‘Homeland,’ ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Game Change’ big winners at Emmys

At Sunday’s Emmy Awards, the top series awards went to Showtime’s freshman political drama “Homeland” and the ABC laffer “Modern Family” which prevailed for the third year in a row. 

Frontrunner Claire Danes won Best Drama Actress for the first season of “Homeland” and her costar Damian Lewis edged out Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad“) for Best Drama Actor. The trio of scribes who penned the pilot of this Showtime hit took the writing prize. 

As “Mad Men” was denied a fifth win, it remains tied with “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law” and “The West Wing.” Unlike those shows, “Mad Men” has yet to see any of its cast take home an Emmy. Indeed, it was completely shut out of both the primetime and creative arts awards this year, losing all 17 of its bids. 

Best Drama Supporting Actor went to Cranston’s cohort in crime Aaron Paul who won this award two years ago; he becomes the first double winner of this award in 18 years. Among those Paul bested was his heavily favored co-star Giancarlo Esposito who would have been the first African American to win this category. As shocking as that is, there are two other awards that have never been won by an African American — Best Drama Actress and Best Comedy Guest Actress. 

Downton Abbey” scenestealer Maggie Smith won Best Drama Supporting Actress; she earned the equivalent prize last year when the first season of this Brit hit contended as a miniseries.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus won Best Comedy Actress for the first season of “Veep.” She won this award in 2005 for the first season of “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” This was her 13th Emmy bid, tying her with Lucille Ball.

In one of the biggest shocks of the night Best Comedy Actor went to Jon Cryer (“Two and a Half Men“) who jumped up to this category after the departure of Charlie Sheen. Cryer won the supporting award three years ago.

Among those Cryer beat this year was frontrunner Louis C.K. who plays a version of himself in “Louie.” However, he did win two of his other seven bids — for writing an episode of the series and his variety special “Live at the Beacon Theater.” 

The supporting prizes went to two of the sextet of “Modern Family” adult cast members nominated – reigning Best Comedy Supporting Actress Julie Bowen and 2010 Best Comedy Supporting Actor champ Eric Stonestreet.  And Steve Levitan won for helming an episode of the laffer he co-created. 

As expected, the political drama “Game Change” won Best Movie/Miniseries and star Julianne Moore claimed Best Movie/Mini Actress for her portrayal of politico Sarah Palin. Jay Roach and Danny Strong won for directing and writing this telefilm based on the bestelling book by Mark Halperin and John Heileman

However, “Hatfields and McCoys” won both of the male acting awards with featured player Tom Berenger edging out Moore’s onscreen running mate Ed Harris for the Movie/Mini Supporting Actor award while Kevin Costner won Movie/Mini Actor for playing one of the patriarchs at the center of the feud.  

As predicted, Jessica Lange claimed Movie/Mini Supporting Actress Emmy for “American Horror Story.” With this FX series slotted into this genre given its anthology nature, expect Lange to be a strong contender again next year. 

The streak continued for two perennial winners — “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” won Best Variety Series for the tenth year running while “The Amazing Race” won Reality-Competition Series for the ninth time in 10 years. But perennial also-ran Tom Bergeron pulled off a surprise by winning Best Reality Host on his fifth bid for “Dancing With the Stars.” 

OTHER EMMY NEWS:

Emmys 2012: Complete List of Winners

The Good, Bad & Ugly: Chris Beachum, Rob Licuria, and Daniel Montgomery on the Emmy Awards

‘Mad Men’ sets record for most Emmy losses in one season

Jimmy Kimmel presides over a solid but unspectacular 2012 Emmy telecast

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