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“Modern Family,” “Homeland” dominate Emmys

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

“Modern Family” and “Homeland” took home top honors at an Emmy Awards full of surprise winners and underwhelming hosting Sunday night.

Held for the 64th time, this year’s Emmys saw Showtime’s CIA thriller “Homeland” win best Drama Series for its first season. It beat out Emmy-favorite “Mad Men,” winner of the best Drama Series for the last four years. In addition to its Series win, “Homeland” took home the Emmys for Writing, Lead Actress for Claire Danes and Lead Actor for Damian Lewis.

In the comedy categories, “Modern Family” took home its third straight best Comedy Series Emmy.  ABC’s crowd-pleasing hit also took home the award for Directing, while Julie Bowen and Eric Stonestreet received their second Emmys for their work on the show as Claire Dunphy and Cam Tucker, respectively.

The made-for-TV movie or miniseries category saw dominance from HBO’s political drama “Game Change,” which won the Emmys for best made-for-TV movie, Writing, Directing and Lead Actress for Julianne Moore’s performance as Sarah Palin. History’s huge hit “Hatfields and McCoys” won acting Emmys for Kevin Costner and Tom Berenger, while “American Horror Story” standout Jessica Lange won the Supporting Actress in a made-for-TV movie or miniseries award.

While “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” predictably won the Variety Series Emmy for the tenth straight year, this year’s Emmys were anything but predictable.  Several repeat winners, including “Stonestreet” and “Breaking Bad” actor Aaron Paul, unexpectedly beat out tough competition to win their awards.  “Homeland” star Damian Lewis also defeated perennial winner and front-runner Bryan Cranston to win Lead Actor in a Drama series.

The biggest shock of the night came when “Two and a Half Men” star Jon Cryer won the Lead Actor in a Comedy series Emmy.  A previous winner in the Supporting category, Cryer bested previous winners Jim Parsons and Alec Baldwin and Writing for a Comedy series winner Louis C.K.

The other major acting winners were Maggie Smith for PBS’s “Downton Abbey” and three-time Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus for her role on HBO’s political satire “Veep.”

In addition to several unexpected winners, Jimmy Kimmel’s job as host was unpredictably underwhelming.  Hosting for the first time, Kimmel struggled to translate his sarcastic brand of humor into laughs. He got the show off to a tepid start with a monologue that was large on riffs about the culture of today’s TV but small on hilarious quips.

Kimmel was also the orchestrator of two of the night’s most uncomfortable moments.  In the days leading up to the Emmys, Kimmel spoke of unleashing a huge prank on the world. The prank ended up being an act with Tracy Morgan lying on the floor for ten minutes as audience members were instructed to go to Facebook and Twitter and claim that Morgan had passed out.

After that misguided experiment, Kimmel turned to an off-putting fake “In Memoriam” segment in which clips of the “Jimmy Kimmel Show” were scored to a Josh Groban-sung version of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.”

While Kimmel struggled to produce laughs, several pre-taped sketches added humor to the festivities.  An early sketch cleverly merged “Breaking Bad” with “The Andy Griffith Show,” illustrating how much TV has changed since the 1960s.  The night’s biggest laugh came from a sketch involving the cast of “Modern Family,” which hilariously cast young Aubrey Anderson-Emmons as a diva and mean-spirited prankster.

An overall mediocre affair, the 64th annual Emmy Awards produced several interesting moments and deserving winners.  With premiere week upon us, the cycle for the next set of winners and nominees has begun.

About the Author

Nick Keeley

Nick Keeley is a Chimes staff writer for the 2012-13 school year.

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