Courtney B. Vance adds another Emmy to his mantle after picking up the guest drama actor statue for “Lovecraft Country,” but he used his acceptance speech not to celebrate his own achievement, but instead to pay tribute to his co-star Michael K. Williams.
After thanking his children when accepting the award during the third Creative Arts Emmys ceremony, which took place on Sunday, Sept. 12., Vance credited “Lovecraft Country” creator and showrunner Misha Green by saying she said it best but, “Michael did everything with his full heart open, with his infinite spirit and with way too much style. May he rest in power and let us all honor his immense legacy by being a little more love-forward, a little more endless in thought, a little bit more swaggy in act.”
Vance played Uncle George in Misha Green’s genre-blending adaptation of Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel of the same title, while Williams played Montrose Freeman in the series. Williams passed away last week at age 54.
Backstage, Vance shared a bit more about Williams, noting that they first met a few years ago and were “overjoyed to share the same dance.” Playing brothers in “Lovecraft Country” meant a lot to Vance who said, “This is his. We were brothers. I died in the series and we said goodbye to each other. It’s too painful to really think about, so I just honor him everywhere and every hour I can.”
Although the series and its performers, writers and directors entered into the drama races at the 73rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards, HBO announced this show would not go on just days after nominations-round voting ended.
In addition to having a sense of sadness surrounding the win because Williams was not there to share it with him, Vance expressed a similar feeling of sadness “because we’re not doing the show” anymore.
“In my mind and in my spirit, it doesn’t make sense [that] something that successful [as] that show was that the powers that be could not figure it out. I’m sad for audiences that, like ‘Game of Thrones,’ we don’t get to see seven years, eight years of following these characters and learning more about the time period and learning about our people and the struggles and where Misha’s mind was going to go. That’s very painful for me as a fan and me as an actor.
“It doesn’t make sense to to fans, and that’s all that matters,” he continued. :We set everyone up and then we don’t deliver on for whatever reason. I’m tired of it. Personally I’m tired of that scenario — that they can find a way to make a ‘Game of Thrones’ but not a ‘Lovecraft Country.'”
Vance’s was just one of 18 nominations for the now-canceled series, but so far it’s only the second win (first above-the-line win). (The first was for one-hour comedy or drama sound editing.) Williams is also nominated (and considered the front-runner), but in the supporting drama actor category, which will have its winner announced during the 73rd Annual Primetime ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 19.
This was only Vance’s second Emmy nomination in his decades-long career. His first, which he also won, came in 2016, in the lead limited series/TV movie actor race for “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”
Here, Vance was nominated alongside Don Cheadle (“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”), Charles Dance (“The Crown”), Timothy Olyphant (“The Mandalorian”) and Carl Weathers (“The Mandalorian”).
Jazz Tangcay contributed to this report.