LOS ANGELES – In a virtual Emmys version of the wrong-winner Oscars gaffe, Ron Cephas Jones’ guest actor award for “This Is Us” was announced for another nominee, Jason Bateman.
The error occurred during Saturday's online creative arts Emmys, precursor to Sunday's main ceremony and the culmination of a week of events honoring technical and other achievements.
Saturday's show on FXX, however, was the only one of the creative arts presentations to be televised, making the error more glaring. In a voice-over announcement, Bateman was declared the winner for his guest appearance on HBO's “The Outsider,” while the screen displayed Jones' name.
The confusion wasn't addressed until after a commercial break, with an on-screen message that read, “Our apologies, an incorrect winner has been announced. We're fixing it now,” followed by the repeated display of Jones' name but without an announcement.
There was no immediate explanation for the mistake.
Jones was good-natured about the mistake when he fielded questions virtually afterward, focused instead on his second Emmy for “This Is Us” and especially on his daughter, actor-singer Jasmine Cephas Jones.
He expressed delight when learning that the pair made Emmy history as the first father and daughter to win in the same year. Her short-form series acting trophy came earlier this week for Quibi’s “#FreeRayshawn.”
“My heart just explodes when I think about her and watch her and the success that she’s had,” he said.
Bateman has another shot Sunday, when he is competing for the best actor honors for “Ozark.” The ABC telecast (8 p.m. EDT) will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
Given the virtual event's lack of on-stage presenters and a theater audience, the error was far less dramatic than the 2017 Oscars mix-up, in which Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced “La La Land” as the best picture instead of winner “Moonlight.”
But the Emmys misstep represented a cautionary note for Sunday's show, which also will be virtual because of the pandemic but has ambitious plans. More than 100 cameras are being deployed to nominees at home and elsewhere so winners can accept their award in real time.
Other winners Saturday included Eddie Murphy, whose return to “Saturday Night Live” after more than three decades earned the star his first Emmy Award, for guest comedy series actor.
Maya Rudolph claimed the category’s guest actress trophy for her portrayal of Sen. Kamala Harris, two days after claiming a voice-over performance Emmy for “Big Mouth.”
Cherry Jones won the guest drama actress trophy for “Succession.”
Rudolph, also nominated in the comedy category for her guest role on “The Good Place,” paid tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg after the telecast. The robe worn by Rudolph's judge character was modeled on that of the Supreme Court associate justice, who died Friday.
“When you think of a judge, when you think of all-knowing, when you think of powerful, when you think of all good, yeah, we modeled her robe after RBG, so that was pretty cool," Rudolph said.