Why the Emmys needs to rethink its playoff music

There are established traditions for keeping speeches to a sensible length – but some are more likely than others to ignore them, says Clémence Michallon

Thursday 23 September 2021 00:00
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<p>How long is too long for acceptance speeches? </p>

How long is too long for acceptance speeches?

Is it awards season already? It would seem so. After a remote ceremony in 2020, the Emmys returned on Sunday in an in-person format, albeit with a limited number of attendees (who had to submit negative Covid tests and proof of vaccination.)

The main celebration took place in Los Angeles, with a contingent gathering in London as well. The Crown and The Queen’s Gambit were the top winners of the evening with 11 awards each, while Ted Lasso triumphed in seven categories. Among The Queen’s Gambit’s wins was one for Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie. Fittingly, director Scott Frank took the stage to deliver his acceptance speech, and that’s when the wheels came off for a few memorable minutes.

Much like other awards ceremonies, the Emmys does what it can to limit the duration of acceptance speeches. Awards shows are always on a time crunch; there are dozens of awards to dole out, comedy skits, and ad breaks to take into account. For these reasons, winners are asked to keep their speech to a reasonable length. If they go over the allocated time, classical music starts playing, a polite reminder that it’s time to wrap it up.

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