(LOS ANGELES) — Returning favorites and new faces mingled at the 64th Annual Emmy Awards, which were handed out during a Sunday night telecast on ABC hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
On the new side, the freshman series Homeland emerged as a big winner, scoring the win for Best Drama — the first-ever best series Emmy win for Showtime, in any category. It also deprived Mad Men of a record-breaking fifth Emmy in that category.
In addition, Homeland’s stars, Damian Lewis and Claire Danes, were named best lead actor and actress in a drama series, respectively, and it also picked up an Emmy for dramatic writing.
At the podium, Lewis cracked, “I don’t really believe in judging acting, but I thought I’d show up just in case!”
A pregnant Claire Danes thanked her husband, actor Hugh Dancy, calling him “my love, my life, my baby daddy,” and adding, “This doesn’t mean anything without you.”
On the comedy side, it was mostly about Modern Family, which picked up its third Emmy for Best Comedy. Cast member Eric Stonestreet won his second Emmy for best supporting actor in a comedy, while another Modern Family star, Julie Bowen, won her second in a row for best supporting actress. The show also won for Best Directing, Comedy.
Onstage, Stonestreet, who’s straight, said, “I never knew I’d be on TV as a gay man, but I love the pictures of hairy chests you guys are sending me, it’s really amazing. Thank you for those.”
Bowen, meanwhile, joked that her role on the show consisted mostly of “me falling down and making faces while wearing lipstick and nipple covers.” She repeated “nipple covers” several times during her speech.
A surprise winner in the comedy category was Jon Cryer, who won his first-ever Emmy as a lead actor for Two and a Half Men. He was shocked, stating at the podium, “I’m stunned! I did not win this. This did not happen.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was named best actress in a comedy for her new HBO show Veep, but when she started her speech, she said, oddly, “First of all, I’d like to thank NBC, Parks and Rec, my beautiful boys Archie and Abel…” That was, of course, Amy Poehler’s acceptance speech, had she won — Dreyfus pretended to read it in error. Poehler ran onstage and gave her the “right” speech.
In the drama category, Aaron Paul won his second best supporting actor in a drama Emmy for Breaking Bad, and thanked the show’s writers for not killing him off. The award for best supporting actress went to Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey, who won last year, but that was when the show was in the Miniseries/Movie category.
Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron won his first-ever primetime Emmy for best reality show host, but at the podium, he noted that it was probably because Survivor’s Jeff Probst, who’s won the award four times in a row, wasn’t nominated this year.
He joked that he was glad that he’d beat Betty White in the category — the veteran actress was nominated for her show Off Their Rockers — saying, “It’s particularly satisfying since she always kicks my ass in our mixed martial arts class.” The Amazing Race won yet again for best reality series.
Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show won its 10th straight Emmy for best variety, comedy or music series.
At the podium, Stewart held up his Emmy and said, “Years from now, when the earth is just a burning husk and aliens visit, they will find a box of these and they will know just how predictable these bleeping [awards shows] are!”
Kimmel later joked that he saw Stewart backstage, “throwing away his Emmy.”
In the Miniseries/Movie category, winners included Game Change for best miniseries or movie, and its star Julianne Moore for best lead actress; Kevin Costner and Tom Berenger, respectively for best lead actor and best supporting actor for Hatfields & McCoys; and Jessica Lange for best supporting actress for American Horror Story.
When Moore, who portrayed Sarah Palin in Game Change, came to the podium, she said, “I feel so validated, because Sarah Palin gave me a big thumbs down!”
Despite Kimmel’s best efforts, the Emmy telecast wasn’t very exciting or interesting — it felt quite flat. There were a few amusing moments, though, including:
— An opening segment in which an overly-Botoxed Kimmel was found sobbing in a ladies’ room stall, saying he couldn’t host the show because his face looked terrible. A host of top comic actresses, including Zooey Deschanel, Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, Melissa McCarthy and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, offered to “punch his face back in” for him, which they did. As a now normal-looking Kimmel headed out onstage, they pointed out he wasn’t wearing any pants, so Ellen DeGeneres handed hers over.
— A bit where Kimmel pulled 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan out of the audience, instructed him to lie down on stage, and then told everyone watching to go to Twitter and Facebook and post, “OMG! Tracy Morgan just passed out on the Emmys! Turn on ABC now!” For a while, it was a trending topic. Morgan actually laid there onstage for quite a while before being carried off by his arms and legs.
— An “In Memoriam” bit where Kimmel paid tribute to himself. As a montage of clips from his show was shown, Josh Groban was on hand to play piano and sing a dramatic version of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.”
— Kimmel’s opening montage, where he said Downton Abbey gave viewers “a sense of what it was like to grow up in Mitt Romney’s house,” and said that he doesn’t want President Obama to watch Homeland — the commander-in-chief’s favorite show — “for the same reason I don’t want Charlie Sheen to watch Breaking Bad.”
And one amusing moment was actually a mistake: Seth McFarlane came onstage to present the Best Reality Show Host category and started delivering his lines at a place on the stage where there was no microphone. Realizing his error, he said, “Oh, the mic’s over there,” and walked over to it. Then, he cracked, in the voice of his Family Guy character Stewie, “This is what happens when you don’t come to rehearsal!”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Brian Stelter, CNN
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com
Jackie Wattles, CNN