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TV excellence rewarded with Emmys, despite TV excellence being lesser than movie excellence

Last night’s 66th Primetime Emmy Awards proceeded with such efficiency—too bad the whole “speed things up by giving all the drama awards to Breaking Bad” strategy will never work again—that it was difficult for any trends or themes to emerge. Nonetheless, there was a certain “throwback” atmosphere to the event, what with a censored Robin Williams punchline, the Clark Gable mustache that Bryan Cranston planted on one-time Seinfeld cohort Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Sofia Vergara standing on a rotating pedestal of vintage objectification while host Seth Meyers composed a silent “Really?” monologue in his head. And well before Gwen Stefani’s Adele Dazeem callback, there was that grandest of TV traditions: A raging, cinema-derived inferiority complex. Meyers concluded his opening monologue with a run of jokes heralding TV over “that high-maintenance diva, movies,” a brief preview of an awards ceremony in which television’s artistic bona fides were constantly (and in no way insecurely) touted while no awards were given to movie stars. (Memo to TV: You’re winning right now. Not that this is a fight to be won. But you’ve got True Detective and Mad Men and Orange Is The New Black and The Good Wife and Louie and Parks And Rec and Review and Broad City and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver—quit it with the self-deprecation already.)

With marquee names like Matthew McConaughey, Julia Roberts, and Kevin Spacey going home empty handed, the big winners of the night included Godzilla supporting player Bryan Cranston, Ghost Ship’s own Julianna Margulies, and voice of a cartoon dog Ty Burrell. (As part of the ongoing critical reassessment of Pootie Tang, that film’s writer and director Louis C.K. took home the honors for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series). Accepting the award for Outstanding Miniseries, Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley thanked the big-shot filmmakers who inspired his lowly TV show, before noting, as any reverent boob-tube serf should, that the Coen Brothers “don’t watch the Emmys”.

There are plenty more throwbacks to be found in the list of winners below, including Allison Janney’s second Emmy win of the year and a delightful reminder of the last four times Modern Family forced a sappy, speechifying ending onto the end of its Emmy night.

Outstanding Drama Series

Breaking Bad

Outstanding Comedy Series

Modern Family

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama

Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama

Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama

Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy

Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Allison Janney, Mom

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Ty Burrell, Modern Family

Outstanding Miniseries


Outstanding Television Movie

The Normal Heart

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Martin Freeman, Sherlock

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Cary Joji Fukunaga, True Detective (“Who Goes There”)

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

Gail Mancuso, Modern Family (“Las Vegas”)

Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special

Colin Bucksey, Fargo (“Buridan’s Ass”)

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Moira Walley-Beckett, Breaking Bad (“Ozymandias”)

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Louis C.K., Louie (“So Did The Fat Lady”)

Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special

Steven Moffat, Sherlock (“His Last Vow”)

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special

Sarah Silverman, We Are Miracles

Outstanding Variety Series

The Colbert Report

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

The Amazing Race

Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special

Glenn Weiss, 67th Tony Awards

Outstanding Representation of the “¯\_(ツ)_/¯” Emoticon

Lorne Michaels

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