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2014 Emmy Awards: Breaking Bad, Modern Family win big

Red carpet arrivals, winners, speeches and analysis of the 66th Primetime Emmys.

 

The Emmys: No real upsets or drama

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards are done and over. Like the largely paint-by-numbers ceremony, which offered exactly what you would expect of an Emmys ceremony (nothing more, nothing less), the awards were notable largely for how unsurprising they were.

If anything, the lack of surprise may have been the most surprising thing. After four seasons and four Outstanding Comedy awards, it felt like something was going to supplant “Modern Family.” After all, the voters couldn’t pick that show every year, could they? They could, it seems, as the show won for a record-tying fifth year (matching “Frasier” for the most wins in this category ever), beating the newer, more varied (if less sitcom-y) strains of “Louie” and “Orange Is The New Black.”

(AP)

(AP)

“Breaking Bad” was the other big winner, taking home the award for Outstanding Drama, and writing for a drama series (for the third-to-last episode, considered by many fans and the show’s creator to be the series’ best installment). Three of its actors won as well (Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn and Aaron Paul). Even if it felt, again, like there was little surprise here – “Breaking Bad,” Cranston, Gunn and Paul had all won before — it was also recognizing the show’s final run, giving Emmy voters one last chance to honor the series.

The lack of surprise also played in the acting categories. Like Cranston, all of the winners had at least two Emmy wins going into tonight, along with scores of nominations. Jim Parsons won again, taking home his fourth Emmy in five years. (That means Parsons has won this category as many times as — yes — Kelsey Grammer of “Frasier.”) Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Julianna Margulies were again named the best actresses in comedy and drama, respectively.

Meanwhile, “Sherlock: His Last Vow” won more awards tonight (three) than “True Detective” (one), “Game of Thrones” (zero), “Mad Men” (zero), “House of Cards” (zero) and “Orange is the New Black” (zero) combined. So did “Fargo,” the FX attempt at proving you could base a worthwhile television show on a great movie. Despite all of the buzz and excitement surrounding new shows like “True Detective” and “Orange is the New Black,” the Emmy voters ignored these newcomers in favor of crowning repeat winners in all of the major categories.

Outstanding Drama Series: "Breaking Bad"

(AP)

(AP)

In the last category of the night, “Breaking Bad” won its final Emmy, finishing off a rather solid sweep of major categories and fending off newcomers like “True Detective” and “House of Cards” as well as longtime competitors like “Mad Men.”

This was the show’s second trophy in the Outstanding Drama category, following its win last year. Both awards recognized the show’s final season, which was split in half; the trophy awarded Monday night was given out for the final run of episodes that aired last year.

The two Outstanding Drama trophies mean that “Breaking Bad” will match the total won by “The Sopranos,” while it trails recent stalwarts like “Mad Men” and “The West Wing” (which both won four consecutive times). “Mad Men” and “The West Wing” were both recognized during their initial seasons, while “Breaking Bad” — befitting its storyline — seemed to be a slower burn, recognized first for its acting before drawing praise for the overall quality at work.

The series capped its highly-lauded run with a string of Emmys on Monday night that included the top prize as well as awards for its three stars (Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn and Aaron Paul) and one of its writers (Moira Walley-Beckett).

Complete winners list

Outstanding Comedy Series: "Modern Family"

(AP)

(AP)

In a shocking upset that literally nobody could have predicted, “Modern Family” won its fifth Outstanding Comedy Emmy for the show’s fifth season. However, those “Frasier” fanatics among us (all of us, obviously) can enjoy this factoid: “Modern Family” has now tied “Frasier” with five wins in this category, more than any other shows. That’s right: “Modern Family” has more Outstanding Comedy Emmys than “Cheers,” “All in the Family,” “Seinfeld,” “Taxi,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “30 Rock.”

Complete winners list

Lead actor, Drama: Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad")

(AP)

(AP)

Cranston! Bryan Cranston picked up his fourth Emmy for playing Walter White, his first win in the category since 2010. “I can only say that I have gratitude for everything that has happened,” said Cranston, who won for the show’s final season.

He thanked Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator, for “the role of a lifetime,” before praising his costars as well as the show’s creator and crew.

Complete winners list

Lead Actress, Drama: Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife”)

(AP)

(AP)

Julianna Margulies won her third Emmy and her second for playing Alicia Florrick on the CBS drama. Marguilies, who also won a supporting Emmy nearly two decades ago for the first season of “ER,” praised her writers for pumping out 22 episodes a year (rather than the 13 episodes required by most cable dramas).

Complete winners list

Writing for a Drama Series: Moira Walley-Beckett ("Breaking Bad")

(AP)

(AP)

Moira Walley-Beckett won this category for her “Ozymandias” script. Walley-Beckett also won an Emmy last year as part of the team recognized when “Breaking Bad” won the top drama prize. This Emmy was for the antepenultimate episode of “Breaking Bad,” which was directed by Rian Johnson and was perhaps the show’s finest moment. This isn’t just a sentiment among some viewers, either; this opinion was voiced by “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan himself.

