FOX played host to the 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, or, as appropriately dubbed by hostess/nominee Jane Lynch (Glee), "The Modern Family Awards" (the show picked up five awards, including Comedy Series, Supporting Actor and Actress). The show came in at just the 3-hour mark and was paced well with few awkward moments (most of the category intros were presented well, most especially by late night hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon, who physically tusssled when the former called out the latter for claiming not to have written an acceptance speech in lieu of The Daily Show's inevitable win (it did) but in fact had. The bit was pulled off by the two Jimmys with great comic flair.
Charlie Sheen presented an award and wished the upcoming season of Two and a Half Men well. Was it sincere? Little hard to tell, but all was good later when stars Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher presented together with Ashton assuring his new costar that he is not a troll.
The evening opened with a pre-recorded musical number, "TV is a Vast Wonderland!" (couldn't agree more) featuring Lynch first being directed by Leonard Nimoy (Fringe guest star), then walking through the respective sets of and encountering stars from Entourage (Jeremy Piven and Rex Lee), The Big Bang Theory (cast members Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar), Grey's Anatomy (Eric Dane), Weeds (Kevin Nealon), and Mad Men (John Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery and Vincent Kartheiser).
Perhaps the biggest LOL moment was when the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category came up. Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) was the first name read and she promptly walked up on the stage and waited. At first you thought it was just a "yeah, I'm taking the award no matter what" gag, but as each actress called after that, Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Laura Linney (The Big C), Tina Fey (30 Rock) and Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope), came to the stage, you realized it was more an homage to the Miss America pageant, each lady holding hands with the others waiting to be crowned. McCarthy took the prize and was given a tiara, roses and her Emmy. Never knowing if it was a pre-planned bit until the end, it was truly a moment. Well played, ladies!
Little less funny but still well-intentioned were The Emmy Tones, an acapella group who intro-sang each genre of television. Singers included Zachary Levi (Chuck), Cobie Smolders (How I Met Your Mother), Taraji P. Henson (Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story), Kate Flannery (The Office), Wilmer Valderama (That 70's Show) and Joel McHale (Community).
Several pre-recorded bits were intermixed throughout the ceremony, including a humorous segment featuring"Why I don't like my job" direct-to-camera-confessions a la The Office featuring a slew of TV stars. There was also a musical performance by The Lonely Island (the group oft featured in Saturday Night Lives digital shorts with Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake, though Justin was not present). Michael Bolton joined in the fun.
One of the better Emmy Award ceremonies but sadly, too few pleasant surprises in the wins. Judge for yourselves:
And the Emmys went to ...
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons, CBS' The Big Bang Theory (3rd nomination, 2nd win)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Melissa McCarthy, CBS's Mike & Molly (1st nom and 1st win)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell, ABC's Modern Family (2nd nom, 1st win)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen, ABC's Modern Family (2nd nom, 1st win)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kyle Chandler, NBC's Friday Night Lights (3rd nom, 1st win)
Outstanding Lead Actress ion a Drama Series
Julianna Margulies, CBS's The Good Wife (8th nom, 2nd win)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Dinklage, HBO's Game of Thrones (1st nom and win)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Margo Martindale, FX's Justified (1st nom and win)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Barry Pepper, Reelz's The Kennedys
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries of Movie
Kate Winslet, HBO's Mildred Pierce
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Guy Pearce, HBO's Mildred Pierce
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Maggie Smith, PBS' Downton Abbey
Outstanding Drama Series
AMC's Mad Men
Outstanding Comedy Series
ABC's Modern Family
Outstanding Reality/Competition Show
CBS' The Amazing Race
Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
PBS's Downton Abbey
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Martin Scorsese, HBO's Boardwalk Empire
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
Michael Spiller, ABC's Modern Family
Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special
Brian Percival, PBS' Downton Abbey
Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Series
Don Roy King, Saturday Night Live
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Jason Katims, NBC's Friday Night Lights
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Steven Lavitan & Jeffrey Richman, ABC's Modern Family
Outstanding Writing for Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Julian Fellowes, PBS' Downton Abbey
Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music of Comedy Series
Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart