Emmys 2020: Everything 'Watchmen' Won at the 72nd Primetime Emmys

The biggest show of the 72nd Primetime Emmys was Watchmen, which earned 26 nominations, the most of any program from the 2019-2020 television season. As expected, it dominated the Limited Series categories during the final ceremony on Sunday, where it won Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for Regina King’s heralded performance as detective and masked hero Angela Abar.

In total, Watchmen won 11 Primetime and Creative Arts Emmys, making it one of the most awarded series of 2020. “Thank you to every single person who invested nine hours of their life to watch Watchmen,” creator Damon Lindelof, who was wearing a t-shirt remembering the Tulsa Race Massacre during the ceremony, said. 

He also shared lessons he learned along the way. Most notably, “history is mystery,” which was a recurring theme of the series. He closed out his speech by dedicating the win to the victims and survivors of the tragedy that happened in 1921. 

“Thank you for taking us on this journey,” King said, acknowledging Lindelof, while accepting her fourth acting Emmy earlier in the night.  

In addition to the those two prizes, breakout star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II all won his respective acting categories. He beat out co-stars Jovan Adepo and Louis Gossett Jr., who told ET that playing aging superhero Will Reeves was “a character that I’ve always dreamt.”  

Leading up to the final night, the HBO limited series won seven awards during the Creative Arts Emmys, including Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special (Original Dramatic Score) for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who are now one Tony Award away from earning an EGOT (a win for an Emmy, GRAMMY, Oscar and Tony).

When Watchmen was first nominated, Abdul-Mateen told ET, “It feels so good to be in this moment.” The actor then went on to acknowledge the creative team, which includes writer Cord Jefferson as well as directors Nicole Kassell, Steph Green and Stephen Williams, all of whom are nominated for writing and directing. “This is about the actors and the creative team and the writers,” he said.

Debuting to critical acclaim in October of last year, Watchmen was noted for its timely and topical approach to the current and fiercely divided political climate. By the summer of 2020, amid the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, many celebrated the series for not only exposing forgotten histories and ugly truths in America but for also centering Black experiences and stories. 

“This show not only evoked thought and conversation but exposed history that had been forgotten, all while we were able to entertain,” King said when the series won a Peabody Award in May. 

“Tulsa became the foundation of a new interpretation of Watchmen, reframing the traditional superhero origin story, born not from the aftermath of an exploding fictional planet but from the ashes of a very real place in Oklahoma that was erased from history 100 years ago,” Lindelof added at the time. “It is in the memory of the lost lives of Greenwood — not victims, but mothers and sons and fathers and daughters and doctors and lawyers and journalists and veterans — that we dedicate this award.”

See below for every category the series was nominated for and won. (The winners are bolded.) 

Outstanding Limited Series

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie: Regina King

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie: Jeremy Irons

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie: Jean Smart

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie: Jovan Adepo

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie: Louis Gossett Jr.

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special: Nicole Kassell, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special: Steph Green, “Little Fear of Lightning”

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special: Stephen Williams, “This Extraordinary Being”

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special: Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson, “This Extraordinary Being”

Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie or Special: Victoria Thomas and Meagan Lewis

Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or Movie: Xavier Grobet, “Little Fear of Lightning”

Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or Movie: Gregory Middleton, “This Extraordinary Being”

Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes: Sharen Davis and Valerie Zielonka, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”

Outstanding Main Title Design

Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special (Original Dramatic Score): Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”

Outstanding Music Supervision: Liza Richardson,”This Extraordinary Being”

Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “This Extraordinary Being / Song Title: The Way it Used to Be”

Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Period or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More): “An Almost Religious Awe”

Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie: Henk Van Eeghen, “A God Walks in to Abar”

Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie: David Eisenberg, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”

Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie: Anna Hauger, “This Extraordinary Being”

Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited Series, Movie or Special: “This Extraordinary Being”

Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or Movie: “This Extraordinary Being”

Outstanding Special Visual Effects: “See How They Fly”

 

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