A mix of new comedies and veteran dramas dominated the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night, while HBO monopolized the statuettes for movies and miniseries.
ABC’s Modern Family led all series programs with three Emmy wins, including outstanding comedy. It also won for supporting actor Eric Stonestreet and writers Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd for their pilot episode script.
“All I wanted to be was a clown in the circus when I was a kid growing up,” Stonestreet said. He vowed to ship the award to his the home of his parents, Vince and Jamey, in Kansas City, Missouri.
Fox’s Glee, which led all series with 19 nominations, won Emmys for supporting actress Jane Lynch and director Ryan Murphy. Murphy dedicated his Emmy “to all my teachers who taught me to sing and fingerpaint.” Lynch praised fellow cast members: “You’re fresh-faced, and when I’m not seething with jealousy, I’m so proud of you.”
On the drama side, AMC’s Mad Men won its third consecutive Emmy for outstanding series. It won a second Emmy for writing, which went to series creator Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy for the episode titled, “Shut the Door. Have a Seat.”
AMC picked up two more Emmys with acting wins by Bryan Cranston (lead actor) and Aaron Paul (supporting actor) in Breaking Bad. With its four Emmys, AMC led all broadcasters in the series categories.
Emmy prognosticators were caught off-stride by wins by Kyra Sedgwick of TNT’s The Closer and Bravo’s Top Chef.
Top Chef won for outstanding reality competition program, breaking the streak held by CBS’ The Amazing Race, which captured the Emmy in each of the last seven years. “This is something we never expected,” exulted executive producer Dan Cutforth. “I really have nothing prepared at all to say.”
Sedgwick took home an Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series after being nominated in the category the last five years.
Other series winners for comedy were Jim Parsons for lead actor in CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and Edie Falco for lead actress in Showtime’s Nurse Jackie.
In the drama category, Archie Panjabi was honored for supporting actress in CBS’ The Good Wife and Steve Shill took the directing Emmy for Showtime’s Dexter.
HBO, which traditionally dominates Emmy awards for longform programs, this year won all eight Emmys in the genre.
Temple Grandin, the story of a woman who overcame autism to pioneer humane treatment for cattle, received five Emmys, including outstanding made-for-television movie. Claire Danes was selected for her performance as Grandin and Julia Ormond and David Strathairn won for their supporting roles. Mick Jackson received an Emmy for directing the film.
Jackson hailed Grandin in the audience. “I tried to make your movie like you: spunky, smart, honest, vivid, sometimes crazily emotional, never sentimental.”
You Don’t Know Jack, about Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a controversial proponent of assisted suicide for terminal patients, earned Emmys for lead actor Al Pacino and writer Adam Mazer. The Pacific, a 10-part opus about World War II combat in the Pacific theater, won for outstanding miniseries.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, on Comedy Central, won for outstanding variety, music or comedy for the eighth consecutive year.
Jimmy Fallon, host of the telecast, eschewed the usual opening monologue in favor of taped pieces that focused on several shows that led the list of Emmy nominations. In the opening piece, Fallon put together a 10-person singing group that included Betty White, Jon Hamm, Kate Gosselin, Tina Fey and several Glee cast members.
In another taped piece, a network executive suggested alternative approaches to Modern Family, several of them including George Clooney, who was awarded the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award for his charitable efforts on behalf of natural disaster victims in Haiti, New Orleans, Darfur and elsewhere.
This year’s “In Memoriam” segment featured a performance by Jewel, who sang “Shape of You,” a song she wrote for a friend who passed away. The accompanying video included clips of many television figures who died since last year's Emmys, including performers Jimmy Dean, Gary Coleman, Rue McClanahan, Dixie Carter, Pernell Roberts, Lynn Redgrave, Lena Horne and Dennis Hopper, and producer David L. Wolper.
In all, broadcast networks claimed nine Emmys on the night, and cable collected 17.
Between the Primetime Emmys and the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony, held on August 21, HBO led all cable networks with 25 Emmys, followed by ABC, the top broadcast network, with 18.
A complete list of winners is available here.