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A sweep for ‘Schitt’s Creek,’ ‘Succession’ tops Emmy Awards

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LOS ANGELES — “Schitt’s Creek,” the little Canadian show about a fish-out-of-water family, made history at Sunday’s Emmy Awards with a comedy awards sweep, something even TV greats including “Frasier” and “Modern Family” failed to achieve.

Zendaya, 24, became the youngest lead drama actress winner for her role as a troubled teenager in “Euphoria.”

“I know this seems like a really weird time to be celebrating,” Zendaya said. “But I just want to say 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 thanked young people out there “doing the work.”

“Succession,” a family power struggle over a media empire, was honoured as best drama series, and creator Jesse Armstrong used the opportunity to offer “unthanks,” including to President Donald Trump for what Armstrong called his “crummy” handling of the pandemic.

“Succession” star Jeremy Strong won the drama actor trophy for his role as an aspiring heir.

The awards for Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek” included best comedy series and trophies for its stars, including Catherine O’Hara and father-son Eugene and Daniel Levy.

“It is absolutely incredible. I think my dad said it best earlier this evening: it’s a dream you don’t want to wake up from, to be honest. What an absolutely unbelievable way to end our series,” Daniel Levy said backstage.

In his acceptance speech, he said the sitcom was about “the transformational effects of love and acceptance, and this is something we need more now than ever before,” encouraging people to register and vote to achieve that goal.

Other winners, including “Watchmen” star Regina King, made a point that the Nov. 3 general election was near.

All the winners accepted their awards virtually in the pandemic-safe ceremony, including O’Hara, but she wasn’t alone.

“Though these are the strangest of days, may you have as much joy being holed up in a room or two with your family as I had with my dear Roses,” O’Hara said, surrounded in a decorated room by mask-wearing co-stars who play the Rose family members.

Levy called it “ironical that the straightest role I ever played lands me an Emmy for a comedy performance. I have to seriously question what I’ve been doing” for the past 50 years.

Moments later, his son won the award for comedy writing for “Schitt’s Creek” episode, then shared a directing award and captured the supporting actor comedy trophy. The supporting actress trophy went to his co-star Annie Murphy.

Daniel Levy thanked his father and O’Hara for teaching an extended “master class” in comedy. The show’s sweep came for its much-acclaimed final season.

References to coronavirus were an ongoing part of the ceremony, with essential workers — including a teacher and a UPS deliveryman — presenting awards and Jason Sudeikis ostensibly getting a COVID-19 test onstage.

In a year with a record number of Black nominees, 35, there was a notable lack of diversity in the show’s early going. With “Schitt’s Creek” gobbling up comedy awards, that left “Insecure” and creator Issa Rae empty-handed Sunday.

That was also true of Ramy Youssef, creator-star of the semi-autbiographical comedy “Ramy,” about a young Muslim American’s love and religious life. Yousef tweeted a video of a haz-mat suit-wearing person clutching an Emmy and waving goodbye after he lost the lost the comedy actor category.

There was a sign of change with the drama awards, which came in the latter part of the ceremony.

The powerful series “Watchmen,” a graphic novel-adaptation steeped in racial pain, was voted best limited series and King won lead actress for her work on the HBO show. She was showered by confetti as she accepted in an armchair, wearing a T-shirt that honoured police shooting victim Breonna Taylor.

“This is so freaky and weird,” said King, who regained her composure and called on viewers to vote and, backstage, explained why she wore the message shirt.

“The cops still haven’t been held accountable,” she said. “She represents just decades, hundreds of years of violence against Black bodies. Wearing Breonna’s likeness and representing her and her family and the stories that we were exploring, presenting and holding a mirror up to on ‘Watchmen,’ it felt appropriate to represent with Breonna Taylor.”

Her co-star, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, won the Emmy for best supporting actor in a limited series. Uzo Aduba won the counterpart actress award for her portrayal of Shirley Chisholm in “Mrs. America.”

Anthony Anderson, a nominee for “black-ish,” came on stage to make his disappointment vigorously known, saying the awards should have been “Howard University homecoming Black.”

“This isn’t what it should have been. … But Black stories, Black performances and Black Lives Matter,” he said, urging host Jimmy Kimmel to shout with him.

Tyler Perry, the actor turned media mogul, accepted the Governors Award.

Supporting drama awards went to Billy Crudup for “The Morning Show” and repeat winner Julia Garner for “Ozark.”

