Emmy winners' backstage reactions

Jim Parsons, Kyra Sedgwick reflect on first wins

Jon Hamm, Matthew Weiner, "Mad Men," Outstanding drama series

"Mad Men's" Matthew Weiner had one word about whether or not he'd like to set an end date for the series: "Yes." "I don't know what it is yet, but we'd do the show forever," he said.

Touching on the show's third win in a row, Jon Hamm credited the drama's mass appeal. "Our show is different from other shows but it's unique in that it addresses the truths about human condition, work, relationships and life -- things that are universal that exist for all of us throughout time," he said. "That's why our show resonates across generations."

Asked about the cast's rumored love of celebrating, 10-year-old co-star Kiernan Shipka confirmed it: "We party!" Responded Hamm: "Perfect."

Steve Levitan, "Modern Family," Outstanding comedy series

"Modern Family" co-creator Steve Levitan had nothing but praise for fellow nominees "30 Rock" and "Glee" backstage. "It doesn't give me tremendous joy to break their streak," he said, nothing that he's told his two daughters to "make Tina Fey your role model."

Clutching his pair of Emmys, Levitan credited "Glee" for breaking the mold and trying something different. "I respect that incredibly. It's a shame that we both had to come out the same year and that we're so often pitted against each other," said Levitan, who also earned his second writing nod Sunday. Beyond the competition, Levitan credited the comedy series win to the show's emotion. "The show has embraced emotion and emotion and comedy have sort of gone out of vogue," he said. "Maybe people were hungry for it. I think people wanted to laugh and to feel something."

Levitan stood alone in the press room and noted that Christopher Lloyd has an aversion to crowds and public speaking and was skipping the press room.

Bryan Cranston, Outstanding lead actor in a drama series, "Breaking Bad"

After winning outstanding lead actor in a drama series, Bryan Cranston threw a faux fit backstage when a reporter quizzed him about not being eligible for an Emmy next year. (The fourth season premiere date of his show, "Breaking Bad," was pushed back, missing the TV Academy's deadline.)
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"What! That is bullsh*t!" Cranston fumed jokingly. "I'm not eligible for next year?"

Switching gears, the third-time winner said, "I'm so grateful. It's like having a great meal to do the show, and then to be awarded an Emmy is a beautiful dessert. Last year was another dessert on top of that, and I feel gluttonous. It's more than I can take in. It really is. I feel like I'm going to become diabetic. It's actually a reprieve I can relax next year and let things go."

Jim Parsons
, Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series, "The Big Bang Theory"

Jim Parsons said classic TV nerds like "Mary Tyler Moore's" Ted Baxter and "Family Ties' " Alex P. Keaton helped him capture the nerd inside "The Big Bang Theory's" Sheldon Cooper. "The spirit of that is what I felt and still feel like is helping inform part of what I do," said the first-time winner. "The biggest thing of all is not thinking about that part and instead thinking about the genius art of it -- the beautiful mind aspect of [Sheldon]." Parsons added that he's glad to be representing the CBS comedy with his win. "I hope that everybody is happy that we brought some gold to the show but it would still be nice to be here together as one," he said. As for the show's move from Monday to Thursday, Parsons said he was excited to be moving to a big night for comedy. "Thursday night comedy is something I was weaned on as a child. Knock on wood, we have such a loyal fan base, they'll be happy to watch it where ever it is."

Eric Stonestreet
, Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series, "Modern Family"

Eric Stonestreet said there won't be any animosity on the "Modern Family" following his win over castmates Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ty Burrell. "We had all joked around before the show that if any one of us won it would be funny to punch the other in the stomach or be visibly upset and walk out of the auditorium," he said. "This win is a win for our show as it would have been if Ty Burrell or Jesse Tyler Ferguson or Julie Bowen or Sofia Vergara won. It won't be awkward at all." Addressing the fan campaign to have Stonestreet's Cameron smooch on-screen partner Mitchell (Ferguson), the first-time winner said writers Christopher Lloyd and Steve Levitan always had a plan in mind. "These characters are based on people they know, so it's not as though anything is being avoided," he said. "Now it looks like we've caved to this public pressure. ... We're going to deliver on what people are asking for in a really sweet, great way that's consistent with what our show is."

Kyra Sedgwick, Outstanding lead actress in a drama series, "The Closer"

"I love Susan Lucci, I think she's awesome," Kyra Sedgwick said when asked if going winless in her first four attempts worried her coming into her fifth nomination for TNT's "The Closer."

"There's so many amazing people who haven't won Emmys: Martin Sheen never won for 'The West Wing,' how crazy is that? I started to take solace in those sort of things."

The iconic detective also said her TV law influences growing up included "Cagney & Lacey." And, she added, "Angie Dickinson rocks pretty hard."

Asked if there's any rivalry for acting awards with husband Kevin Bacon, Sedgwick said their lack of competition for the same parts takes the rivalry issue off the table. "We always make the same joke before an awards show: 'I hope there's room ...' "

Edie Falco, Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series, "Nurse Jackie"

She won three Emmys for drama in "The Sopranos," but winning for comedy in "Nurse Jackie" left Edie Falco "dumbfounded."

She said that when she was nominated, "I laughed my head off because that was funny."

Falco noted that all of the other nominees in her category are what she considers real comedians, "women that are hysterically funny."

So is she more like Carmela from "Sopranos" or Jackie Peyton? "I kind of fall in the middle of the two," Falco said. "There are things similar to both. I do like the low-maintenance aspect of my present character -- in that way we are very similar. I am in and out of my makeup chair very quickly, and at home, I don't even have a makeup chair."

