Upsets abound at Emmys but ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Modern Family’ still win

While this year’s Emmycast was filled with surprises, the top series awards went to the frontrunners — red-hot drama “Breaking Bad” and laffer “Modern Family” which prevailed for the fourth year in a row. 

Frontrunner Claire Danes repeated as Best Drama Actress for the sophomore season of “Homeland” but her costar, reigning champ Damian Lewis, was edged out by first-time nominee Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom“). The late Henry Bromell won the writing prize for the controversial “Q&A” episode of her series while David Fincher won for directing the pilot of the online-only drama “House of Cards.” 

Among those Danes defeated was Kerry Washington (“Scandal”) who would have been the first African American to win this category. As shocking as that is, there are two other awards yet to be won by an African American — Best Comedy Guest Actress and Best Drama Supporting Actor. Oddly, the Emmys had Washington and African American groundbreaker Diahann Carroll (“Julia”) present the latter category which went to longshot Bobby Cannavale (“Boardwalk Empire“). As expected, Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad”) won Drama Supporting Actress. 

As “Mad Men” was denied a fifth win for Best Drama Series, 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. As with last year — when it went 0 for 17 — it was completely shut out of both the primetime and creative arts awards, losing all 13 of its bids. 

As predicted, Julia Louis-Dreyfus repeated as Best Comedy Actress for the second season of “Veep.” She also won this award in 2005 for the first season of “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and took the supporting prize in 1996 for “Seinfeld.” While Tina Fey lost this race but she shared in the comedy writing win for the series finale of “30 Rock.” 

And Jim Parsons picked up his third Comedy Actor Emmy in four years (2010, 2011) for his work on “The Big Bang Theory.” Among those he defeated was frontrunner Louis C.K. who plays a version of himself in “Louie.” 

The supporting prizes in comedy went to two longshots — Merritt Wever (“Nurse Jackie“) and Tony Hale (“Veep”). While “Modern Family” was shut out of these categories for the first time, Gail Mancuso won for helming an episode of the show. 

As expected, the biopic “Behind the Candelabra” won Best Movie/Miniseries and star Michael Douglas claimed Best Movie/Mini Actor for his portrayal of Liberace. Oscar champ Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”) won for directing this telefilm based on the bestelling book by Scott Thorson but adapter Richard LaGravenese lost to Abi Morgan for the axed BBC America series “The Hour.” 

Laura Linney won the movie/mini actress award for the truncated fourth season of her series “The Big C” and Ellen Burstyn (“Political Animals”) won the supporting prize over frontrunners Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson (“American Horror Story: Asylum”) respectively. However, “AHS” featured player James Cromwell did prevail as predicted. 

Two perennial winners saw their streaks end as 10-time champ “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” lost Best Variety Series to its spin-off “The Colbert Report” which also won the writing award. And “The Amazing Race” lost the Reality-Competition Series race for only the second time in 11 years, this time to “The Voice.” 

Derek Hough ended the losing streak in the choreography category for “Dancing With the Stars” which had been bested in 10 bids over the past seven years. 

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