO DESERVES THE EMMY AWARDS.

Friends, this was a tour de force. Anthony Anderson said, “Uh-oh, hold on,” took a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket, remarked, “I went to public school in Compton — I’ve got this,” and then pronounced “Tatiana Maslany.” Anthony Anderson greeted Graham’s note that they were going to kick it back to Television Academy chairman and CEO (?) Bruce Rosenblum for the final two awards with: “Do we have to?” Anthony Anderson cold-interrupted someone to make a “Downton Abbey? I thought it was Downtown Abbey” joke — and it WORKED. Before the last nomination for Outstanding Drama Series could be announced, Anthony Anderson whispered, “Say Black-ish.” Anthony Anderson openly rooted for himself — while making “openly rooting for yourself” more likable than anything I’ve ever done in my entire life.

And he rooted for other actors, too: Here is an unabridged list of people whose names Anthony Anderson clapped for during the 2016 Emmy nominations special: Lily Tomlin, Aziz Ansari. Here is an unabridged list of people whose names Anthony Anderson said “wow” and/or “all right” after: Cuba Gooding Jr., Courtney B. Vance. Here is the list of nominees whose alma mater Anthony Anderson shouted out: Taraji P. Henson. Anthony Anderson seemed even happier upon the announcement of his Black-ish costar Tracee Ellis Ross’s nomination than he seemed for his own.

These little performances — a nominations announcement special, an awards show bit, a talk show appearance — often don’t seem like much. And for the most part we tend to treat them as obligation: “We have to do this, so let’s make it a little fun.” But sometimes they can serve as real windows into celebrity — even genuine personality. Today Anderson came off like someone who cares about his work, doesn’t take things too seriously, takes pride in the success of others, can give a really good SHRIEK OF JOY, didn’t care for the latest season of Homeland, loved The People v. O.J. Simpson, and is just — a really cool guy. To pull that off anytime would be impressive. To pull that off at eight in the morning on a 20-minute borderline-WTF YouTube special that also happens to have pretty undeniable and significant career implications?

They should give an award for that.

Anyway, congratulations to all of the new Emmy nominees. And to Anthony Anderson for the best performance of 2016.