“Modern Family,” “Mad Men” and HBO Win Big at Emmys

There was no shortage of repeat winners at Sunday night's Emmy Awards, but the upstarts still managed to make their presence felt, and once again Ricky Gervais was the funniest man in the room.

"Mad Men" extended its Best Drama streak to three years, also picking up a third consecutive Best Writing for a Drama. And really, this category was as easy a pick as there was. As great as "Breaking bad" is, as innovative as "Lost" was... no other show does as many things as well as "Mad Men." The look is perfect, the cast is gorgeous, the writing is smart and adult and believable.

Bryan Cranston also completed a hat trick, denying Jon Hamm a Best Actor in a Drama prize for the third year in a row. And was joined in the winners' lounge this year by his co-star Aaron Paul. He shouted "Bryan Cranston, to work with you every single day is a dream," in accepting his award. Edie Falco, star of Showtime's "Nurse Jackie," won for best actress in a comedy and now the former "Sopranos" star is the only actress ever to win a best actress in both comedy and drama.

"Modern Family" put a stranglehold on the Rookie of the Year crown in the Comedy division, winning Best Comedy, Best Writing, Best Supporting Actor for the brilliant Eric Stonestreet, in addition to three Emmys won during the Aug. 21 ceremony.

For a complete list of winners, click here.

"30 Rock" got shut out for the first time in its first four seasons, but we saw the "Modern Family" win coming, and have a hard time begrudging it. And no one could begrudge Kyra Sedgwick her upset victory as best lead actress in a drama for her role as a detective on "The Closer." That and a win by "Top Chef" in best reality show may have been the night's most surprising, though well-deserved, victories.

When a show wins four Emmys for its first season -- including Best Supporting Actress and Best Director for a Comedy, it seems odd to consider it a disappointment. But "Glee" appeared to be heading into the night with a mountain of momentum, thanks to its 19 nominations and the constant rumor and speculation about upcoming guest stars and musicians.

It goes without saying that HBO dominated the TV movie/mini-series fields. "The Pacific," the epic WW II mini-series from producers Steve Spielberg and Tom Hanks, dominated its field, ending up with a total of 8 statuettes. Hot on its heels as the nights big winner was "Temple Grandin," a biopic starring Claire Danes as a woman with autism who used her condition to help her develop more human ways of handling cattle, wound up with a total of 7 awards.

Jimmy Fallon was his charming, eager-to-please usual self, entertaining the audience with a host of musical numbers from Springsteen's "Born to Run," to send ups of Elton John, Boyz II Men and Green Day, and kept the night moving when he was at the helm. But most of the best lines of the night came from the winners and presenters:

  • "I want to thank my lord and creator, Ryan Murphy." -- "Glee" star Jane Lynch
  • "I love you more than baseball." -- "Breaking bad" star Bryan Cranston in thanking his wife and daughter
  • "To Dr. Jack Kevorkian, I'm glad you're not my physician." -- "You Don't Know Jack" writer Adam Mazer

But as is typically the case, Ricky Gervais owned the biggest laughs of the night by eviscerating Mel Gibson, handing out a few dozen beers and making sport of a man who has no doubt been tormented for his name since he was a wee lad.

George Clooney, who was presented with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award for his efforts to mobilize aid and awareness for victims of the earthquake in Haiti and other causes, reminded the star-studded crowd that there were more important things out there than who got hardware and who got snubbed.

"It's important to remember how much good can get done, because we live in such strange times where bad behavior sucks up all the attention and press," Clooney said. "And the people who really need the spotlight -- the Haitians, the Sudanese, people in the Gulf Coast, Pakistan -- they can't get any."

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