AMC’s “Breaking Bad” received a towering send-off Monday at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, earning statuettes including outstanding drama series, actor, supporting actor and supporting actress, while “Modern Family” stretched its winning streak as the top comedy series to five years.
“Breaking Bad” was considered a favorite to win outstanding drama for the second straight year, despite strong support for HBO’s gritty crime drama “True Detective.”
“Thank you so much for this wonderful farewell to our show,” series creator Vince Gilligan told the crowd at the Nokia Theatre. “You have been very kind to us indeed.”
The show also earned Emmys for lead actor Bryan Cranston, supporting actor Aaron Paul, supporting actress Anna Gunn and writer Moira Walley-Beckett.
The win was the fourth for Cranston, who notched a bit of an upset by besting Matthew McConaughey, who was considered a favorite for his work in “True Detective.”
“Even I thought about voting for Matthew,” Cranston said as he accepted the award.
“I don’t know why I have been blessed with an abundance of good fortune in my life. I was the kid who always looked for the short cut. … My own family nicknamed me Sneaky Pete. My own family.
“… So I did happen to stumble upon finding a passion that created a seed and bloomed into something so wonderful for me. I love to act. It is a passion of mine and I will do it to my last breath.”
Many pundits had given the edge in the category to McConaughey, who would have become the first performer to win a best actor Oscar and dramatic actor Emmy in the same year.
Paul picked up his third Emmy award for supporting actor in a drama for his portrayal of meth-dealing Jesse Pinkman in the show.
“My God, ‘Breaking Bad,”‘ he said. “It has changed my life and I’m standing up here because of one man, and that’s Vince Gilligan. Thank you for believing in me, trusting me to play this guy. I miss him. I love him.”
Anna Gunn’s win was her second in a row. She said working on the show “turned into the most extraordinary journey over the past seven years. Vince Gilligan, you are the reason for that, so thank you.”
The only dramatic acting prize not to go to “Breaking Bad” was for outstanding actress, which went to Julianna Margulies for “The Good Wife.” It was her second Emmy in three years for her role as Alicia Florrick.
“What a wonderful time for women on television,” she said. “And all the women that I’m nominated with here tonight is such a testament to that.”
Margulies also won a supporting-actress Emmy in 1995 for her work on “ER.”
Cary Joji Fukunaga won the Emmy for directing in a drama series for “True Detective.”
“Modern Family’s” victory was also considered a bit of an upset, even though it has taken home the Emmy for best comedy every year it has been on the air. This year, Netflix’s critically acclaimed “Orange is the New Black” was considered a favorite, but the show wound up winless on the night.
Series co-creator Steven Levitan joked about a day he brought his daughter to work when the writing staff was trying to come up with a story, and after eight hours “we had absolutely nothing.” He said his daughter thanked him when they got back home, but then she “turned into the kitchen and said to my wife, ‘It’s a wonder we have a roof over our heads.”
“‘Modern Family’ has been a big beautiful dream the last five years, and we thank you for not waking us up,” he said.
The show also earned a supporting actor prize for Ty Burrell. He won the same award in 2011. Gail Mancuso was named best director for a comedy series for her work on the series.
Jim Parsons of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” and Julia Louis-Dreyfus of HBO’s “Veep” both repeated their wins for lead actor and actress in a comedy.
For Parsons, the win was his fourth in the category. He hailed his fellow nominees and the variety of work being done in television comedies.
“To say that I watch your work and I feel inspired is a bit of an understatement,” Parsons said. “I watch you work, all of you, and I see people doing things that I couldn’t do. I see people doing things 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 …
“This is all a long way of saying there’s no accounting for taste and that it’s through a lot of good fortune I stand up here tonight,” he said.
The win for Louis-Dreyfus was her third in a row.
“The show is very dense, as you might notice,” she said. “It’s a huge labor of love and every labor of love takes a lot of labor — a lot of labor, this one particularly. So I really want to thank everybody on the show for having such extraordinary grace under pressure and for having so much fun.”
Louis-Dreyfus has won five Emmys in her career, including a lead actress prize for “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and a supporting award for “Seinfeld.”
Allison Janney was named best supporting actress in a comedy for “Mom.” It was her second win of Emmy season. She won a prize for outstanding guest actress in a drama series for an appearance in “Masters of Sex” during the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony Aug. 16.
Louis C.K. won the Emmy for writing for a comedy series for his program, “Louie.”
CBS’ “The Amazing Race” was named best reality-competition program for the 10th time.
Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” took home its second straight Emmy for outstanding variety series, a fitting send-off to host Stephen Colbert, who is moving on to fill the late-night chair of the retiring David Letterman.
“Fargo” won the Emmy for best miniseries, and also earned a directing prize for Colin Bucksey.
“The Normal Heart,” HBO’s story about a gay activist working to raise awareness of the AIDS/HIV epidemic in the early 1980s, was named outstanding made-for-television movie.
“This is for all of the hundreds of thousands of artists who have passed from HIV/AIDS since 1981,” director Ryan Murphy said. “Your memory and your passion burns on in us, and this is for them.”
Jessica Lange took home the Emmy for best actress in a miniseries or television movie for “American Horror Story: Coven.” She also won the Emmy for “American Horror Story” in 2012, and in the same category for “Grey Gardens” in 2009.
“I am incredibly surprised at this, but very grateful,” she said. “Thank you to the Academy and special thanks to everybody who is part of my life on this show, starting with — as Kathy (Bates) said — one of the greatest crews that works tirelessly.”
She also hailed the show’s “incredible writers and a cast that is just a dream come true from beginning to end.”
Benedict Cumberbatch was named best actor in miniseries or TV movie for “Sherlock: His Last Vow.”
Kathy Bates was named outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or movie for “American Horror Story: Coven,” while Martin Freeman was named best supporting actor for “Sherlock: His Last Vow.”
— City News Service
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