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It was not an evening for newcomers. After months of excessive buzz for young series such as HBO’s True Detective and Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, both went largely ignored during the 2014 Emmys.
The night belonged to outgoing incumbent Breaking Bad. The late AMC series took all but one key category in which was nominated during its last year of eligibility — despite the fact that it’s been almost a year since the last episode aired. On top of the outstanding drama win, its second, lead Bryan Cranston won his fourth and final Emmy for playing Walter White. Last year’s supporting winners, Anna Gunn and Aaron Paul, repeated their victories — and writer Moira Walley-Beckett nabbed the writing nod for a drama.
That’s not to say True Detective was ignored. Though many no doubt had money on Matthew McConaughey scoring a best actor win, it was director Cary Fukunaga that broke through. His work garnered much of the acclaim for the series, though he’ll be joining the cast in not returning for the second outing of the anthology.
No stranger to the night, though she wasn’t nominated last year, Julianna Margulies scored another lead actress in a drama win for her work on The Good Wife. The CBS show was considered one of the bigger snubs when it failed to get a mention in the best drama category after what many critics considered its best season yet.
Emmy voters’ fondness for old favorites extended to the comedy races as well. There was a lot of curiosity about whether Modern Family could extend its winning streak into a fifth year — and those questions were put to rest. The ABC and 20th Century Fox TV comedy notched another win in the category as it continues to resonate with the TV Academy. Not only did it beat stiff competition from Orange Is the New Black, Veep and several others, Ty Burrell also took the supporting actor nod — notable after 2013’s first-time Modern Family actor race shutout — and Gail Mancuso notched another significant win for the show with her victory in the comedy director race.
The rest of the comedy kudos were split between series. Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her third leading actress trophy for Veep, and Jim Parsons also repeated for The Big Bang Theory. Mom supporting actress winner Allison Janney may be new blood in the category (and the genre), but she’s certainly no stranger to the Emmys. The (now) six-time winner and former West Wing star just took home the guest actress in a drama award at last week’s Creative Arts ceremony for her work on Showtime’s Masters of Sex.
On the mini/movies front, American Horror Story recovered nicely from last year’s shutout for Asylum. Again one of the most nominated works this year, the FX anthology’s Coven installment scored a lead actress win for Jessica Lange — something of a surprise. It’s her second Emmy for her work on the show, having also won the supporting trophy for its first season. AHS scored a repeat in that category with a victory for new addition Kathy Bates. She topped Julia Roberts (The Normal Heart) and Allison Tolman, who had no lack of buzz from genre newcomer (and favorite) Fargo. And Fargo did score the big win for miniseries, besting its FX neighbor.
The miniseries retread of the Coen brothers original screenplay Oscar winner got on the board early in the evening when Colin Bucksey nabbed the win for director. The only big surprise? Sherlock managed to score several key wins in the genre — including lead Benedict Cumberbatch beating out Fargo‘s Billy Bob Thornton.
As for telepics, HBO’s The Normal Heart earned an expected win for best movie. It was, however, bested by Sherlock in the writing race. That honor went to Steven Moffat.
Aug. 25, 9:20 p.m. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of Emmys Cranston won for playing Walter White. THR regrets the error.
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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