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Cranston’s win marks his fourth Emmy for his role as Breaking Bad‘s Walter White, having won the award three years in a row, in 2008, ’09 and ’10. This is also Breaking Bad‘s last Emmy appearance as the show ended its five-season run last fall.
Just minutes after nabbing the best actor Emmy, Cranston won another, for his role as a Breaking Bad producer, when the show won best drama series.
The AMC series went into this year’s Emmys with 16 nominations, and won six awards, including best drama series and best supporting actor and actress in a drama series for Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn, respectively.
Matthew McConaughey was the favorite going into Monday night’s show, with The Hollywood Reporter‘s awards analyst Scott Feinberg and chief TV critic Tim Goodman saying he would — and should — win the Emmy for his work as Rust Cohle on HBO’s True Detective. Had McConaughey won, he would have been the first male actor to win an Emmy and an Oscar in the same year since George C. Scott in 1971.
Joking about McConaughey’s favored status, Cranston began his acceptance speech by joking, “Even I thought about voting for Matthew.”
He then went on to talk about how after being a kid who “always looked for the shortcut,” he is grateful that he “stumble[d] upon finding a passion that created a seed and bloomed into something so wonderful for me.”
He vowed that he would keep pursuing his passion, acting, until his “last breath.”
Cranston then expressed his “gratitude” for everything that’s happened in his career and to those he felt were responsible for his Emmy, including the Academy, his family, AMC, Sony, creator Vince Gilligan, and the show’s writers, directors, cast and New Mexico crew.
He also singled out Paul and Gunn, saying of the former, “I love you so much. You were with me all the way and I so appreciate that and helping each other.”
As for his TV wife, played by Gunn, Cranston said, “I love you and especially those scenes in bed.”
With his win, Cranston also beat out fellow best actor in a drama series nominees Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards), last year’s winner Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom) and McConaughey’s True Detective co-star Woody Harrelson.
By losing, Hamm becomes the most-nominated actor in this category without a win. He’s been nominated for seven Emmys, including his nod this year, for his portrayal of Don Draper, but he’s lost every year.
Cranston previously told THR that while he was surprised by “pretty much everything” that happened on the often shocking show, he was particularly impressed with how Gilligan and his team “wrapped up the story in an exciting yet justifiable way.”
Click here to see the best and worst moments from Monday night’s ceremony.
A complete list of winners can be found here.
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