Primetime Emmys 2013: Political Series Win In A Landslide

Though D.C. rarely returns the favor, Hollywood continued to fawn over Washington at the Emmys. Neither Netflix’s political thriller House Of Cards nor Showtime’s domestic terrorism drama Homeland took home The Big One — best drama series — but plenty of trophies were handed out to Washington-centric shows.

Related: Nikki Finke Live-Snarks 65th Emmys

HBO’s Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus gave the night’s best acceptance speech, when she repeated her win for best comedy actress with her made-for-TV assistant Tony Hale standing behind her, holding her evening bag, and tactfully cueing her when she forgot to thank her family. Hale had, moments earlier, been named best supporting actor in a comedy. In what was maybe the night’s biggest surprise, Jeff Daniels won the Emmy for best lead actor in a drama series for his starring role in HBO’s political/media fantasy The Newsroom — his first win, he said, since winning a Golden Barcalounger from the AARP as Best Actor over 50 for The Squid And The Whale. Backstage, Daniels insisted he’d tweeted correctly when he said The Newsroom has been renewed for a third season, but they’re still trying to work out the schedule.

House Of Cards — the first online show to be nominated in Emmy glam categories — took home one statuette, for best drama director.  Sadly, David Fincher was not there to pick up his trophy. House Of Cards had won two Emmys the previous Sunday during the Creative Arts portion of the two-night Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, for best drama-series casting and best single-cam cinematography.

Related: Creative Arts Emmy Awards Winners

Homeland‘s win for best drama writing produced one of the night’s most poignant moments. The widow of Henry Bromell picked up his Emmy for writing the “Q&A” episode of the series — an episode that also landed star Claire Danes her second consecutive Emmy for best drama actress. “I accept this award on behalf of Henry with deep appreciation to the Academy. Thank you so much,” Sarah Bromell said; her husband died suddenly in March at age 66 of a heart attack.

Ellen Burstyn, meanwhile, was named best supporting actress in a miniseries or movie for her work on USA’s Political Animals — which some politicos have insisted is actually the first miniseries about Hillary Clinton. Burstyn said she was happy her performance was long enough to qualify for consideration — a reference to back in 2002 when she was controversially Emmy nommed for her 14-second, 38-word performance in the TV movie Mrs. Harris.

In another of the night’s surprises, Comedy Central’s faux political commentary series The Colbert Report ended Comedy Central’s faux newscast The Daily Show’s decade-long domination of the variety series derby. “I personally have to thank my friend and my brother, Jon Stewart, who said ‘We should do a show together where you’re a professional idiot,’ ” Colbert gushed as he picked up his trophy.

And, as happens every year at Emmy time, it was The Colbert Report’s turn to win for best variety series writing — a derby it trades off with The Daily Show.

Last week, HBO’s Manhunt: The Inside Story Of The Hunt For Bin Laden was named best documentary.

  1. Nikki, I know snark is the name of the game and you play it better than anyone, but Henry Bromell’s amazing script, Q&A, deserved the award it got and should have won whether Henry was here to pick it up or not. He was one of the best writers line for line we have ever had, and one of the most sensitive observers of human behavior. That episode was Henry at the top of his game. The award was absolutely right and just.

  2. Newsroom and Homeland. Awful shows. Politicized so the Emmy voters shower them with awards. Boardwalk, Thrones, Mad Men, Breaking Bad. Far better shows. But apparently lacking political liberal propaganda. Though Game of Thrones did have a dead George W Bush head once so that might count.

    And VEEP is about politics, but it is hardly political. The show is about as politically involved as Curb Your Enthusiasm. It’s mostly about parodying both sides of the aisle of laughing at the stupidity of national politics. Deserving of praise and awards in my opinion.

    1. And Breaking Bad won Best Series. Newsroom was not even nominated. Boardwalk Empire won Supporting Actor. Breaking Bad won Supporting Actress. Mad Men has won more Best Series Emmys than Homeland (1) or Newsroom (0). Thrones had tons more nominations than Newsroom. So your point is moot, not to mention blatantly incorrect.

  3. Henry Bromell was a great writer. I’m in the writing branch, I’m from a different generation than Bromell and I’m a Breaking Bad fanatic but that script Q&A read like a dream and acted even better. Writers are a tough crowd who don’t do anything out of the kindness of their hearts. This guy wrote a brilliant script and that’s why he won. I just wish I’d had the chance to meet him.

  4. I don’t think it’s the political aspect that is the trend right now the way they do with medical or legal dramas or cop shows, I just think it’s a coincidence that a few of the good shows right now have politics as their backdrop.

  5. David Fincher wasn’t there to accept his Emmy because it was a shoot day on his new film ‘Gone Girl’ they’re in Missouri.

  6. I find it very unfair that a performer can win an emmy for a guest star role that is really a supporting role in a series. Dan Bucatinsky wins for a guest star role in Scandal doing 16 episodes? Really? Seems like the actor who was a one time guest star (no matter how amazing) in a show has no real chance for a nom. C’mon Emmys…change those rules. Otherwise it looks like a set up.

Comments are closed.