“The Emmy win was more like a high school popularity contest. This is from the critics!,” said Julie Bowen, the Critics’ Choice Television Awards’ newly named Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series winner — who also happens to be the reigning Emmy winner in the same category. But she seemed to be placing more importance on this award than even the Emmy when we talked right after Monday night’s ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. When I repeated her opinion to her Modern Family co-star and fellow Critics Choice winner — and reigning Emmy winner for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy — Ty Burrell, he agreed, saying the recognition from the critics has enormous meaning for him.

Related: Critics’ Choice TV Awards: ‘Homeland’, ‘Community’ & ‘Sherlock’ Double Winners

Of course it doesn’t hurt that these awards, now in their second year, are strategically positioned to happen right smack dab in the middle of Emmy voting, so tonight’s impressive turnout of nominees, winners and presenters was not suprising. Exposure at this crucial time in the process is everything, and unlike movie awards season there aren’t nearly as many opportunities for a photo op or acceptance speech as the Broadcast Critics Association offers with their nascent TV awards. If attention is as much the prize itself then these awards could not have been better for the Emmy chances of third-season critical favorite Communitywhich was the big surprise winner over favored Modern Family for Best Comedy Series, and Showtime’s first-season drama Homelandwhich won Best Actress in a Drama for Claire Danes and Best Drama Series over favored vets like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. The latter did win Actor in a Drama for three-time Emmy winner Bryan Cranston and Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for Giancarlo Esposito, while Mad Men’s sole win was for repeat victor Christina Hendricks in Supporting Drama Actress. Does this relative shocking showing for two new, not widely viewed shows outside of critical circles mean a potential earthquake at the Emmys, where Mad Men has won the Best Drama Series award for all four of its seasons and Modern Family has done the same in the comedy category for its first two years on ABC? (more…)