Archie Panjabi
, Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series, "The Good Wife"

Archie Panjabi is glad that ethnicity isn't central to her character, Kalinda, on "The Good Wife."

"I started in England, and most of the roles I got were relevant to my ethnicity," the first-time winner said. "We haven't mentioned her ethnicity yet. ... I think it's the way it should be for young people -- to watch television where the characters are from different backgrounds and ethnicity and it's not all about their backgrounds."

Kalinda's ethnicity isn't the only thing that remains unclear: The season finale also left her sexual orientation up for debate. "Normally I get to know my characters extremely well," she said. "Kalinda doesn't seem to open up to me, either. So I'm as taken back by her mystery as the audience is, and her sexuality is one thing I still haven't figured out. When she does confess to me, I will certainly reveal it."

Claire Danes, Outstanding actress, miniseries or movie, "Temple Grandin"

For Claire Danes, playing the lead in Temple Grandin, was more than just a role. "I don't think I've ever worked harder on a performance," said Danes.

"It was epic in its scope. And I don't think I've ever been as inspired by any character I played. I was deeply moved by Temple's courage and resourcefulness. She's really pioneered in autism, animal rights, and animal science. She's encouraged incredibly positive change in the world. That's wonderful. I don't expect to have another opportunity like this any time soon in the world."

Al Pacino, Outstanding actor, miniseries or movie, "You Don't Know Jack"

Al Pacino said he didn't meet Dr. Jack Kevorkian before portraying him, but got to understand him by watching film of interviews with him and his lawyer and others, and studying reams of other data. "He was an extraordinary man who was authentically interested in helping patients," said Pacino. "What struck me more than any other is that he turned away 98% of the people who came to him. He would say come back in a month if you still feel that way. Most didn't come back. Relatives would write and say they (the patient) felt better, more in control of their lives, just knowing you were there."

Pacino made it clear he did not want to discuss his own views on assisted suicide. However, he has found most people he comes in contact with are ambivalent on the subject but unwilling to speak to defend the practice.

"It's the kind of thing you hear but nobody is willing to come out and says it," said Pacino. " People sympathize but it is not vociferous."

Pacino seemed ambivalent himself about doing TV. "You're a little lost because you're in the middle of all these television people," said Pacino.

"You feel like you don't belong. But at the same time its exciting....But I still feel like a movie person in the middle of a TV movie. You couldn't make this movie anywhere but HBO."

George Clooney
, Bob Hope Humanitarian Award

George Clooney said winning the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award was very different than winning an acting award. "It's embarrassing. You don't want to be awarded for doing what you're supposed to be doing."

But it is a way to bring up issues and to use fame, which Clooney believes celebrities should do. "All we're trying to say is if there's going to be a tremendous amount of attention placed on us, it's too much. We can try and deflect some of it onto people who can really use it. That's all it is. If you can do it without harming people along the way, it's a good thing."

Clooney was humble, noting Bob Hope, for whom the award is named, did a lot more than just the U.S.O. shows he's famed for.

"I don't particularly do more than anybody else in the position I'm in," said Clooney. "I try to pick subjects that I can learn about and focus on and then do as much as I can."

He called using the spotlight to help a cause a "celebrity credit card" that you are "able to cash in in other places."

Clooney also said he was enjoying the telecast. "The show is really good tonight. Jimmy Fallon is just killing it. He's really funny." When asked by a reporter who accompanied him to Sunday's show, he joked, "My date today... she picked me up in Italy!" (His girlfriend, Elisabetta Canalis, followed him backstage.) Before putting on his tux, pal "John Krasinski came over with a bunch of guys and we played basketball." (In July, Krasinski wed actress Emily Blunt at Clooney's Lake Como villa.)

Tom Hanks, Outstanding miniseries, "The Pacific"

Celebrating a big night for "The Pacific," and his Playtone Prods., a boisterous Tom Hanks took the stage with a small army of producers, actors and others from the winning miniseries, shot his arm in the air and shouted, "F**kin' A!"

Then he apologized for his "F-bomb" and got back to talking how unique "The Pacific" was, and how he hopes that despite its expense, other big projects will follow.

"I would have wished there were more miniseries nominated," Hanks said. "There are themes and stories for which it's the perfect medium. I hope there will be more."

Hanks said his company doesn't have another big miniseries ready to go, saying it takes years to develop them. "Pacific" took eight.

What matters, he said, is that the Playtone folks are storytellers and that they be allowed to tell more important stories: "We're not engineers, we're artists. We're people who can keep you entertained for 10 hours. That's what we do."

John Lithgow, Guest actor in a drama series

Nobody has let John Lithgow forget how he accidentally thanked HBO instead of Showtime when he won guest actor award for "Dexter" at the Creative Arts Emmys last week. "I've been hearing about it all week," he said. "It's my Lithgow gaffe." But Showtime execs "roared with laughter, thank God," he added. "I haven't called HBO, but I'm going to their party tonight." Lithgow has no interest in having his character revived on the serial killer drama. "My character needed to die!" he joked. He'll next appear in 20th Century Fox's "Caesar: Rise of the Apes," which is out next June, he says, and he's "pouring a lot of my energies into my own solo show for January and February."

Dave Boone, Outstanding writing for a variety, music or comedy special

Dave Boone said winning the award for writing for a variety show, the 63rd Tony Awards, gave him the chance to do something he has long wanted to do: give a shout-out to Jay Leno. The "Tonight Show" host helped Boone launch his career by buying his jokes for five years before he got work writing on the Oscars and other shows. "Jay gave me my start," Boone said. "He gave me the right to write jokes when I had never written a monologue in my life."

Compiled by Alex Ben Block, Lesley Goldberg and Lindsay Powers