“Breaking Bad” won the best drama series award Sunday night at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, one of two wins for the series in the five categories in which it was nominated.
“Modern Family’s” winning streak continued, as the beloved show won in the best comedy series category for the fourth year in a row. “This may be the saddest Emmys ever but we could not be happier,” said executive producer Steve Levitan, perhaps referring to the show’s solemn tributes to actors who passed away in the last year.
The award show got off to a somewhat sluggish start, with host Neil Patrick Harris sitting in a “Matrix”-esque room surrounded by monitors and wondering how he should open the broadcast. The bit gained momentum when Harris was joined onstage by former Emmys hosts Jane Lynch, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien.
The skit’s high (or perhaps low) point came when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, also veterans of the Emmys hosting gig, encouraged Harris to “Twerk it.”
“I come to award shows for the twerking,” Fey called out from the front row of the audience, a reference to Miley Cyrus’s now-notorious performance the MTV Video Music Awards in August. Harris wisely declined the advice.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus won for best actress in a comedy series, giving her acceptance speech with her faux public relations rep — Tony Hale, who picked up the Emmy in the supporting actor in a comedy — standing behind her. As Louis-Dreyfus delivered her speech, Hale whispered in her ear to remind her to mention, among other things, how much she loved her family.
Rob Reiner delivered a touching tribute to “All in the Family’s” Jean Stapleton, the talented actress to played Edith Bunker and passed away May 31.
Later in the show, Lynch honored “Glee’s” Cory Monteith, who died in July from a mixture of alcohol and heroin. “He was not perfect, as many of us here can relate to. … Tonight we honor Cory for all that he was,” she said.
Anna Gunn was “Breaking Bad’s” other winner of the night, taking home the trophy for best supporting actress in a dramatic series. “Yes, I’m glad there are people out there who apparently enjoy Skyler [White],” her character on the show. Gunn’s comment came in response to a backstage interview question about the so-called “Skyler haters” that seem to be so numerous on the Internet.
Fans of Harris’s award-show dance numbers were treated to a meta mid-show performance that mentioned — repeatedly — that it was scheduled in the middle of the show. The comedic song and dance may not have been as show-stopping as some of Harris’s previous show turns at the Emmys and Tonys, but it nonetheless provided something that was lacking in the opening.
And Harris saved the best for last: a second dance number — a well-choreographed montage of top nominated series — evoked the best of Broadway on TV’s biggest night.
But not everyone was a fan of the dancing. “Every award show should ban dance numbers and allow people to speak,” producer Dana Brunetti wrote in a tweet, on a night when several winners were indeed played off by the orchestra.
“Breaking Bad’s” sweep possibilities were disrupted when Jeff Daniels won in the best dramatic actor category, for his performance in HBO’s “The Newsroom.” Although Bryan Cranston’s loss came as a surprise to many, the “Breaking” actor can take heart in knowing that he almost certainly will get the nod again next year, when the second half of the series’ final season will be eligible for nominations.