Emmys 2012: The Best and Worst Moments From the Awards
9:15 PM PDT 9/23/2012 by THR Staff
While host Jimmy Kimmel played it safe, some acceptance speeches soared (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) while others sunk (Tom Berenger) during Sunday's telecast. THR reviews all the highlights from TV's big night.
How do you kick off TV's biggest night? If you're Jimmy Kimmel, you go dark, violent and wacky. In an opening sketch set in the ladies' bathroom, Mindy Kaling, Zooey Deschanel and Christina Hendricks are interrupted from their preshow preparations by high-pitched sobs coming from inside a locked stall. After first opening the wrong one -- only to reveal a naked Lena Dunham, eating an entire birthday cake with her hands -- they find Kimmel, distraught over a botched Botox treatment. The celebrity cameos continue with Ryan Seacrest, Heidi Klum, Tom Bergeron, Howie Mandel and Jeff Probst, all of whom offer an encore of their (famously disappointing) Emmy-hosting services. By the end, Kathy Bates, Connie Britton and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have all popped in to pop Jimmy in the face.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus Pranks and Trips
When Julia Louis-Dreyfus took the stage to accept the award for actress in a comedy series, she began to read from her speech notes: “First of all, I'd like to thank NBC, Parks and Rec, my beautiful boys, Archie and Abel ..." Cameras then cut to Amy Poehler, who ran up to switch speech notes with Louis-Dreyfus. The prank made for a much livelier speech opener than most, and Louis-Dreyfus even closed her speech with another shout-out to Poehler. "Lastly, isn't a shame that Amy Poehler didn't win? What?" As Louis-Dreyfus walked off stage, her gown snagged, and the Veep star tripped a little, but she still walked away with one of the better acceptance speeches of the night.
Jimmy Kimmel's Opening Monologue
Jimmy Kimmel writes a topical monologue five nights a week, and he stuck to his bread and butter for his Emmy Awards opener. Kimmel blended politics and television: He joked that Downton Abbey was an accurate depiction of GOP nominee Mitt Romney's childhood, while he expressed concern that President Obama's favorite show is Homeland. He also made light of Hollywood's liberal bent, cracking that Kelsey Grammer wasn't in attendance because he was an avowed Republican. Then, it was on to the obligatory Honey Boo Boo joke, and a salute to HBO's Girls creator Lena Dunham.He had no joke for that one; he just wanted to point out her talent and make the rest of the industry envious.
Kimmel asks the cast of Breaking Bad if they’ve ever thought about what their show would have been like if it was on before cable existed. “No,” they respond. Kimmel forces them into “imagining,” which leads to one of the funnier clips of the show, with an Andy Griffith-themed clip featuring Don Knotts -- and Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul) shooting him. "Brought to you by meth,” the clip ends.
Seth MacFarlane's Mic Issue
What do you get when you don't attend rehearsals? A televised screw-up. That's what Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane endured on the live Emmy telecast Sunday night. In an "oops" moment, the Ted filmmaker walked onstage to present the award for best reality TV host, talking onstage for more than 10 seconds before someone pointed out he wasn't actually standing in front of a mic. "That's going to be on YouTube," MacFarlane said moments later (videos popped up minutes later on the video site) and after doing some Stewie. It's moments like these that make these telecasts so darn unpredictable.
Stephen Colbert Likes (Most) Women
While presenting the award for outstanding actress in a comedy, Stephen Colbert took a moment to get serious about the “war on women” in the current election climate. "Whoever wins this election, we should not have a war on women. We should be celebrating women,” he said, receiving strong applause from the crowd. Of course, Colbert had to throw in a little comedy to the routine. “Women are wonderful -- for the most part. Some women are awful,” he added, before announcing the nominees.
Remember when Tracy Morgan got all that attention for being taken to the hospital during the Sundance Film Festival? Well, he’d like to remind you. Kimmel had been teasing a major prank that would occur during the telecast, but it turns out it was just a rather disappointing skit involving Morgan coming onstage and Kimmel telling everyone to tweet and Facebook: “OMG Tracy Morgan passed out onstage, turn on ABC now!” In theory, people would turn on ABC to see Morgan lying on stage, from “exhaustion.” The only shining moment from that tired stunt? When Morgan told Kimmel, "Hold my nunchucks," which he then pulled out of his tuxedo jacket pocket.
Kimmel's Tribute to Himself
How do you make a joke about the in memoriam section of the Emmys? Kimmel gave it a shot by mentioning that while it’s important to praise those who have died, it’s also important to give accolades to those who are still alive -- namely himself. Josh Groban then begins singing One Direction's “What Makes You Beautiful,” and a special tribute to Kimmel plays for the "enjoyment" of the crowd.
Tom Berenger's Acceptance Speech Is Cut Short
The award for most awkward acceptance speech of the night has to go to Tom Berenger, who won for outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie for Hatfields & McCoys. The actor must have had a tough time getting to the stage, because he was sweating up a storm and pointing out that he’d used up half his time just trying to get to the stage. The music cut him off, which is probably a good thing because no one seemed to understand what he was talking about anyway.
In one of the night's memorable acceptance speeches, Homeland star Claire Danes -- pregnant with her first child with husband Hugh Dancy -- turned heads when she dropped some unexpected one-liners. Praising co-star Mandy Patinkin, Danes -- who won an Emmy for HBO's Temple Grandin in 2010 -- voiced her love for the veteran actor: "Mandy Patinkin, holla." (There was some question as to whether she actually said "challah," in reference to Patinkin's character's Jewish heritage on the show.) The last person to be thanked during Danes' speech was Dancy, who she lovingly referred to as "my baby daddy," causing some laughs from the star-heavy audience.
No Surprises Here
Not so surprisingly, Modern Family and Homeland swept their respective categories, marking big wins for performers Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen, Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, as well as the writers for Homeland and Modern Family director/co-creator Steve Levitan. All in all, a predictable -- if valid -- outcome. But hey, we’re still allowed to feel a little pity for Mad Men, right?