It wasn’t lost on Sterling K. Brown, who won the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy on Sunday for his work on This is Us, that he was played offstage awfully quickly during his acceptance speech. “Nobody got that loud music,” he protested as the orchestra struck up a particularly brassy number, shortly before the cameras pulled to a wide shot and Brown’s mic was cut. In fact, other people didn’t get any music at all: Brown was cut off just under two minutes after he began speaking, while Nicole Kidman talked for two minutes and 48 seconds without facing any musical retaliation from producers Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss.
Brown’s treatment also wasn’t lost on Jason Nathanson of ABC News, who asked him if he had more to say backstage. “You know what, I wouldn’t mind finishing, thank you for the invitation,” Brown replied, to cheers and applause, before launching right back into his speech. Among the people who got left out of the original version: the show’s writers, producers, directors, and creator Dan Fogelman, who, according to Brown, is “not trying to make America great again—he’s trying to make it the best it’s ever been.” Brown also thanked his manager of 17 years Jennifer Wiley-Stockton, his wife of ten years Ryan Michelle Bathe, his son of six years Andrew Jason Sterling Brown, and his other son of two years Amaré Michael Ryan Christian Brown. Leaving out any one of those people would have been a professional and/or personal catastrophe, so it’s a good thing Nathanson asked if Brown wanted to finish. But it might have been better if the producers had just let him finish onstage to begin with. Here’s Brown’s backstage speech:
Total runtime for the second half of his acceptance speech is, by my count, 1:22, which means Brown would have needed three minutes and 22 seconds to get the most affecting part of his speech, where he tells his kids, “Your daddy loves you with the strength of a thousand suns,” into the broadcast. It’s moving to watch after the fact, but it’s a pity there was nothing to cut from the Emmys tight three-hour runtime to give Brown more time. What were the producers supposed to do: deny America the chance to catch up with Sean Spicer?