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It was once again Modern Family’s night.
The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards started out with a near sweep for the ABC comedy. Onscreen husband and wife Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen won the statues for supporting actor and actress in a comedy followed by Emmys for Michael Alan Spiller for directing and Jeffrey Richman and Steve Levitan for writing.
Upon returning from a commercial break, show host Jane Lynch quipped: “Welcome back to the Modern Family Awards.”
And the comedy capped the night with its second consecutive Emmy for outstanding comedy series.
During his acceptance speech, Levitan expressed gratitude and added that “there were a lot of years where people on this stage had failed pilots.”
He also acknowledged the show’s modern themes, including gay marriage, saying that fans approach him to say: “You’re not just making people laugh; you’re making them more tolerant.”
Mad Men once again won the Emmy for outstanding drama series, its fourth award in as many years. Series creator Matthew Weiner admitted that he “didn’t think this was going to happen.” But the show was shut out of the acting categories.
Julianna Margulies took home the Emmy for lead actress in a drama series for CBS’ The Good Wife.
And the long-neglected Friday Night Lights, which finished its run on NBC and DirecTV last season, finally got the attention of the television academy, with Kyle Chandler winning the Emmy for lead actor in a drama and executive producer Jason Katims nabbing the Emmy for writing.
Taking the stage to hearty applause from his fellow nominees, including Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, Chandler said: “I knew for a fact that I would not be standing here. So I didn’t write anything, and now I’m starting to worry.”
Chandler thanked “the people of Austin, Texas, who welcomed us into their homes, filled those stadiums and brought the show to life while we were there.”
Charlie Sheen took the stage to hand out the award for lead actor in a comedy: “my old category,” he noted.
He didn’t mention his former Two and a Half Men colleagues by name, but he did say: “From the bottom of my heart, I wish you nothing but the best.”
Then he announced the Emmy winner: Jim Parsons, of The Big Bang Theory. It is Parsons’ second consecutive Emmy for lead actor in a comedy.
Melissa McCarthy was literally crowned — with a diamond tiara and a bouquet of red roses — outstanding lead actress in a comedy for her role on Chuck Lorre’s Warner Bros. TV comedy Mike and Molly. She took the stage with the other nominees, including Nurse Jackie’s Edie Falco, 30 Rock’s Tina Fey, The Big C’s Laura Linney, Raising Hope’s Martha Plimpton and Parks and Recreation’s Amy Poehler.
A tearful and clearly surprised McCarthy said that Lorre “fought for me” and called Warner Bros. TV head Peter Roth a “cheerleader in a suit.”
The reality and variety series categories were rather anti-climactic. The Amazing Race won the reality competition award. It was the CBS’ series eighth Emmy in the category, though last year, Bravo’s Top Chef snapped Race’s streak.
One streak that remains intact: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. The Comedy Central show took home its eighth consecutive Emmy for comedy variety series. The Daily Show also won for writing.
But there were some surprises. Margo Martindale kicked off the drama category winning the Emmy for supporting actress in FX’s Justified. An emotional Martindale, 60, said: “Sometimes things just take time, but with time comes appreciation.”
Peter Dinklage was a surprise winner for supporting actor in a drama series for HBO’s Game of Thrones. Dinklage thanked HBO: “You let artists create, and that’s rare, unfortunately.” He also thanked his dog sitter and fellow nominees — Mad Men’s John Slattery, Justified’s Walton Goggins, The Good Wife’s Josh Charles and Alan Cumming and Men of a Certain Age’s Andre Braugher.
“Any of you guys could be up here,” he said.
Barry Pepper, who played Robert Kennedy in the controversial miniseries The Kennedys — which was dropped by History and aired on ReelzChannel — was awarded the Emmy for supporting actor in a miniseries or movie. Pepper was not at the ceremony.
PBS’ Downton Abbey took home the Emmys in the newly combined movie and miniseries category. Maggie Smith won the award for supporting actress, while Brian Percival took home the Emmy for directing, and Julian Fellowes won for writing. In his acceptance speech, Fellows noted that his wife had advised him: “We should just relax and enjoy the evening because I don’t think we’re going to win.”
But HBO’s Mildred Pierce would not be shut out of the movie/mini category: Kate Winslet earned the outstanding actress Emmy, and her co-star Guy Pearce received the supporting actor statue. A gleeful Pearce said that he “got to have sex with Kate Winslet many many times, but I didn’t realize it was going to result in this.”
HBO’s Boardwalk Empire entered the awards as an Emmy favorite. But the HBO drama only managed Emmys for Martin Scorsese for directing and Kelly Macdonald for lead actress. Steve Buscemi, who won the Golden Globe for the series, was beaten by FNL‘s Chandler.
Another conspicuous snub was Fox’s Glee, which also picked up a raft of Globes last January but was snubbed at the Emmys.
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