The Emmys held its annual pancake breakfast on Sunday, and in deference to what is easily television’s ninth or tenth most important night, none of the shows that broadcast new episodes on Sundays took a hiatus. So in case you were busy watching Mad Men or True Blood instead of watching the cast and crew of Mad Men and True Blood talk about what an honor it is to make a show like Mad Men or True Blood, here are some of the highlights you missed:
New comedies (and musicals masquerading as comedies): In one of the true upsets of the night, Modern Family took Best Comedy away from fellow freshman Glee after also nabbing trophies for Best Supporting Actor (Eric Stonestreet) and Best Writing. But don’t feel bad for Glee: Jane Lynch took home her first Emmy for playing Sue Sylvester, likely setting her up to be the next perennial nominee in the Jeremy Piven or Christine Baranski mold, while Ryan Murphy grabbed one for Best Directing. Also, the entire pre-show was dedicated to talking to seemingly every single one of its cast members, while the ceremony itself opened with a big, Glee-style opening number set to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” featuring the cast performing with Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Jon Hamm, Betty White, Joel McHale, Kate Gosselin, Jorge Garcia, Tim Gunn, and Randy Jackson. (That Neil Patrick Harris wasn’t asked to host in this, The Year Of Glee, was probably a source of great consternation to him.) And much like Glee, this set the stage for an entire night of musical numbers substituting for actual jokes, as seen in Jimmy Fallon’s later impressions of Elton John and Billie Joe Armstrong.
AMC: Mad Men won Best Drama again. Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston won Best Actor again. Cranston’s co-star Aaron Paul took Best Supporting Actor in another of the night’s surprise (and most deserved) wins. Both shows thanked AMC profusely and basically called it the only network with any balls. Somewhere in a cavernous conference room high in the Hollywood Hills, an HBO executive banged his fist on a huge redwood table and shouted at his underlings to find him 10 more pilots by sunup.
Top Chef: Finally, the stranglehold that The Amazing Race has held over the Best Reality Show category was broken. It was a triumphant moment—except for the poor staff member who tripped on her way to the podium and ensured she would be mentioned in just about every Emmy wrap-up.
Pomposity: Most TV actors are fairly self-effacing about their craft, so thank goodness the Emmys always hands out awards to any movie actor willing to lower themselves to their level, otherwise the show would be robbed of that always-crucial element of puffy rhetoric. Emboldened by its touchy-feely subject, the cast of HBO’s Temple Grandin—which took home accolades for Best Made-For-TV Movie, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor and Actress—supplied the gustiest winds, with David Strathairn basically thanking the film for giving him the opportunity to teach America about autism, and Julia Ormond actually delivering the line, “It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a cast and crew to make a film.” Also, George Clooney showed up to make everyone feel bad about being rich and not caring about Haiti anymore, and Tom Hanks used his The Pacific acceptance speech to say it was the U.S.’s job to “save the world” every once in a while. And hey Kyra Sedgwick: Tina Fey is not your personal valet. Hold your own damn Emmy.
Betty White: This year’s go-to punchline.
Bucky Gunts: Next year’s Betty White?
The networks: Of the many winners last night, the only network shows that walked home with trophies were Modern Family, Glee, The Big Bang Theory (for Jim Parsons), and The Good Wife (for Archie Panjabi, who bested both Mad Men favorites, then bluntly told the audience that “this is good for my career”—which, shut up). Somewhere in a conference room high in the Hollywood Hills, an NBC executive banged his fist on a huge redwood conference table and ordered 10 more remakes of 1970s action shows by sunup.
Lost: Other than Fallon’s Green Day-riffing tribute and the smattering of sentimental applause the show received every time it came up for nomination, Lost ended its farewell season without much to show for it. Saddest of all: When Aaron Paul took Best Supporting Actor from Terry O’Quinn, a look briefly crossed O’Quinn’s face that suggested he knew he’d missed out on his last-ever chance to grab another one.
Actually funny actresses: After Edie Falco took the Emmy for the only-marginally-a-comedy Nurse Jackie—shutting out actual comedy stars Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus—she insisted, “I’m not funny.” Falco’s talented and all, but far be it from us to disagree. Here’s something you don’t hear very often: “I saw the funniest thing on Nurse Jackie last night.” Has anyone ever had a genuine laugh about that show? It’s chuckle-worthy at best.
Everyone who lost to Kyra Sedgwick: Specifically The Good Wife’s Julianna Marguiles and Friday Night Lights’ Connie Britton—who’s been doing the “strong Southern woman” better than Sedgwick for years now, and who probably would have held her own damn Emmy.
That waiter who offered frequent rehabber Matthew Perry a beer: Even more awkward than his co-presentation with Lauren Graham.
Dead people: In addition to stretching the definition of “TV actor” to include Corey Haim (whose contributions to the medium include The Edison Twins, Roomies, and The Two Coreys), the seriousness of the otherwise poignant In Memoriam montage (awww, Boner!) was frequently alleviated by close-ups of Jewel’s painful sing-face. Also, where was TV writer David Mills?
Here’s a rundown of the major winners:
Drama Series: Mad Men, AMC.
Comedy Series: Modern Family, ABC.
Actor, Drama Series: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad, AMC.
Actress, Drama Series: Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer, TNT.
Actor, Comedy Series: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory, CBS.
Actress, Comedy Series: Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie, Showtime.
Actor, Drama Series: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad, AMC.
Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife, CBS.
Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family, ABC
Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Jane Lynch, Glee, Fox.
Miniseries: The Pacific, HBO.
Made-for-TV Movie: Temple Grandin, HBO.
Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Al Pacino, You Don't Know Jack, HBO
Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Claire Danes, Temple Grandin, HBO.
Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie: David Strathairn, Temple Grandin, HBO
Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Julia Ormond, Temple Grandin, HBO.
Directing for a Comedy Series: Ryan Murphy, Glee, Fox.
Directing, Drama Series: Steve Shill, Dexter, Showtime.
Directing, Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special: Mick Jackson, Temple Grandin, HBO.
Directing, Variety, Music or Comedy Special: Bucky Gunts, Vancouver 2010 Winter Games Opening Ceremony, NBC.
Variety, Music or Comedy Series: The Daily Show, Comedy Central.
Reality Competition Program: Top Chef, Bravo.
Writing for Comedy Series: Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Modern Family, ABC.
Writing, Drama Series: Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy, Mad Men, AMC.
Writing, Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special: Adam Mazer, You Don't Know Jack, HBO
Writing, Variety, Music or Comedy Special: 63rd Annual Tony Awards, CBS.
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