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Kevin Costner has already won two Oscars for Dances With Wolves (directing and best picture) 21 years ago, so how will a first Emmy win impact his career going forward? “Hollywood works off perception,” said Costner, “I know what success means to people who deal with perception…I’ve been writing a lot of things. I haven’t really worked in five years because I had three babies with my wife, that is I haven’t worked a fraction of my counterparts. I’ve been writing and looking to direct a feature, but also writing some television because that’s how these stories play out. I’m not certain my children know that I’m an actor. My three and five-year old think I’m in construction, because I spend most of my time around a house we’re constructing…I’m a writer-oriented actor and I think the perception (from Hatfields & McCoys) is going well for me… I’m in love with history and I plan to go heavy into more. I would like to direct more features; there’s this book series The Explorers Guild that I’ve worked on for five years. For me, most of the projects I work on are three or four years in the works.”

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Standing alongside Costner in the Emmy press tent was best supporting actor winner for a movie/miniseries, Tom Berenger, who commented about the moral of Hatfields & McCoys: “We’ve seen this kind of violence before in terms of clan warfare and blood vendetta in Northern Ireland, the Middle East, the Balkans — it’s all very similar. I don’t know if it ever ends. If you show it, people understand it a little more.”

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Steven Levitan appeared backstage for a second time, clutching two Emmys and this time accompanied by the huge cast and creative staff of Modern Family, including the kids. His happiness at Modern Family’s third win for best comedy series did not seem dampened by the fact that his onstage speech, the last one of the Emmy telecast, was cut off at the end. “I tend to be long winded so I think I got what I deserved,” he joked, adding: “I didn’t know.” Writer Danny Zuker joked that, from the beginning, the cast and the creative team “were so relieved to have a job. We forgot you could have a job and be really, really proud of it.” Sofia Vergara, resplendent in a glittering green dress, smiled sweetly and said: “To be able to have a show like this for me is a dream, so even though Julie [Bowen] keeps winning all my awards, I am still very happy and I will still keep coming.” She also weathered a few of the requisite jokes about her figure and gamely showed off her gown: “I like it because it’s sexy,” she purred.

Heading into Emmy season, Jessica Lange was considered a lock for a best supporting Emmy actress win in FX’s American Horror Story, especially after her recent SAG and Golden Globe trophies for playing the twisted southern belle Constance Langdon. Now the actress says that her recent Emmy trophy “has a sister at home in my study for the one I won for Grey Gardens.” Upon hearing her name called as a winner, the first thought that crossed her mind: “I realized I have such a long way to walk (to the podium).” Backstage, Lange discussed the vibe for season two of American Horror Story and her character Sister Jude, “It’s a more complex story. Ryan (Murphy) tries to create things around themes. Last year it was infidelity and this year it’s about faith and madness. The themes are bigger this year, which allows us to go further and my character goes from A to Z in this season.” As far as Murphy’s decision to take a 180 with the American Horror Story plot and characters, Lange explained “I was actually excited by the idea. To return and revisit the (old story in season one) was less interesting then starting a fresh one with a whole new time, place and circumstance. I’m actually enjoying it. It’s like doing a different film.” When asked if American Horror Story would have fared better at the Emmys if it competed as a drama series rather than in the longform category, Lange said, “I don’t know. That’s an area I wouldn’t be able to speak to.

Backstage, Game Change writer Danny Strong said he continues to delve into political material despite the risks of criticism “because these stories are extremely dramatic, the stakes are incredibly high, you have fantastic characters and really important moments in American history that are worthy of being dramatized.” He added that the best way to stave off criticism is to make the films as truthful and accurate as possible so that as a writer you know that any badmouthing is “partisan attacks, not people dealing with the reality of the film.”

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