Emmy had a split personality this year. Television’s annual awards show honored hot new broadcast comedies “Modern Family” and “Glee,” while sticking with more familiar favorites from cable in drama.
“Modern Family” won the Emmy for best comedy in its rookie season. The sweetly uproarious sitcom knit together a gay couple and their adopted daughter, a more traditional bumbling dad and his uptight wife, and a world-weary patriarch with his hot young Latin wife — and became an instant favorite on ABC.
“We are so grateful, we are so thrilled that families are sitting down together to watch a television show,” said Steven Levitan, the show’s co-creator. “We just want you to know, we just wanted to say we are so happy that you have let us into your families.”
Levitan’s partner in the show, Christopher Lloyd, was oddly absent from the onstage celebrating. Levitan said later that Lloyd has an aversion to crowds.
Five of the six members of the show’s comedic couples were nominated for supporting actor awards. Eric Stonestreet, who plays the rotund, flamboyant half of the gay couple, won an Emmy.
He said backstage that his parents, Vince and Jamey, will get his Emmy.
“I know exactly where they’re going to put it,” he said. “They eat breakfast and dinner at the same spot every day. I want them to be able to sit there and look at it and know that they made this possible.”
While Fox’s “Glee” was beaten out for best comedy, the musical’s impact was demonstrated when Emmy Awards host Jimmy Fallon poked fun at the highly rated show with his opening routine. Fallon played the leader of a “glee club,” joined by some of the series’ stars and contributors like Tina Fey and Jon Hamm, performing “Born to Run.”
The skit won huge applause from a jaded industry audience.
The show’s creator, Ryan Murphy, earned a best directing Emmy and the tough coach, Jane Lynch, beat back two “Modern Family” stars to win best supporting actress in a comedy.
Murphy noted that “Glee” is about the impact of arts education on high school students.
“I would like to dedicate this to all of my teachers who taught me to sing and finger-paint,” he said.
Edie Falco of Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” looked shocked to win the Emmy for best comedy actress. “As soon as somebody calls you funny, you’re not funny anymore,” she said later.
Emmy awards shouldn’t be foreign to her: Falco pulled the neat trick of winning the comedy award after previously winning an Emmy for best actress in a drama series for her work on “The Sopranos.”
Jim Parsons of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” won for best comedic actor, unleashing his real-life inner nerd later.
“I’m a big reader of almanacs, or I was, and I like lists and things like that — boy do I sound OCD,” he said backstage. “So I was awfully thrilled to be part of a list, a group, like this. The winning was really beyond.”
AMC’s “Mad Men” won the Emmy for best dramatic series for the third consecutive season. It’s a similar three-year winning streak for Bryan Cranston, who won best actor in a drama for his work as a teacher and meth dealer on AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” Cranston’s partner on the show, Aaron Paul, won his first Emmy for best supporting actor.
“It’s like having a great meal to do the show,” Cranston said backstage. “And then to be awarded an Emmy is a beautiful flambe dessert. And then last year was another dessert on top of that. I feel gluttonous. It’s more than I can take in.”
Wins almost seem routine for “Mad Men,” whose creator Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy, shared a writing award for drama series.
Weiner was listening to Levy’s acceptance speech but it went long, and he was visibly upset when the music cut off his own acceptance speech.
He had another chance, though, when “Mad Men” won the best drama series award.
“So where was I?” he slyly asked.
He seemed much more relaxed after the second trophy.
‘I never feel like I’m rolling,” he said. “I’m in a terror and a free-fall every day.”
“Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” are popular within the Hollywood audience. But broadcasters say their dramas still get a larger audience than those cable shows, and they’ve grumbled at the lack of attention their dramas receive. The new CBS drama “The Good Wife” and its star, Julianna Margulies, were seen as strong candidates to bring a broadcast network back into the winner’s circle for drama.
Yet it was passed by, except for Archie Panjabi, who won a supporting actress Emmy for her role as a private investigator. Kyra Sedgwick of TNT’s “The Closer” won best actress in a drama.
Emmy voters missed another opportunity: to make host NBC very uncomfortable.
Conan O’Brien’s short-lived “Tonight” show was nominated in the variety series category. It was seen as an affront when O’Brien was nominated and Jay Leno, the man he replaced, was not.
But O’Brien didn’t win. That award went to Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” which has won the category nine times since 2001.
No apologies from Rory Albanese, the show’s executive producer. “The category’s insane and we keep winning it. It’s tough to feel bad. We work really hard,” he said.
“Top Chef” won best reality series, ending the seven-year winning streak of “The Amazing Race.”
