News Column

'Breaking Bad' and 'Modern Family' Roll

September 23, 2013


History was not made Sunday night at the Emmy Awards.

The first online program to compete for best drama didn't win and "Mad Men" didn't set a record with a fifth win in the category. Nor was best actress in a drama awarded to an African-American.

Instead top honors went to "Breaking Bad" (drama), "Modern Family" (comedy) and "Behind the Candelabra" (miniseries or movie)

"Breaking Bad," AMC's tale of Walter White's descent into depravity, earned its Emmy a week before the series finale.

"I did not see this coming," said "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan, tipping his hat to competitor "House of Cards," the first online contender for top Emmy honors.

ABC's madcap "Modern Family" won its fourth Emmy Award in a row as best comedy series despite none of its stars winning acting awards Sunday night.

"Behind the Candelabra" won three Emmys Sunday night, including best actor in a movie or miniseries for Michael Douglas. The HBO movie about Liberace had earned eight awards the previous week at the Creative Arts ceremony.

Jeff Daniels won for best drama series actor for his portrayal of an idealistic TV anchorman in "The Newsroom," with Claire Danes capturing top actress honors for her troubled CIA agent in "Homeland."

Daniels noted that he'd also received an age 50-plus acting honor from AARP, which represents the interests of older Americans.

"With all due respect to the AARP, this is even better," he said.

Danes, who captured her second trophy for the terrorism drama, paid tribute to one of the series' writers, Henry Brommell, who died in March and who received a writing Emmy posthumously Sunday.

Danes' win ended the hope that "Scandal" best actress nominee Kerry Washington would become the first African-American to win in the category since Cicely Tyson in 1995 for "Sweet Justice."

The ceremony often struck a melancholy note with extended tributes to stars and other industry members who died in the past year. It also included upsets, defying the conventional wisdom in several categories, including acting categories.

"This just in. Nobody in America is winning their Emmy office pool. Surprises galore," host Neil Patrick Harris.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus claimed her second consecutive best comedy actress award for her role as an ambitious political second banana in "Veep," and Jim Parsons again claimed the top comedy acting trophy for "The Big Bang Theory."

"This is so much good fortune it's almost too much to bear," Louis-Dreyfus said. "I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to make people laugh. It's a joyful way to make a living."

Parsons added to the awards he won in 2011 and 2010 for the role of a science nerd. "My heart, oh my heart. I want you to know I'm very aware of how exceedingly fortunate I am," he said.

Merritt Wever of "Nurse Jackie" won the night's first award, for best supporting actress in a comedy series, kicking off the ceremony on a surprising note and with a remarkably brief acceptance speech.

"Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Um, I got to go, bye," Wever told the audience after besting a field that included two- time winner Julie Bowen of "Modern Family."

"Merritt Wever, best speech ever," Harris said.

Backstage, she offered an explanation: "I'm sorry I didn't thank anyone. I was going to cry."

Tony Hale of "Veep" claimed the trophy for best supporting actor in a comedy, a category that has been the property recently of the men of "Modern Family."

"Oh, man. ... This is mind-blowing, mind-blowing," Hale said.

Laura Linney was named best actress in a miniseries or movie for "The Big C: Hereafter." "The Voice" won best reality-competition program, "The Colbert Report" was crowned best variety show and Tina Fey won for writing "30 Rock."

The Associated Press and Staff Writer Marc Schwarz contributed to this report.


Winners at Sunday's 65th annual Primetime Emmy Awards presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences:

Drama series: "Breaking Bad," AMC.

Comedy series: "Modern Family," ABC.

Miniseries/movie: "Behind the Candelabra," HBO.

Variety series: "The Colbert Report," Comedy Central.

Actor, drama series: Jeff Daniels, "The Newsroom," HBO.

Actress, drama series: Claire Danes, "Homeland," Showtime.

Supporting actor, drama series: Bobby Cannavale, "Boardwalk Empire," HBO.

Supporting actress, drama series: Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad," AMC.

Actor, comedy series: Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory," CBS.

Actress, comedy series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep," HBO.

Supporting actor, comedy series: Tony Hale, "Veep," HBO.

Supporting actress, comedy series: Merritt Weaver, "Nurse Jackie," Showtime.

Actor, miniseries/movie: Michael Douglas, "Behind the Candelabra," HBO.

Actress, miniseries/movie: Laura Linney, "The Big C: Hereafter," Showtime.

Supporting actor, miniseries/movie: James Cromwell, "American Horror Story: Asylum," Fx.

Supporting actress, miniseries/movie: Ellen Burstyn, "Political Animals," USA.

Directing, drama series: David Fincher, "House of Cards," Netflix.

Directing, comedy series: Gail Mancuso, "Modern Family," ABC.

Directing, miniseries/movie/dramatic special: Steven Soderbergh, "Behind the Candelabra," HBO.

Directing, variety series: Don Roy King, "Saturday Night Live," NBC.

Writing, drama series: Henry Bromell, "Homeland," Showtime.

Writing, comedy series: Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, "30 Rock," NBC.

Writing, miniseries/movie/dramatic special: Abi Morgan, "The Hour," BBC America.

Writing, variety series: Opus Moreschi, Stephen Colbert, Tom Purcell, Rich Dahm, Barry Julien, Michael Brumm, Rob Dubbin, Jay Katsir, Frank Lesser, Glenn Eichler, Meredith Scardino, Max Werner, Eric Drysdale, Dan Guterman, Paul Dinello, Nate Charny, Bobby Mort, "The Colbert Report," Comedy Central.

Reality competition: "The Voice," NBC.

Choreography: Derek Hough, "Dancing With the Stars," ABC.

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