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” was again honoured as best variety-talk series, with David Letterman announcing the award after being abandoned roadside by an annoyed ride-share driver.

Oliver joined the ranks of winners calling for Americans to vote, as did Mark Ruffalo, who won the limited series acting trophy for “I Know This Much is True”

Kimmel opened the show with a monologue that appeared to be defiantly delivered in front of a packed, cheering theatre — until it was revealed they were clips from past Emmy shows.

“Of course I’m here all alone. Of course, we don’t have an audience,” he said. “This isn’t a MAGA rally. It’s the Emmys.”

With more than 100 long-distance video feeds with nominees ahead, “what could possibly go right?”

A minor gaffe marred Saturday’s virtual Emmys for technical and other honours, when Jason Bateman’s name was announced for a guest acting award that belonged to Ron Cephas Jones of “This Is Us.” Other guest acting honours went to Eddie Murphy and Maya Rudolph for “Saturday Night Live” and Cherry Jones for “Succession.”

Bateman was one of the few people on hand at the Staples Center for Sunday’s show, sitting in the audience during Kimmel’s opening monologue. Bateman sat stone faced amid a collection of cardboard cutouts, trading jokes with Kimmel after the host pointed out he was there.

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Online: https://www.emmys.com/

Lynn Elber, The Associated Press





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Fredericton Police say writer RM Vaughan found dead days after going missing

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Police in New Brunswick say missing writer Richard Vaughan has been found dead. He was 55.

The author and video artist, who wrote under the name RM Vaughan, was a revered figure in Canada’s LGBTQ arts scene.

Fredericton Police say his body was found on Friday, 10 days after he was reported missing, and that his death is not being treated as suspicious.

Born in Saint John, N.B, Vaughan recently returned to his home province from Montreal to serve as writer-in-residence at his alma mater, the University of New Brunswick for 2019-2020.

Police say he was last seen near his home in downtown Fredericton on Monday, Oct. 12, and he was reported missing the next day.

The news sparked a flurry of concern in literary circles, with many writers sharing posts urging people to keep an eye out for Vaughan.

Vaughan’s bibliography includes the poetry collections “A Selection of Dazzling Scarves,” “Invisible to Predators,” “Ruined Stars,” “Troubled” and “Ve1Xe”; the novels “Quilted Heart” and “Spells”; and the play “Camera, Woman” and “The Monster Trilogy.”

His works often touched on queer stories of coming-of-age and eroticism. He also had a taste for the supernatural and macabre, and was captivated by the world of the celebrity.

A contributor to a variety of publications and anthologies, Vaughan published the book of essays “Compared to Hitler” in 2013 featuring many of his takes on contemporary culture.

In the 2015 non-fiction book “Bright Eyed,” Vaughan examined the health and historical context of his lifelong battle with insomnia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Trump, Biden fight over the raging virus, climate and race

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NASHVILLE — President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden fought over how to tame the raging coronavirus during the campaign’s closing debate, largely shelving the rancour that overshadowed their previous face-off in favour of a more substantive exchange that highlighted their vastly different approaches to the major domestic and foreign challenges facing the nation.

The Republican president declared the virus, which killed more than 1,000 Americans on Thursday alone, will “go away.” Biden countered that the nation was heading toward “a dark winter.”

“Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America,” Biden said.

With less than two weeks until the election, Trump portrayed himself as the same outsider he first pitched to voters four years ago, repeatedly saying he wasn’t a politician. Biden, meanwhile, argued that Trump was an incompetent leader of a country facing multiple crises and tried to connect what he saw as the president’s failures to the everyday lives of Americans, especially when it comes to the pandemic.

The president, who promised a vaccine within weeks, said the worst problems are in states with Democratic governors, a contention at odds with rising cases in states that voted for Trump in 2016. Biden, meanwhile, vowed that his administration would defer to scientists on battling the pandemic and said that Trump’s divisive approach on suffering states hindered the nation’s response.

“I don’t look at this in terms of the way he does — blue states and red states,” Biden said. “They’re all the United States. And look at all the states that are having such a spike in the coronavirus — they’re the red states.”

After a first debate defined by angry interruptions, the Thursday event featured a mostly milder tone. And in a campaign defined by ugly personal attacks, the night featured a surprising amount of substantive policy debate as the two broke sharply on the environment, foreign policy, immigration and racial justice.

