The final season of AMC’s hit drama Breaking Bad has taken the top honors at the 66th annual primetime Emmy awards, with five wins including best drama series, while Modern Family won best comedy series for the fifth consecutive time.
“Thank you so much for this wonderful farewell, you have been very kind to us indeed,” said Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, who lauded his crew and cast for their work on the series.
NBC’s Monday broadcast set a sleepy tone as awards were doled out to what has become a redundant stable of winners: Jim Parsons won his fourth Emmy for best actor in a comedy series for The Big Bang Theory, Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her third consecutive lead comedy actress award for Veep, and The Amazing Race won best reality-competition program for the tenth time.
Parsons lauded his fellow nominees for most of his acceptance speech in what seemed to be an acknowledgement of the show’s oft-questioned awards success as it continues to win in a category full of competitors much more beloved by critics. “There is no accounting for taste and it’s with good fortune that I stand up here tonight,” Parsons said.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus took the top comedy award for Veep and celebrated by having a quick make-out session with Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, whom she had presented with an award moments earlier. Louis-Dreyfus is the most nominated comedic actress in the lead and supporting categories, having won awards for Seinfeld and The New Adventures of Old Christine.
Host Seth Meyers opened the show with a monologue of one-liners that seemed directed more at the knowing crowd of celebrities and TV industry insiders in the theater than the wider audience beyond the teleprompter. The awards were punctuated with a series of sketches that largely failed to hit the mark, and featured a widely derided segment in which Modern Family star Sofia Vergara posed on a rotating platform to provide aesthetic distraction while the president of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences delivered remarks about the ceremony.
Stephen Colbert was also derided for a comment he made while accepting the best variety series award for The Colbert Report. While thanking his writers, he said: “Those guys – and one woman. Sorry for that, for some reason.”
Colbert recently announced that the show concludes at the end of the year as he gets ready to take over as host for CBS’s Late Show in 2015. “It has been a ton of fun doing this show for the last nine years, thank you for giving us this award,” Colbert said.
New FX series Fargo won outstanding miniseries and the best television movie award went to The Normal Heart, the film based on HIV-Aids activist Larry Kramer’s play about the disease’s rise in New York City. “This is for all the hundreds of thousands of artists who have died from HIV/Aids,” said director Ryan Murphy.
Sherlock dominated the miniseries and movie categories as the ceremony took a short British turn with Benedict Cumberbatch collecting the lead actor award and Martin Freeman getting the supporting actor award, though neither attended the ceremony. “Martin couldn’t be here tonight, so I accept the award on my behalf,” said Stephen Colbert, who presented the award.
Sherlock’s Steven Moffat won the award for writing in a miniseries or movie. “Thank you so much, this is utterly thrilling,” said Moffat.
American Horror Story: Coven’s Kathy Bates beat out Julia Roberts for best supporting actress in a miniseries or movie. Bates’s cast-mate Jessica Lange took the lead actress award.
CBS, FX and AMC tied in the network tally race, with five wins apiece. Netflix, once heralded as the future of television, failed to get a single win from its seven nominations.
The remembrance of industry figures who died in the past year, rarely a part of an award show where innovation is encouraged, was injected with genuine emotion as Sara Bareilles sang Charlie Chaplin’s classic Smile live on stage while names and pictures of the dead were projected on screens above.
The section concluded with a moving, personal tribute to Robin Williams delivered live on stage by Billy Crystal. “It is very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in our lives,” Crystal said.