HBO movies on the lives of euthansia expert Jack Kevorkian and animal sciences expert Temple Grandin won awards. Al Pacino and Claire Danes won best actor trophies, and paid tribute to the real-life characters they portrayed who were sitting in the audience.
The awards also allowed Adam Mazer, Emmy-winning writer for “You Don’t Know Jack,” to get off one of the best lines of the night.
“I’m grateful you’re my friend,” Mazer said, looking out at Kevorkian. “I’m even more grateful you’re not my physician.”
Complete list of winners, 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards:
— Drama Series: “Mad Men,” AMC.
— Comedy Series: “Modern Family,” ABC.
— Actor, Drama Series: Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad,” AMC.
— Actress, Drama Series: Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer,” TNT.
— Actor, Comedy Series: Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS.
— Actress, Comedy Series: Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie,” Showtime.
— Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad,” AMC.
— Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Archie Panjabi, “The Good Wife,” CBS.
— Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family,” ABC.
— Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Jane Lynch, “Glee,” Fox.
— Miniseries: “The Pacific,” HBO.
— Made-for-TV Movie: “Temple Grandin,” HBO.
— Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Al Pacino, “You Don’t Know Jack,” HBO.
— Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Claire Danes, “Temple Grandin,” HBO.
— Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie: David Strathairn, “Temple Grandin,” HBO.
— Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Julia Ormond, “Temple Grandin,” HBO.
— Directing for a Comedy Series: Ryan Murphy, “Glee,” Fox.
— Directing, Drama Series: Steve Shill, “Dexter,” Showtime.
— Directing, Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special: Mick Jackson, “Temple Grandin,” HBO.
— Directing, Variety, Music or Comedy Special: Bucky Gunts, “Vancouver 2010 Winter Games Opening Ceremony,” NBC.
— Variety, Music or Comedy Series: “The Daily Show,” Comedy Central.
— Reality Competition Program: “Top Chef,” Bravo.
— Writing for Comedy Series: Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, “Modern Family,” ABC.
— Writing, Drama Series: Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy, “Mad Men,” AMC.
— Writing, Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special: Adam Mazer, “You Don’t Know Jack,” HBO.
— Writing, Variety, Music or Comedy Special: 63rd Annual Tony Awards, CBS.
Heard at the 62nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards:
“We are so happy that you have let us into your families,” Steven Levitan, accepting the award for comedy series, “Modern Family.”
“So where was I ...” Matthew Weiner, accepting the award for drama series, hours after being played off while accepting the award for writing in a drama series, “Mad Men.”
“I’m not going to have a go at (Mel Gibson). He’s been through a lot. Not as much as the Jews, to be fair,” Ricky Gervais.
“NBC asked the host of ‘Late Night’ to come to L.A. to host a different show. What could possibly go wrong?” — Host Jimmy Fallon, before the broadcast cut to Conan O’Brien in the audience.
“I am not funny!” Eddie Falco, while accepting the award for lead actress in a comedy, “Nurse Jackie.”
“Here’s hoping that some very bright person right here in the room or at home watching can help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heartbreaking situations that continue to be heartbreaking long after the cameras go away. That’d be an impressive accomplishment,” George Clooney, accepting the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award for his work organizing a telethon for Haiti earthquake relief.
“I love you more than baseball,” Bryan Cranston, speaking to his wife, Robin, and daughter, Taylor, while accepting the award for lead actor in a drama, “Breaking Bad.”
“Thank you, Jack. You’re alright, Jack.” — Al Pacino, speaking to Dr. Jack Kevorkian, while accepting the award for actor in a miniseries or movie, “You Don’t Know Jack.”
“There is no economic model that says you should put on a 10-part miniseries and make cash on it and yet somehow they had faith enough in order to do so,” Tom Hanks, accepting the award for miniseries, “The Pacific.”
“Thank you HBO, like for serious.” — Claire Danes, accepting the award for actress in a miniseries or movie, “Temple Grandin.”
“All I wanted to be was a clown in the circus, growing up.” — Eric Stonestreet, accepting the award for supporting actor in “Modern Family.”
“‘Modern Family’ is and always will be a love letter to you.” — Steven Levitan, speaking to his wife, Krista Levitan, while accepting the award for writing for a comedy series, “Modern Family.”
“I would like to dedicate this to all of my teachers, who taught me to sing and fingerpaint.” — Ryan Murphy, while accepting the award for directing for a comedy series, “Glee.”
“I want to thank my lord and creator, Ryan Murphy, for creating this role,” Jane Lynch, while accepting the award for supporting actress in a comedy, paying tribute to the “Glee” executive producer.
“After party at Betty White’s house!” Jimmy Fallon.