UPDATED: ABC’s freshman Modern Family was the big series winner at the 62nd Emmy Awards, scoring 3 awards for a total of 6 Emmys, including best comedy series, while AMC’s Mad Men was once again named top drama. In the top comedy category, Modern Family overtook three-time winner 30 Rock, which, in one of the biggest surprises on a night full of surprises, was completely shut out this year. Modern Family and fellow freshman Glee, which earned a total of 4 Emmys, including 2 tonight, brought the breath of fresh air many were predicting. It was a big night for first-time winners overall, with awards for Modern Family, its co-star Eric Stonestreet, Glee‘s Jane Lynch, The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons, The Closer‘s Kyra Sedgwick, The Good Wife‘s Archie Panjabi and Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul, as well as Ryan Murphy and Steve Shill for directing Glee and Dexter, respectively.
Things were mostly status quo on the drama side, with AMC’s Mad Men extending its winning streaks in the best series and best writing categories to three each and Bryan Cranston three-peating as best lead actor on a drama series for another AMC drama, Breaking Bad. Meanwhile, there was no farewell love for ABC’s Lost, which was completely snubbed tonight and ended up with one Emmy out of 12 noms, winning for best sound editing for the finale at the Creative Arts Awards.
Overall, HBO’s The Pacific and Temple Grandin scored the most awards with 8 and 7 statuettes, respectively, including wins at the Creative Arts Emmys. Temple Grandin dominated the long-form field tonight with 5 wins tonight, including best made-for-TV movie, directing as well as acting in all 3 categories it was nominated. As expected, The Pacific nabbed the best mini-series award. And underlining an ongoing trend, all 4 acting awards in the long-form categories went to portrayals of real people: Claire Danes as Temple Grandin, Julia Ormond as her mother and David Strathairn as her teacher in Temple Grandin and Al Pacino for playing Dr. Jack Kevorkian in the HBO movie You Don’t Know Jack.”
With help from long-form, HBO led the network pack with a total of 25 Emmys, followed by ABC (18), Fox (11) and CBS (10), NBC (8), PBS (7), tied with Showtime, which posted a new record of Emmy wins and more than doubled HBO’s series Emmy haul. With the 30 Rock shut out, NBC, which carried the awards this year, became the only broadcast network not to win a series Emmy tonight. (It got an Emmy for directing the Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony.)
Modern Family and Glee, both from 20th Century Fox TV, got off to a great start. They absolutely dominated the first 40 minutes of the Emmy telecast – from the Glee-themed opening number, which featured 4 of the show’s cast members, through the first 4 categories, which were swept by the two freshmen: supporting actor in a comedy series (Modern Family‘s Stonestreet, who delivered one of the most heartfelt acceptance speeches of the night), best writing for a comedy series (Modern Family creators Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd for the show’s pilot), best directing for a comedy series, Ryan Murphy for helming the Glee pilot) and supporting actress in a comedy series (Glee‘s Lynch). That was followed by the announcement of the two comedy guest actor awards presented at the Creative Emmy Awards last week, one of which went to Neil Patrick Harris for Glee (the other one was won by Betty White for hosting SNL). The Modern Family-Glee streak wrapped with a pre-taped segment featuring the cast of Modern Family with cameos by Family Guy‘s Stewie and George Clooney.
None of the 4 wins for Glee and Modern Family were that surprising: Stonestreet has been the breakout co-star of Modern Family, though it was sad to see Harris snubbed again for his work on How I Met Your Mother (I guess the guest-starring Emmy ought to make up for that). Lynch had been the frontrunner in the supporting actress in a comedy series category, and the pilots for Glee and Modern Family splitting the writing and directing categories was also kinda expected (though Modern Family won at both WGA and DGA Awards, sharing an WGA award with 30 Rock)
Also not surprisingly, Glee and Modern Family‘s early steamrolling run came to an end in the lead comedy acting categories. Both shows are ensemble series with no strongly defined leads. In fact, the Modern Family actors all submitted themselves as supporting. After his surprise loss to Alec Baldwin last year, Big Bang’s Parsons landed his first Emmy. And Edie Falco became the first actress ever to win Emmys in both comedy and drama, following up her three Emmys for HBO’s The Sopranos with an award for Showtime’s Nurse Jackie.
The first big surprise of the night came in the best reality competition program category where Bravo’s Top Chef broke the seven-year winning streak of CBS’ The Amazing Race. That left The Daily Show as the sole record holder after the Comedy Central show won the variety music or comedy series category for an eighth consecutive time. The Daily Show‘s win also meant that The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien was shut out in all three categories it was nominated, including best VMC series. And it also meant that fellow best VMC series contender, HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, once again failed to convert any of its nominations, extending its losing streak to 12 noms and 0 wins.
Mad Men creator Matt Weiner and Bryan Cranston, star of another AMC drama, Breaking Bad, also kept their streaks alive: In addition to a third best drama series Emmy, Weiner earned a third consecutive win in the best writing for a drama series field for co-writing the third season finale with Erin Levy. Cranston also made it a three-pete, winning a third consecutive lead drama actor Emmy for his role on the dark AMC drama. To win, Cranston prevailed over the other big contender in the category, Dexter’s Michael C. Hall, who was coming in with victories at the Golden Globes and the SAG. And this time, Cranston was joined by his co-star Paul, who was a somewhat unexpected supporting actor winner.
As expected, CBS’ freshman drama The Good Wife won a female acting award. But surprisingly, the award didn’t come in the lead category for star Julianna Margulies, the clear frontrunner in the category following her wins at the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards. It came in the supporting category for Panjabi, who won over her co-star Christine Baranski as well as Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks and Elisabeth Moss in the category.
Margulies was upset by Sedgwick, who finally landed an Emmy in her fifth consecutive Emmy nomination for TNT’s The Closer. Fellow fifth-time lead actor nominees, Steve Carell from The Office and Hugh Laurie from House, weren’t as lucky, still looking to capture their first Emmy.