History was made at the 72nd annual Emmy Awards as Euphoria’s Zendaya became the youngest thespian to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the no-audience event was presented by Jimmy Kimmel at Los Angeles’ empty Staples Center, while winners accepted their awards over a video call from their homes around the world for the first time to adhere to California’s social distancing rules.
At just 24, the screen star – full name Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman – beat out a very impressive field of actresses including Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show), Olivia Colman (The Crown), Jodie Comer (Killing Eve), Laura Linney (Ozark), and Sandra Oh (Killing Eve).
Zendaya was shocked by the win as she said in a speech from her home: ‘I’m really, really nervous. Okay. Okay. Oh, gosh. I just want to say thank you to the TV academy, and all the other women, this is crazy. Thank you, HBO and A24 for your support. Thank you to my family and my team. To the incredible cast and crew of Euphoria.’
On the series she plays protagonist Rue Bennett, who, like many of her high school peers, grapples with issues surrounding drugs, sex, and violence.
The TV and film star gave a shoutout to her character as she added: ‘I’m so lucky and I’m inspired by everything you do. And Sam, I appreciate you so much. I’m so grateful you trusted me with your story, Rue.’
Zendaya made sure to acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic as well as unrest surrounding racial injustice in America as she said: ‘And I feel like this is a weird time to be celebrating, but there is hope in the young people out there. I know our TV show doesn’t always feel like a great example of that, but there is hope in the young people.
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‘And to my peers out there doing the work in the streets, I see you, I admire you, and I thank you. And thank you so, so much. This is — whoa, okay. Thank you.’
The young star was surrounded by her friends and family who couldn’t help but cheer her own during the duration of her speech.
The top honour of the night went to Succession as the series earned Outstanding Drama Series at the end of the night.
The HBO series beat out heavy competition including: Better Call Saul, The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, Killing Eve, The Mandalorian, Ozark, and Stranger Things.