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Emmy Host Jimmy Kimmel during rehearsals Friday for the 72nd Annual Emmy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Photo: Al Seib/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Emmy Awards Sunday night addressed the major U.S. issues this year — including the protests on systemic racism and police brutality, the wildfires engulfing parts of the West Coast, the census, the pandemic, essential works and the election.

Why it matters: Award shows have always addressed wider cultural issues, but this year — amid unprecedented stress and uncertainty — that trend has accelerated.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Details: The 72nd awards opened with host Jimmy Kimmel acknowledging that few events in the virtual world ever go as planned.

  • In his opening monologue, Kimmel walked up to a floor-to-ceiling screen featuring hundreds of live feeds from the homes of Emmys nominees, and remarked "What could possibly go right?"

Award presenters had scripted moments designed to acknowledged different issues.

  • Jennifer Aniston put out a live fire of an envelope burning on stage, paying tryibute to the difficult job of firefighters trying to contain the wildfires spreading in the Pacific NorthWest.
  • Black-ish actress Tracee Ellis Ross told viewers to "Stay safe, make a plan for voting, and goodnight!" while announcing an award at the top of the show.
  • Actor Jason Sudeikis was interrupted during his on-stage award announcement by a nurse administering a COVID test through his nose. .

The Canadian drama, Schitt's Creek, was awarded all four of the top acting Emmys, for the first time in the show's 72-year history, proving the power of comedy during a distressing year for Americans.

  • The show, which is available to Americans on Netflix, also swept all 7 comedy categories.

The big picture: The show also paid tribute to reckoning throughout America and Hollywood around systemic racism. Black women were frequently acknowledged throughout the night.

  • Awards recipients like Regina King and Uzo Aduba wore memorabilia commemorating the late death of Breonna Taylor, the young Black woman who was fatally shot by police officers in Louisville this summer, in their virtual acceptance speeches.
  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who stars in HBO's Watchemn, dedicated his Emmy to "all the Black women in my life."

What's next: Like most award shows, the Emmys has seen ratings decline for the past few years, as more people get rid of their satellite and cable television subscriptions. The pandemic is expected to exacerbate that trend. Preliminary ratings will be out Monday.

Go deeper: The full list of 2020 Emmy Awards winners

Go deeper

Louisville declares state of emergency as Breonna Taylor decision looms

A demonstrator holds up a sign of Breonna Taylor during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency Tuesday "due to the potential for civil unrest" ahead of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's expected announcement on the Breonna Taylor case.

Of note: Louisville has witnessed more than 115 days of protests over the police killing of Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, with calls for all the officers involved to be charged.

CDC looks at tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
16 mins ago - Economy & Business

How to meme a painting

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

How can a physical artwork become an NFT? One new company has just spent $12.9 million on a Banksy in an attempt to try out a new way of converting the real into the virtual.

Why it matters: The art market globally sees volume of about $60 billion per year, almost all of which is trade in physical objects. Art-world insiders including former Christie's c0-chair Loïc Gouzer are on the lookout for ways to monetize physical paintings without necessarily giving up physical ownership of them.