Complete winners list

Supporting Actress, Drama: Anna Gunn ("Breaking Bad”)

(AP)

(AP)

Anna Gunn just won her second Emmy for “Breaking Bad.” It took a while for Gunn to get the same recognition afforded to her costars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, but she has now won two of the last three Emmys in this category as she has been recognized for her increasingly demanding role on the show.

Complete winners list

Outstanding Direction, Drama: Cary Fukunaga ("True Detective”)

(AP)

(AP)

Television has become an increasingly cinematic genre, something personified by Cary Fukunaga’s run on “True Detective.” He helped shape a remarkably vivid show, one that appeared from start to finish to be a singular visual work.

Complete winners list

Billy Crystal on Robin Williams: 'He was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy.'

After the In Memoriam segment, Billy Crystal offered a very touching, emotional tribute to his close friend, Robin Williams, who died two weeks ago.

“He made us laugh, hard, every time we saw him,” Crystal said. He told a couple stories, including one time when he, Williams and Whoopi Goldberg went to Shea Stadium for a Comic Relief event. Williams wasn’t really a big baseball fan (his favorite team was “The San Franciscos”) but he got a kick out of pretending to be a baseball player from Russia.

Williams was also apparently a big presence at Crystal family functions — he bonded with older immigrant relatives “like he was one of the guys,” and make up stories about his past.

“As genius as he was on stage, he was the greatest friend you could ever imagine — supportive, protective loving,” Crystal said, his voice shaking. “It’s very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives.”

“For almost 40 years, he was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy.”

Billy Crystal on Robin Williams

Aaron Paul gets emotional in 'Breaking Bad' speech

“My God, ‘Breaking Bad,’” said Aaron Paul, starting to get a bit emotional as he accepted his second Emmy for supporting actor in a drama series. The camera cut to co-star Bryan Cranston, who looked a little teary as well.

“There’s not a single day that goes by that I don’t miss running to work to work opposite of you, my friend,” Paul said.

Complete winners list

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Drama: Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad”)

(AP)

(AP)

We’re back to the big awards! Aaron Paul just won his third Emmy for “Breaking Bad,” a very well-deserved award for a talented actor on an excellent show, so there’s really nothing to joke about here.

Complete winners list

Sofia Vergara literally put on a rotating pedestal. Seriously.

On the heels of Beyoncé’s powerful “FEMINISM” image at last night’s VMAs, we get “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara forced to stand on a rotating platform — to give the audience a full view, of course — while TV academy president Bruce Rosenblum talked about the television industry.

This started immediately going around Twitter:

Stephen Colbort wins something, is not named Stephen Colbort

His name is Stephen Colbert, but someone pronounced it Stephen Colbort, and these Emmys aren’t giving us a lot to work with, so let’s enjoy this moment:

Remember that "Billy on the Street: Emmy Edition" video?

Jimmy Fallon accepts award for Stephen Colbert

Gwen Stefani announced “The Col-bort Report” won the prize for outstanding variety series (beating “The Daily Show” once again!), so Jimmy Fallon took it upon himself to accept the award for Stephen Colbert.

Colbert whispered in his ear for the majority of the speech and Fallon gleefully repeated everything he said. Even a profanity that got bleeped by censors.

Eventually, Colbert took over and finished the speech. “It has been kind of fun to do the show for the last nine years,” he said.

Outstanding Variety Series: "The Colbert Report"

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

“The Colbert Report” just won this category for the second consecutive time. Unfortunately, despite this, the show has been canceled and will end this year. It’s a tough break, but these things happen in the television industry.

Complete winners list

Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special: Glenn Weiss ("67th Annual Tony Awards”)

The Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special is a knock-down, drag-out brawl every year. This year’s winner, Glenn Weiss, accepted for the Tony Awards while also directing the Emmys, which means nobody could theoretically cut him off and he could talk for forever and nobody could stop him. Why would he stop talking? Just filibuster, Glenn. The stage is yours.

UPDATE: He stopped talking.

Complete winners list

Ryan Murphy thanks Larry Kramer for 'The Normal Heart'

Ryan Murphy of “The NormalHeart” accept the award for outstanding television movie at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards (Photo by Vince Bucci/AP Images)

Ryan Murphy of “The NormalHeart” accept the award for outstanding television movie at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards (Photo by Vince Bucci/AP Images)

Think Ryan Murphy was seething as “The Normal Heart” lost everything to “Sherlock”? Either way, he delivered quite the grateful speech when the film — about the AIDS crisis in New York in the 1980s — won for outstanding television movie. Murphy gave props to Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo (“Erin Brockovich and the Incredible Hulk”) for ultimately putting enough star power behind the project to finally get it made.

He also encouraged all the young people watching to be like activist Larry Kramer, who wrote “The Normal Heart” play. Murphy dedicated the award to “artists who died of HIV/AIDS since 1981.”

Complete winners list

Sarah Silverman ditches her shoes

Kicking off her shoes the moment her name was called for outstanding writing for a variety special (HBO’s “Sarah Silverman: We are Miracles”), Sarah Silverman raced on stage and grabbed her trophy from Ricky Gervais. “This didn’t even occur to me,” Silverman said, adding that she wanted to thank her “Jews” at agency CAA.

She finished with the ultimately bizarre line, “We’re all just made of molecules and we’re hurling through space right now.”

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