When Trump repeatedly asked Biden if he would “close down the oil industry,” the Democratic standardbearer said he “would transition from the oil industry, yes,” and that he would replace it by renewable energy “over time.” Trump, making a direct appeal to voters in energy producing states like Texas and the vital battleground of Pennsylvania, seized upon the remark as “a big statement.”

Perhaps sensing that the comment could soon appear in Trump campaign ads, Biden did a little clean-up boarding his plane after the debate, declaring, “We’re not going to ban fossil fuels. We’ll get rid of the subsidies of fossil fuels but not going to get rid of fossil fuels for a long time.”

As the debate swept to climate change, Trump explained his decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord negotiated in 2015, declaring it was an unfair pact that would have cost the country trillions of dollars and hurt businesses.

Trump repeatedly claimed Biden’s plan to tackle climate change and invest in green industries was developed by “AOC plus three,” referring to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Biden chuckled during much of Trump’s answer and said, “I don’t know where he comes from.”

On race, Biden called out Trump’s previous refusals to condemn white supremacists and his attacks on the Black Lives Matter movement, declaring that the president “pours fuel on every single racist fire.”

“You know who I am. You know who he is. You know his character. You know my character,” Biden said. The rivals’ reputations for “honour and for telling to truth” are clear, he said.

Trump countered by pointing out his efforts on criminal justice reform and blasting Biden’s support of a 1990s Crime Bill that many feel disproportionately incarcerated Black men. Staring into the crowd, he declared himself “the least racist person in this room.”

Turning to foreign policy, Biden accused Trump of dealing with a “thug” while holding summits with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. And closer to home, the former vice-president laced into the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents trying to illegally cross the southern border.

Biden said that America has learned from a New York Times report that Trump paid only $750 a year in federal taxes while holding “a secret bank account” in China. The former vice-president then noted he’s released all of his tax returns going back 22 years and challenged the president to release his returns, saying, “What are you hiding?”

Trump said he closed his former account in China and claimed his accountants told him he “prepaid tens of millions of dollars” in taxes. However, as he has for the past four years after promising to release his taxes, he declined to say when he might do so.

Trump said that when it comes to health care, he would like “to terminate” the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, even amid a pandemic, and come up “with a brand new beautiful health care,” that protects coverage for preexisting conditions. Biden said the president has been talking about making such a move for years but “he’s never come up with a plan.”

He also denounced Trump’s claim that Biden wanted to socialize medicine, creating daylight between himself and the more liberal members of his party whom he defeated in the Democratic primaries.

“He thinks he’s running against somebody else,” the former vice-president said. “He’s running against Joe Biden. I beat all those other people because I disagreed with them.”

It remained to be seen if Trump, who is trailing in the race, managed to change the trajectory of the campaign. More than 47 million votes already have been cast, and there are fewer undecided voters than at this point in previous election years.

The debate, moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, was a final chance for each man to make his case to a television audience of tens of millions. And questions swirled beforehand as to how Trump, whose hectoring performance at the first debate was viewed by aides as a mistake that turned off viewers, would perform amid a stretch of the campaign in which he has taken angry aim at the news media and unleashed deeply personal attacks on Biden and his adult son.

When he feels cornered, Trump has often lashed out, going as negative as possible. In one stunning moment during the 2016 campaign, in an effort to deflect from the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which he is heard boasting about groping women, Trump held a press conference just before a debate with Hillary Clinton during which he appeared with women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. He then invited them to watch as audience members.

In a similar move, Trump’s campaign held another surprise pre-debate news conference, this time featuring Tony Bobulinski, a man who said he was Hunter Biden’s former business partner and made unproven allegations that the vice-president’s son consulted with his father on China-related business dealings.

Trump made similar, if vague, accusations from the debate stage, but exchanges about Hunter Biden did not dominate the night as aides on both campaigns thought might happen. Biden declared the discussion about family entanglements “malarkey” and accused Trump of not wanting to talk about the substantive issues.

Turning to the camera and the millions of people watching at home, Biden said, “It’s not about his family and my family. It’s about your family, and your family is hurting badly.”

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Lemire reported from Washington, Price from Las Vegas. Additional reporting from Steve Peoples in Nashville, Bill Barrow in Atlanta, Alexandra Jaffe, Stephen Braun and Zeke Miller in Washington and Aamer Madhani in Chicago.

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AP’s Advance Voting guide brings you the facts about voting early, by mail or absentee from each state: https://interactives.ap.org/advance-voting-2020/.

Jonathan Lemire, Michelle L. Price, Darlene Superville And Will Weissert, The Associated Press

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