In many ways, the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards was a night of surprising upsets and familiar faces. Neil Patrick Harris was host of the festivities for the second year in a row and was joined onstage at the start of the night by past hosts like Jimmy Kimmel and Jane Lynch, who gave him advice about the gig. NPH opted out of an opening musical number, but didn’t shy away from a “middle of the show” song and dance.
The winners in many major categories were not surprises. Repeat victors included ABC's “Modern Family” with its fourth straight Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, Claire Danes' second Lead Actress in a Drama Series win for “Homeland” (beating rumored favorite Kerry Washington from “Scandal”), “The Big Bang Theory’s” Jim Parsons for his third Lead Actor in a Comedy Series win and two-time Lead Actress in a Comedy Series winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus for her role on “Veep.”
Some newcomers took home Emmy gold as well. Just weeks before it’s series finale, AMC show “Breaking Bad” won the top prize for Lead Drama Series, but in a surprising twist, Jeff Daniels won in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, upsetting fan favorite Bryan Cranston for his “Breaking Bad” role as Walter White. In another upset, NBC's “The Voice” beat out repeat winner “The Amazing Race” in the Best Reality-Competition Program and “The Colbert Report” took over the top spot from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” for Best Variety Series.
PICTURES [ET]: Stars document their Emmys Journey
The supporting categories welcomed all new actors to the Emmy stage. Bobby Cannavale of “Boardwalk Empire” won for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Anna Gunn of “Breaking Bad” took home the Emmy for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Tony Hale of HBO’s “Veep” won for Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, and, in the most odd and short speech of the night, Merrit Wever of “Nurse Jackie” graced the stage (briefly) following her Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series win.
Comedic and somber moments were also sprinkled throughout the telecast. During the In Memoriam segment, “Sopranos” star Edie Falco held back tears as she remembered her long-time co-star James Gandolfini. “You all knew James Gandolfini the actor,” she said. “I was lucky enough to know Jim the man. For ten years as his close colleague and his pretend life-partner, and for many more years as his friend.”
“Glee” star Jane Lynch also remembered her co-star Cory Monteith following his untimely death from a drug overdose. “Cory was a beautiful soul,” said Lynch. “He was not perfect, which many of us here tonight can relate to. His death is a tragic reminder of the rapacious, senseless destruction that is brought on by addiction. Tonight, we remember Cory for all he was and mourn the loss for all he could have been.”
To cap off the night, Will Ferrell brought the comedic relief as he showed up onstage with his three children in tow to present the final two awards of the night.
“Unfortunately, Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith dropped out at the last second and they called me literally 45 minutes ago and I couldn’t find childcare okay?” said Ferrell.