TV viewers last night had a decision to make: Watch the penultimate episode of “Breaking Bad” or the Emmys? The answer should have been obvious (hint: the one with rampant drug abuse). But if you chose the latter, then you got to see the show win for Best Drama Series and Anna Gunn for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama rather than whatever happened to meth king wife Skyler on this week’s episode.
Other “Breaking Bad” staffers were less successful, with the great Jonathan Banks (as clean-up guy Mike) losing to (the admittedly also great) Bobby Cannavale for “Boardwalk Empire.”
Apparently going for the EGOT of awards show hosting, Neil Patrick Harris returned for the second time to helm the Emmys. For those keeping track at home, he’s also led the Tonys four times, and emceed less esteemed ceremonies like the TV Land Awards, the Spike Video Game Awards and the World Magic Awards (plus “Saturday Night Live” — once).
His job tonight was to best or equal last year’s suitably irreverent host, Jimmy Kimmel — and to fun up a show that historically is neither as loose as the Golden Globes nor as comically pompous as the Oscars. [embedgallery id=223789]
Even though inevitably mocking his awards show ubiquity, NPH wasn’t at his best, throwing out canned lines about twerking and the like. His opening segment was more clever than funny, but did reach a fever pitch when the stage crammed with past hosts Kimmel, Jane Lynch, Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, plus Kevin Spacey, who turned to the camera to deliver a “House of Cards”-style monologue.
Other highlights of the show included Julia Louis-Dreyfus winning her second Emmy for the ace political satire “Veep” (and fourth overall). Her co-star Tony Hale — who stood next to her, as he does on the show, as she accepted the trophy — also won for Supporting Actor on the show. Sadly, "Veep" itself lost to evidently undying "Modern Family."
Merritt Wever won both Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series as well as best speech, which consisted of her thanking everyone then blurting out, “I gotta go, bye.” (Alas, the often bizarre Steven Soderbergh, who won for directing the HBO Liberace movie “Behind the Candelabra,” kept to a straight, gracious, humble acceptance speech.)
The biggest upset was Kerry Washington. Diahann Carroll, the first African American nominated for an Emmy (for “Naked City” back in 1963), came out to set up the “Scandal” star as the first African-American winner of a Lead Performance Emmy. But the Emmy went to Claire Danes for “Homeland.” So it goes.
The whole show was alternately too fast and too thrown together, speeding through awards and tributes alike. It still found ways to pad it out to monster length, with multiple song and dance numbers. Honestly the time could have been used for giving Jonathan Winters or James Gandolfini better than quickie tributes, which couldn’t even bother with shameless montages. Here's the complete list of winners:
Outstanding Comedy Series
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"
Outstanding Guest Actress on a Comedy Show
Melissa Leo, "Louis"
Outstanding Guest Actor on a Comedy Show
Bob Newhart, "The Big Bang Theory"
Outstanding Supporting Actress for a Comedy Series
Merritt Wever, “Nurse Jackie”
Outstanding Supporting Actor for a Comedy Series
Tony Hale, “Veep”
Outstanding Directing on a Comedy Show
Gail Mancuso, "Modern Family"
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, “30 Rock”
Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Lead Actress on a Drama Series
Claire Danes, “Homeland”
Outstanding Lead Actor on a Drama Series
Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
Outstanding Supporting Actress on a Drama Series
Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”
Outstanding Supporting Actor on a Drama Series
Bobby Cannavale, “Boardwalk Empire”
Outstanding Guest Actor on a Drama Series
Dan Bucatinsky, “Scandal”
Outstanding Guest Actress on a Drama Series
Carrie Preston, “The Good Wife”
Outstanding Writing on a Drama Series
Henry Brommel, “Homeland”
Outstanding Direction on a Drama Series
David Fincher, “House of Cards”
Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
“Behind the Candelabra”
Outstanding Lead Actress for a Miniseries or Movie
Laura Linney, “The Big C: Hereafter”
Outstanding Lead Actor for a Miniseries or Movie
Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra”
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Ellen Burstyn, “Political Animals”
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries of Movie
James Cromwell, “American Horror Story: Asylum”
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries or Movie
Abi Morgan, “The Hour”
Outstanding Director of a Miniseries or Movie
Steven Soderbergh, “Behind the Candelabra”
Outstanding Variety Series
“The Colbert Report”
Outstanding Writing on a Variety Series
“The Colbert Report”
Best Reality Show
Derek Hough, "So You Think You Can Dance"