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Emmys 2011: The Winners React

UPDATED: Read what the cast of "Modern Family" and "Mad Men," as well as "Mildred Pierce's" Kate Winslet and "The Big Bang Theory's" Jim Parsons had to say backstage about their Emmy wins.

Kate Winslet
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Kate Winslet

Modern Family took home the first four awards of the night, with The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons beating The Office's Steve Carell for the lead actor in a comedy series prize. Melissa McCarthy, of CBS' Mike & Molly, surprised the audience when she topped Tina Fey and Laura Linney for the top actress in a comedy honor.

The biggest surprise was Friday Night Lights' Kyle Chandler, beating out Mad Men's Jon Hamm and Boardwalk Empire's Steve Buscemi. But it was ultimately Modern Family and Mad Men taking the top awards for comedy and drama series, respectively.

PHOTOS: Emmy's Red Haute Mamas

Here are what the winners had to say backstage after their wins at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards:

Mad Men, outstanding drama series: “I have not absorbed that yet,” creator Matthew Weiner told reporters backstage Sunday when someone noted that Mad Men was one of only a few shows to win the drama award four times. “I’m a huge fan of TV and watched all those shows … it’s hard to comprehend that we’re in that company, it really is.” Read the complete story here.

Modern Family, outstanding comedy series: "Those over 21 will be drinking. We're just going to have a party and hang out together and have fun. We actually enjoy each other's company," said co-creator Steve Levitan when asked how the cast would celebrate the ABC comedy's five Emmy wins Sunday. Read the complete story here.

Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory, outstanding lead actor in a comedy series: The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons made it two-for-two in the lead actor in a comedy category, bringing home his second trophy for his role as anal-retentive science guru Sheldon Cooper. Backstage, he noted that he had no idea that Charlie Sheen would be presenting the category and noted that after winning, his exchange was sweet and “banal.” While Parsons was the reigning winner in the category, the actor – and his mother – both felt that it was Steve Carell’s year to take home the statuette.

“That’s really who I thought it would be,” he told reporters. “I felt it would be anybody but me and Steve had a better chance than anyone. That’s what my mother and other prognosticators had said.” Parsons also told THR that he swapped text messages with co-star and fellow category nominee Johnny Galecki. “He mentioned to me that it was a butterfly-making day and had been on and off the treadmill several times,” Parsons noted. “I texted back and said it was nerve-wracking and that the treadmill definitely helps, though the elpitical machine helped me.” -- Lesley Goldberg

PHOTOS: Emmy Red Carpet Arrivals

Kate Winslet of Mildred Pierce, outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie: Winslet says she's "thrilled" Guy Pearce spoke so highly about their sex scenes in the movie. "I've had a crush on him since I was 11. To stand in the same room with him was really thrilling." She was not so prepared when she heard her name called out from the stage. "I was truly, really unprepared. I didn't think I was going to win at all," she says."I'm so thrilled to have won this and the way it came out."

She didn't think she'd have a successful career. "I came from a long line of actors who spend most of their lives largely out of work. I knew when I wanted to pursue this great dream I had, I probably wouldn't work very often… I'm so grateful this is the one and only job I've had since I was a teenager. Winning an award like this today… it's really so wonderful. I can't even describe it." Winslet posed as Elizabeth Taylor recently for W magazine. Was she hinting about a future project? "I would be honored to be mentioned in the same breath as her," she says. "In any capacity, yes of course! She was an absolutely extraordinary human being." -- Lindsay Powers

PHOTOS: Executives Hit the Red Carpet

Melissa McCarthy of Mike & Molly, outstanding lead actress in a comedy series: It didn’t take much for Melissa McCarthy to sign on to do the on-stage bit where all the lead comedy actress nominees took to the stage as their name was called during the show. “I first heard about it through Martha [Plimpton] who said Amy had an idea,” the first-time Emmy winner said backstage. “I just said I’m in,” the Mike and Molly star said, noting that she signed on without having any idea what the idea was. Noting that she thinks viewers identify with how relatable the show’s characters are, she said she enjoyed the challenges that come with playing a lead thanked executive producer Chuck Lorre for fighting for her.

LIVE BLOG: Follow Chief TV Critic Tim Goodman as the Action Happens

“I’d never [had a lead] before and people didn’t see me that way,” said the actress, who said. “Chuck dug his heels in and fought for me. I’m really glad he did.” McCarthy, who noted that she went to school for clothing and textiles and designed her own dress, said she enjoyed the challenges that come with the part. “Instead of just coming in with funny lines, which is a blast, it’s more challenging to think of where the character is going,” she said. “How do you relate to three shows ago? I like the math of acting where you have to keep all those puzzle pieces in line.” -- Lesley Goldberg

Margo Martindale of Justified, outstanding supporting actress in a drama series: Of winning, she says, "I'm thrilled, I'm on cloud nine. I'm out of my body. It's just been a joyous year. I love the work, I love working with these actors. I loved it, it's a perfect fit for me. I'm grateful to have had that job. Unfortunately, it's in the past. They killed me off! Maybe they'll regret it." Martindale was just due for four episodes, and then it was made 10. "I thought, honestly, they seemed so happy with that I was doing. I thought I would live! Silly me. It was poetic and a perfect ending for that character, however." -- Lindsay Powers

Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones, outstanding supporting actor in a drama series: "I've learned to really love being on a TV show," the actor told reporters backstage, following his Emmy win. Read the complete story here.

STORY: Full List of Emmy Winners

Martin Scorsese of Boardwalk Empire, outstanding directing in a drama: I "always dreamed of getting involved in a project where the characters could be developed over a period of time," the Oscar-winning director says backstage. Read the complete story here.

Downton Abbey, outstanding movie or miniseries: “HBO has tremendous marketing and advertising muscle behind it,” said executive producer Rebecca Eaton. “This is about a show that stands on its merits and the Academy recognized that. I’m very proud of it.” Read the complete story here.

Julie Bowen of Modern Family, outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series: Standing next to co-star and TV husband Ty Burrell as she discussed her win, Julie Bowen said backstage at the Emmys that he had told her when they started  that  someone said acting is nothing but fear management. She said that was when she knew she had “a rock all the time” next to her,“ adding: “All you’re trying to do is convince yourself you’re not scared all day long.”

It isn’t just as an actor Bowen worries about managing her nerves and fear. In her acceptance, Bowen mentioned that after winning “I don’t know what I’m going to talk about in therapy next week.” Bowen said she really does work on her mental health: “I’m a big proponent of taking care of ones mental health.” “My fear management was more about setting aside my ego,” she added. “If you’re going to make a buffoon of yourself every day as I do.” “I don’t have any problem with shrinks,” she noted. “I love them.” -- Alex Ben Block

VIDEO: Emmys 2011: Charlie Sheen Shows Up to the Emmys

Ty Burrell of Modern Family, outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series: Modern Family’s Ty Burrell sang the praises of his cast backstage as he and co-star and fellow winner Julie Bowen shared the stage. “It’s not very often that the straight person wins an Emmy,” he said of Bowen’s often-deadpan Claire Dunphy. “I think couples are often paired up with a straight man and a wilder character. That she won is due to her resourcefulness as an actress.” The first-time winner – Burrell was nominated last year as well for his supporting turn as Phil Dunphy – also praised category nominees and co-stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet for their portrayal of a gay couple and said the show is slowly changing a lot minds when it comes to conservative America. “Eric and Jesse obviously deserve all of the credit for that, along with our amazing showrunners,” he told reporters. “It’s great thing to go to events and have people start to talk about those characters, and that they’re relating to their life.” -- Lesley Goldberg

Guy Pearce of Mildred Pierce, outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie: Guy Pearce said it was Kate Winslet who helped him get through the four love scenes he had to do with her during the making of the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce. “Because it was Kate we did have a good time,” said the Australian actor. “We had a good laugh. They were nerve wracking to do but she made it fun.” What he liked about doing Mildred Pierce, added Pearce, was that it allowed time to tell the story in the way a novel can do, or as happens in real life. “The difference between doing a five or six hour mini series versus a movie is you can allow a moment to breathe as you do in real life,” he explained. “If you have an awkward two minutes you can spotlight that. In a film you have to cut out sometimes and there is something missing.” -- Alex Ben Block

Steve Levitan of Modern Family, outstanding writing for a comedy: "It's a little surreal. We're gonna have fun tonight. I just hope we have a good ending, and we're really just so grateful to everybody who's been saying the nicest things about our show," he said backstage. Go here for the complete story.

PHOTOS: Emmy Snubs and Shockers

The Amazing Race, outstanding reality competition series: It was lucky 13 for The Amazing Race as it won the Emmy for the 13th time. While the show had won at least one Emmy for seven years in a row through 2009, Amazing Race lost last year to Top Chef breaking its streak. For that reason it was clear the producers were happy to see the streak intact again. “It’s a shock to us that we won again,” said executive producer Bertram van Munster. “It’s very difficult to come back again.” Exec producer Elise Doganieri said they won again “because the Academy is so amazing at seeing hard work and talent and quality programming. We were shocked when we won and through somebody else was going to win.” -- Alex Ben Block

Don Roy King of Saturday Night Live, outstanding directing for a variety, music or comedy series: Winning "is a thrill," King told reporters backstage. "Working for a show that has the most remarkable people contributing…it's a remarkable comedy." He calls the show -- which was won 142 Emmys -- "the most remarkable machine I've ever watched in operation." King won for an episode featuring Justin Timberlake. The first time King met Timberlake, "I thought he was a natural," King says. "He is funny and sweet and cooperative and can move and can write and can certainly sing and do characters." King also mentioned that Alec Baldwin will host the season premiere. He "sure hopes" that the Fox kicking Baldwin off the Emmys for making a joke about News Corp. makes it on the show. "I'm the director and I make sure the shots get on the air, and the jokes get sold. Before that moment, those decisions are made by others. -- Lindsay Powers