Emmys sweet on ‘Homeland’

Claire Danes (Reuters)

Claire Danes (Reuters)

BILL HARRIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:27 PM ET

Homeland is where the heart is, as far as the Emmys are concerned.

The freshman series was named television's outstanding drama Sunday night at the 64th annual primetime awards. Homeland's victory broke Mad Men's streak of four straight wins in that marquee category.

Not only that, but the two leads in Homeland - Claire Danes and Damian Lewis - won Emmys for outstanding lead actress and outstanding lead actor, respectively. Homeland originates on Showtime in the U.S. and airs in Canada on Super Channel.

Lewis left the likes of Jon Hamm and Bryan Cranston sitting in their seats.

"I don't really believe in judging art, but I thought I'd show up just in case," Lewis said. "Turned out all right."

Danes' win had been widely anticipated, however.

"Damian did the magic trick of turning a villain into someone so human and someone we feel so deeply about - and Mandy Patinkin, holla," Danes said. "Our entire cast is just uniformly, shamelessly talented."

Michael J. Fox got a standing ovation from the Emmys crowd before presenting the outstanding comedy series award to heavy favourite Modern Family.

Jon Cryer got the respect he deserved for keeping Two and a Half Men viable when he was named best lead actor in a comedy.

It was quite an upset — and no one seemed more surprised than Cryer, who transitioned his show from Charlie Sheen to Ashton Kutcher.

"Something has clearly gone terribly wrong," Cryer said. "I'm stunned.

"It has been an incredible journey on this show. This is crazy!"

Best lead actress in a comedy went to Julia Louis-Dreyfus for her hilarious portrayal of a U.S. vice-president in Veep. She joked that she had mixed up acceptance speeches with fellow nominee Amy Poehler.

In the supporting categories, Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen of Modern Family won.

"I never thought I'd be on TV as a gay man," said Stonestreet, who plays Cam on the hit series. "But I love the pics of hairy chests you guys are sending me."

Bowen used the term "nipple covers" repeatedly in her acceptance speech.

Aaron Paul, who plays Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad, was something of an upset winner in the very strong best supporting actor in a drama category, even though he was a previous winner of the award.

"Thank you very much for not killing me off - that was the plan," Paul bellowed to Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan.

Supporting actress in a drama went to Maggie Smith of Downton Abbey, which was a surprise to absolutely no one. Unfortunately, Smith wasn't in attendance to deliver some of her Dowager Countess zingers.

The Amazing Race struck a blow for the old guard by winning best reality competition show, and top reality host went to Tom Bergeron of Dancing With The Stars.

"I want to thank (Survivor's) Jeff Probst for not being nominated, that helps," Bergeron quipped.

Top variety series went to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, prompting presenter Ricky Gervais to say, "Not again!"

Stewart then tested the trigger fingers of the censors when he said, "Years from now, when the earth is just a burning husk, and aliens visit, they will find a box of these (Emmy trophies), and they will know just how predictable these f------ things can be."

Shortly afterward, host Jimmy Kimmel had his parents physically removed by security, because they lied to him by telling him he could do anything he set his mind to, and he had set his mind to winning an Emmy. Kimmel's late-night show was nominated in the category that Stewart won.

Winner in the mini-series/movies category was Game Change. The acting awards in that genre went to Tom Berenger of Hatfields & McCoys (supporting actor), Jessica Lange of American Horror Story (supporting actress), Kevin Costner of Hatfields & McCoys (lead actor) and Julianne Moore of Game Change (lead actress).

"I feel so validated because Sarah Palin gave me a big thumbs down," said Moore, who played Palin in Game Change.

Airing on ABC and CTV from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, the Emmys broadcast opened with a pre-taped bit set in a women's washroom, where Kimmel was cowering. Turns out he'd had some Botox that didn't turn out too well.

"I can't host the Emmys," Kimmel cried. On cue, the five reality hosts who did such an awful job co-hosting back in 2008 - Tom Bergeron, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Jeff Probst and Ryan Seacrest - popped up from an adjoining stall and shouted, "We'll do it!"

Kimmel finally had his face pounded back into normalcy by Christina Hendricks, Zooey Deschanel, Connie Britton, Mindy Kaling, Martha Plimpton, Kathy Bates, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Lena Dunham - naked, of course, as she is throughout her show Girls. Ellen DeGeneres lent Kimmel some pants.

The most clever of many pre-taped bits of the evening examined what Breaking Bad would be like if it existed in a world before cable TV. Stars Bryan Cranston and Paul appeared in black and white, mimicking the opening of The Andy Griffith Show - until someone got shot.

In his opening monologue, Kimmel noted that cable networks accounted for all the shows in the outstanding drama category this year. "The Academy is sending a clear message," Kimmel said. "And that message is, 'Show us your boobs.' "

Later on, he joked about the In Memoriam portion of the Emmys, saying it was a shame to wait until people are dead to honour them. So Kimmel introduced a video tribute to himself, as Josh Groban played piano and sang a slow, moody version of One Direction's What Makes You Beautiful.

Overall as a broadcast, it was an unspectacular but functional Emmys, the odd audio issue notwithstanding. Seth MacFarlane actually created his own audio issue when he started to present an award when he was nowhere near a microphone, and was forced to move (it might have been a setup, you never know with him).

Kimmel had spoken beforehand about wanting to insert himself more consistently throughout the show, as opposed to appearing at the beginning and then virtually disappearing, as often occurs.

He achieved it for the most part, including a bit with Tracy Morgan where they attempted to play a joke on anyone who hadn't been watching the Emmys. Kimmel asked people to tweet that Morgan had just passed out on stage, and that everyone should tune to the Emmys right away. Morgan accommodated, of course, by lying down.

The truth is, televised awards shows are relics of a bygone era, when seeing celebrities wasn't merely a mouse-click away. All you can hope for from awards shows these days is that you get the odd chuckle and they make good time, as everyone's father used to say.


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