A few unexpected wins -- mostly good ones -- and recognition for some terrific series and movies highlighted tonight's ceremony. For a complete list of the all the winners and nominees, visit the official Emmys site here.
Our favorite wins: though I'm not a watcher, tonight was good for ABC's Modern Family which appears to have pushed 30 Rock off the top of the mountain in comedy, winning Supporting Actor (Eric Stonestreet), Writing, and Outstanding Comedy Series. Fan favorite Glee brought the talented Jane Lynch a Supporting Actress win (and she was also so wonderful in Season One of Party Down on Starz), and a win for director Ryan Murphy. Though it didn't take the top prize, the show has firmly established itself as a cultural milestone of the moment, witness the very funny and long opening sketch which featured adorable appearances by Bette White, Tina Fey and Jon Hamm, as well as Glee castmembers and other TV names and others like Kate G. whose brief presence demonstrated the complete uselessness and vapidity of reality celebrities. White & Hamm also made a great presenting couple. Bette White can do no wrong!
Big yippee for Jim Parsons winning Best Actor in a Comedy in The Big Bang Theory, an award well-deserved and one that many thought would go again to Alec Baldwin, but as we said, 30 Rock is off the peak now. Edie Falco as Best Actress for the barely-a-comedy Nurse Jackie was still a great win, because she's so good and where do you put a show like NJ anyway? The three naturally funniest women nominated didn't win -- Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey -- but it's not about that. Falco is a terrific choice.
Another big hurray for Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul finally taking home the award for Supporting Actor in a Drama, in a category that seemed poised to go Lost's way. His performance as meth prince Jesse has been great since the show began, and he definitely deserved this one. We're also happy to see Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad take home his third acting award for the show; there simply is no one doing anything better than what's he's bringing to BB. It was a category filled with great work but he rules.
Nice to see a mini-sweep for HBO's intelligent and fascinating TV movie about autistic animal behavioral specialist Temple Grandin, with wins for Supporting Actress Julia Ormond, Supporting Actor David Straitharn (always good and really great in this TVM), director Mick Jackson, and of course Claire Danes in the title role. Also a nice take home for Al Pacino as Jack Kevorkian in HBO's You Don't Know Jack. Most impressive thrill of the night -- seeing Temple Grandin and Jack Kevorkian in the audience, and in Grandin's case also up on the stage. Good win also for HBO's The Pacific, though with only two nominees in the running it's not much of a horse race. Minis are out of style and too expensive, we surmise....
We were pleased again to see Mad Men take home Best Drama, though Breaking Bad would have been an equally good choice.
Upsets -- one good, one not-so-good -- were thankfully few. The Mad Men ladies and the rest of the nominees were shut out by the win of The Good Wife's Archie Panjabi, who quite frankly stated that the win would be good for her career, and it will, though the win was unexpected and it looks like the vote was split and she rose to the top. Nothing wrong with that, of course, as she's gotten great notices for her role in the series. Not so good for The Good Wife was favored Julianna Margulies losing to Kyra Sedgewick's cable cop in The Closer. Unhappy choice there and not a great acceptance speech either. It was the only award that really felt wrong and didn't seem to have the audience excitement, though if January Jones had won it would have been even worse.
Jimmy Fallon is talented and did a good job; celebrity presenters were a mixed bag, with Ricky Gervais of course coming out on top and the Twitter gimmick not working very well at all.
The show ended on time at the three hour mark, just perfectly to catch the encore of tonight's Mad Men (a great episode, by the way). A very good night for TV!