(LOS ANGELES) — Walter White got one last sendoff at Monday night’s Emmy Awards, as Breaking Bad and its cast scooped up their final trophies. The show, which ended last September, won its second straight Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series, and stars Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn and Aaron Paul all took home Emmys in their respective categories.
Before the show, many had predicted that Matthew McConaughey and his role on True Detective would beat Cranston; so much so, in fact, that when Cranston took the stage, he said, “Even I thought about voting for Matthew!” But Breaking Bad — which won a total of six Emmys overall — was too beloved and revered to beat. “I love to act. It is a passion of mine, and I will do it ’til my last breath,” said Cranston. “I don’t know how I have been blessed with an abundance of good fortune in my life.”
While Breaking Bad, which also won several technical awards, was the big drama winner, the biggest winner overall was, surprisingly, Sherlock: His Last Vow. The TV movie, which aired on PBS, won a total of seven awards this year, counting Monday night’s haul and wins at the Creative Arts Emmys earlier this month. Monday’s wins included Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Sherlock Holmes in the movie, and also plays him in the series from which it was spun off. Martin Freeman, who plays Dr. Watson, was named Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie.
The wins for Sherlock were among the few surprises in a night that basically featured favorites repeating in the top categories, including Ty Burrell for Modern Family, Jim Parsons for The Big Bang Theory, Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep, and Allison Janney, who took her home her second Emmy of the year for Mom, after scoring one at the earlier Creative Arts Emmys for Outstanding Guest Actress. Jessica Lange repeated for the latest iteration of American Horror Story, American Horror Story: Coven, while The Amazing Race won its 10th Emmy for Outstanding Reality Competition and The Colbert Report won its second for Outstanding Variety Series. Julianna Margulies won yet again for The Good Wife.
One repeat, though, made history: Modern Family scored its fifth Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, tying it with Frasier for most consecutive wins in the comedy category. “For the past five years, it’s been a beautiful dream, and we thank you for not waking us up,” said creator Steve Levitan.
Conversely, Jon Hamm once again failed to win the Outstanding Actor in a Drama trophy for Mad Men, for the seventh straight year. He’s now the most-nominated actor ever in that category without a win.
As expected, The Normal Heart was named Outstanding TV Movie. Noting its long journey from the stage to TV, executive producer Ryan Murphy said of stars Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo, “After 30 years, it took Erin Brockovich and The Incredible Hulk to finally get this thing made.” Also as expected, Fargo was named Outstanding Miniseries. But despite major buzz, Orange Is the New Black failed to win any major awards.
Billy Crystal gave a heartfelt yet funny tribute to his pal, the late Robin Williams, during the In Memoriam segment.
Emmys host Seth Meyers got off a number of great jokes in his opening monologue, and then managed to keep viewers laughing by pulling out his Rolodex and tapping all his comedy pals — from Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon, to Amy Poehler, Ricky Gervais, Andy Samberg and even “Weird Al” Yankovic — to contribute to various interludes and skits throughout the show. Here were some of the best bits:
–In his monologue, Meyers noted that the Emmys were taking place on a Monday because the MTV Video Music Awards were scheduled for Sunday. “That’s right, MTV still has an award show for music videos, even though they no longer show music videos. That’s like network TV holding an awards show and giving all the trophies to cable and Netflix.”
–On that same topic, he added, “And no one is happier to see streaming services take nominations away from cable than network television. Not very nice when someone younger comes along is it, cable? Cable is looking at Netflix the way Justin Bieber looks at One Direction…through a cloud of marijuana smoke.”
–Commenting on the huge paydays that The Big Bang Theory cast just locked down, Meyers cracked, “Shows like Game of Thrones, The Good Wife and Fargo have the right idea. When your show starts getting critical acclaim and attention, kill off all the main characters, otherwise before you know it, you’re paying Sheldon a million dollars an episode.”
–Jimmy Kimmel ragged on Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey for trying to take over TV, arguing that he belongs in the movies. Kimmel said that McConaughey didn’t even own a TV, adding, “I happen to know for a fact that he traded his television for a conch shell full of weed.” Kimmel also gave a shout-out to the still-recovering Tracy Morgan, saying, “We’ll see you next year.”
–“Weird Al” Yankovic made up lyrics to instrumental theme songs for Mad Men, Scandal, Game of Thrones, Homeland and Modern Family
–Meyers teamed up with Billy Eichner of Billy on the Street fame to play Eichner’s popular game “For a Dollar” with random passersby, who all proved that they had no knowledge of this year’s Emmy Awards, nor did they care. One couldn’t even identify the Emmy statuette when it was placed in front of her.
–Ricky Gervais took the stage to pretend to be ticked off that he’d lost to Jim Parsons. “21 times I’ve been nominated, 19 times I’ve lost,” he whined. “It’s like a cruel joke. It seems unfair, doesn’t it?”
–Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston presented together, and Louis-Dreyfus gushed that Cranston really reminded her of this character on her old show Seinfeld: a dentist she dated who converted to Judaism. Cranston, in fact, played that character, but Louis-Dreyfus pretended that he was deluded, even when he reminded her that they’d even shared a kissing scene. Later, when she won her Emmy for Veep, they kissed passionately on her way to the stage, and the first words out of her mouth were, “Yeah, he was on Seinfeld.”
–Maroon 5 frontman and Voice coach Adam Levine isn’t a comedian, but plenty of viewers got a laugh out of the way he subtly gave a fist pump at the podium, during a mention of the legalization of marijuana in his home state of California.
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