Thanks to host Jimmy Fallon, a hysterical and inspired Glee parody, and perhaps the biggest gathering of awards-show virgins in the history of Hollywood, the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards were full of surprises. To wit, the telecast hardly ran into overtime; Top Chef snapped The Amazing Race’s seven-year winning streak as best reality competition; and — gulp — Kate Gosselin now wants to act after her appearance in the opening musical bit: ”I so want to give it a try!” (Well, not all surprises are good.) Here, our take on the evening.
Fresh Faces Lots of new names took the stage at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, starting with the cast of Modern Family, which earned Emmys for outstanding comedy, supporting actor (congrats, Eric Stonestreet!), and writing. ”It was an absolute horse race,” says creator Steven Levitan about the fierce competition from Glee. But Family won’t rest on its laurels now. ”It’s not like we’re going to go back and be ‘Aren’t we cool?’ We’ll continue making the show we love so much.” First-time trophies also went to Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) and Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), who was more than happy to give up her Emmy V-card. ”I was excited and so nervous,” says the actress. ”I am an Emmy virgin!” Another first-time winner, Aaron Paul, who nabbed best supporting actor in a drama for his role as a meth addict on Breaking Bad, had big plans for his new hardware: ”It’s going in my bed, I’m going to sleep right next to it. I’m going to place it gently next to the pillow.”
Jimmy Fallon The host killed with his musical numbers, including his send-ups of departing shows 24, Law & Order, and Lost. ”I thought he was terrific,” says House’s Hugh Laurie. ”That must be one of the most terrifying gigs.” Fallon’s hard work paid off: At 13.5 million, it was the highest-rated telecast in four years.
Temple Grandin The night’s most touching moment came courtesy of Grandin, who inspired HBO’s biopic about her struggles with autism. The flick won five statuettes, including awards for best made-for-television movie and star Claire Danes. Grandin says she attended the show in one of her signature Western shirts because ”there was no way I could be in an evening gown. That would be so out of character.”
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Dramedy Glee began Emmy season as the favorite but may have suffered because it’s not a traditional sitcom. Though it was the most nominated series, it nabbed just two major awards — an acting win for Jane Lynch and a directing Emmy for Ryan Murphy.
Smokey & Co. So much for the sentimental vote. In the end, Lost got shut out of its 12 categories. Even the competition thought Academy voters would honor the ABC show in its final season. ”I was truly expecting them to [award] Michael Emerson or Terry O’Quinn, who I love,” says their fellow nominee, Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul.
Mad Men (and Women) Though the AMC drama has won the top prize for three years running, stars such as Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, and John Slattery have yet to earn Emmy gold for their performances. ”I think some of it has to do with [the fact] that they are not really showy actors, it’s a different type of acting style,” says exec producer Matthew Weiner, who also took home an award for writing. ”But I do think they’ll all be recognized eventually.” From your lips…(Additional reporting by Michael Ausiello, Dave Karger, and Dan Snierson)