The Emmys honor the best performances on television, but the telecast is all about celebrating the best speeches. Here’s how we called it:
1. Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, Lead Actor in a Drama Series: It was Cranston’s night. He had the perfect amount of humility (“Even I thought about voting for Matthew”), humor (“I love you, especially those scenes in bed,” he told Anna Gunn) and inspiration (find your passion, Sneaky Petes).
2. Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lead Actress in a Comedy: Leave it to Louis-Dreyfus, who took home her third consecutive Emmy for Veep, to keep things fresh. And by that, we mean sharing a callback kiss with Cranston, who’d she’d presented with earlier and said she didn’t remember kissing when he guested on Seinfeld. The lip-lock lasted long enough to make us jealous.
3. The Colbert Report’s Stephen Colbert, Variety Series: Since presenter Gwen Stefani mispronounced The Colbert Report (planned?), Jimmy Fallon took the opportunity to question the win and deliver the first half of Colbert’s acceptance speech. Then Colbert genuinely thanked Jon Stewart, as well as his Emmy-winning writers (“I’m so proud of those guys and one woman…Sorry for that, for some reason.”)
4. The Good Wife’s Julianna Margulies, Lead Actress in a Drama Series: She threw shade, classily, at the Best Drama nominees by first saying that the award should go to creators Robert and Michelle King, who do 22 episodes a year. She also expressed what every Good Wife fan feels: Christine Baranski is a “beacon of light” and regarding Josh Charles, “I miss you everyday—what were you thinking?”
5. The Normal Heart’s Ryan Murphy, Television Movie: After playwright Larry Kramer received a standing ovation, Murphy gave a heartfelt speech encouraging activism and dedicating the award to the artists lost to AIDS.
6. Modern Family’s Gail Mancuso, Directing in a Comedy Series: It ran long, but informing Matthew McConaughey that she was going to keep eye contact with him so she didn’t look at her cast and crew and cry too early in her speech was brilliant. “Right there, baby, right there. Thank you for staying with me.”
7. Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, Supporting Actor in a Drama: Using his Emmy acceptance speech to express his love for Cranston and praise his wife was nice. But really, he gets this high up for having the best exit, jogging backward and pumping his trophy into the air.
8. Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles’ Sarah Silverman, Writing for a Variety Special: From the running barefoot to the stage, to thanking “my Jews at CAA,” to referring to her boyfriend as Fancypants Sheen (that would be Masters of Sex star Michael Sheen), to her stoner-esque sign-off, she doesn’t disappoint.
9. The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons, Lead Actor in a Comedy: The four-time winner made the standard praise of fellow nominees sound genuine (and incredibly self-deprecating): “I watch you work, all of you, and I see people doing things that I couldn’t do. I see people doing thing that I wouldn’t do. I see people doing things in all seriousness that are so divergent and all over the place, and all of us doing such different things that I do pray to do one day.” (House of Lies’ Don Cheadle seemed to agree a little too much.)
10. Mom’s Allison Janney, Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: The woman managed to make a laundry list of thank yous (and an incontinence joke) formal and fun while accepting her sixth career Emmy (and her second this year—she also won for guesting on Masters of Sex).
11. Modern Family’s Ty Burrell, Supporting Actor in a Comedy: The two-time winner pulled out a speech allegedly written by the kids in the Modern Family cast who are more attractive than Burrell’s real-life children and not as prepared as the adult actors in the cast (in case you couldn’t tell, that was sarcasm). He made an effort and we appreciate it.
12. Fargo’s Noah Hawley, Miniseries: He found a creative way to thank the Coen brothers (who of course don’t watch the Emmys) for letting him feel like one of the greatest filmmakers for a while.
13. American Horror Story: Coven’s Kathy Bates, Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: She was genuinely shocked she won because the guys with the silver suitcases had tilted their heads in a “social worker I’m sorry way” and her seat sucked. (Also because NBC had given Julia Roberts a random, special shout-out earlier in the telecast?) But she recovered to dedicate the award to the show’s crew in New Orleans who work grueling hours.
14. American Horror Story: Coven’s Jessica Lange, Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Don’t you always expect her to be frazzled, so when she keeps it together, it’s a delightful surprise. Also, how cute was she with presenter Liev Schreiber?
15. Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn, Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Starting by thanking the show’s casting director and ending by thanking her parents? Safe, but lovely.
16. Modern Family’s Steven Levitan, Comedy Series: It was heartfelt, but could you really hear it over all the complaining in your living room?
17. Louie’s Louis C.K., Writing in a Comedy Series: Too short but very sweet that the first person he thanked was actress Sarah Baker, who should’ve received an Emmy nomination for guesting in the episode, “So Did the Fat Lady.”
18. Breaking Bad’s Moira Walley-Beckett, Writing for a Drama Series: The writer of “Ozymandias” insisted she couldn’t have been more thrilled, but we have doubts.
19. Fargo’s Colin Bucksey, Directing in a Miniseries or Movie: When in doubt, make a joke about being glad you got back from the loo in time. Also, nice sneakers.
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20. The 67th Tony Awards’ Glenn Weiss, Directing in a Variety Series: He accepted while directing the Emmys, and frankly, ran a little long.
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21. Sherlock: His Last Vow’s Steven Moffat, Outstanding Writing in a Miniseries or Movie: He should have prepared something, but at least he knew enough to keep it brief since he hadn’t.
22. True Detective’s Cary Joji Fukunaga, Directing in a Drama Series: The announcer’s fun fact about him having directed the video for Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” was more memorable.
23. The Amazing Race’s Bertram van Munster, Outstanding Reality Competition Program: Getting them all to the stage took longer than the uneventful speech.
Not present to accept their awards:
Sherlock: His Last Vow’s Martin Freeman, Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Sherlock: His Last Vow’s Benedict Cumberbatch, Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie