The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards wasn’t exactly full of surprises but it certainly showed how strong television has become in recent years.
Breaking Bad won four major categories, including best drama series and best director, a fitting end to one of the most popular television series of all time.
Breaking Bad’s best actor winner, Bryan Cranston, and fellow cable star Julia Louis-Dreyfus were audience favourites and the pair, who both also appeared in Seinfeld, put on a show for the crowd, sharing a passionate kiss after Louis-Dreyfus’s win.
Modern Family proved free-to-air TV is still as strong as ever, in the face of stiff competition from Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, winning best comedy series for the fifth time, tying the record.
Monday’s ceremony also took a sad turn as Robin Williams was remembered with restraint and grace by his longtime friend Billy Crystal.
“He made us laugh. Hard. Every time you saw him,” Crystal said of Williams at the conclusion of a tribute to industry members who died last year.
Here were our other favourite moments of the night.
Best comedy series: Modern Family
Best drama series: Breaking Bad
Outstanding actress in a drama series: Julianna Margulies for The Good Wife
Outstanding actor in a drama series: Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad
Outstanding actor in a comedy series: Jim Parsons for The Big Bang Theory
Outstanding actress in a comedy series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep
Best supporting actor in a comedy series: Ty Burrell for Modern Family
Best supporting actress in a comedy series: Allison Janney for Mom
Best supporting actor in a drama series: Aaron Paul for Breaking Bad
Best supporting actress in a drama series: Anna Gunn for Breaking Bad
Outstanding reality-competition program: The Amazing Race
Best supporting actress in a miniseries or movie: Kathy Bates for American Horror Story: Coven
Best supporting actor in a miniseries or movie: Martin Freeman for Sherlock
Outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie: Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock: His Last Wish
Outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie: Jessica Lange for American Horror Story: Coven
Best miniseries: Fargo
Best television movie: The Normal Heart
Outstanding Writing in a Variety Special: Sarah Silverman for Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles
Jimmy Kimmel’s McConaughey/Gervais gag: When television host Kimmel took to the stage, he used his time in the limelight to lambast McConaughey for showing up.
“You just won an Oscar! How many of your acceptance speeches are we expected to sit through?”
He then riffed on the fact that McConaughey has a “movie face” and not a television face.
“Where’s Ricky?” Kimmel said, searching the crowd for comedian Ricky Gervais. “Now THAT’s a television face!”
Gervais responded to the roast with this face:
Julia Louis-Dreyfus kissing Bryan Cranston: Louis-Dreyfus won the award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series and celebrated by having a very prolonged, public smooch with Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston.
Cranston and Louis-Dreyfus met when Cranston appeared on an episode of Seinfeld. When Louis-Dreyfus finally made it to the stage, she opened with: “Yep, he was definitely on Seinfeld.”
And here’s a gif in case you missed it:
Everything Amy Poehler does: Host Seth Meyers introduced Poehler as “Beyonce” to present the night’s first award, which she called the “Best on-screen orgasm in a civil war reenactment”. Obviously, she promptly corrected herself, but not before the auditorium burst into fits of laughter.
Andy Samberg as King Joffrey: Lena Headey (a.k.a. Cersei Lannister) was asked to present an award and, unfortunately, couldn’t shake off her creepy son. He appeared in adult form thanks to the comic stylings of Saturday Night Live star Andy Samberg, whose goofy send-up of the character was the ultimate guilty pleasure laugh.
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s performance: Weird Al is back and he stormed the stage with a crowd-pleasing parody song teasing everyone from Jon Hamm to Game of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin.
The Robin Williams tribute: Billy Crystal remembered his good friend by summing Williams up perfectly: “Robin Williams, what a concept…He made us laugh.”
1. Lizzy Caplan from Masters of Sex
Otherwise known as the surly Janis Ian from teen hit film Mean Girls, Caplan transformed into the epitome of elegance on the red carpet. In a black Donna Karan Atelier gown, she channelled Julia Roberts at the Oscars in 2000. Stunning, classic and a verified showstopper.
2. Lena Headey from Game of Thrones
The transformation from golden-locked Cersei Lannister to all-out gothic glamour is dramatic, but Headey is so darn gorgeous she looks great either way. This gown from little-known designer Rubin Singer is striking and unique.
3. Hayden Panettiere
Pregnancy has never looked so good. The 25-year-old actress positively glowed in a golden sheath from designer Lorena Sarbu. She’s expecting a girl with Ukrainian heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko.
4. Sarah Paulson form American Horror Story: Coven
Playful, feminine and fun, Paulson was the polar opposite of her on-screen persona in this frothy Armani Prive gown.
5. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones
There’s not much to say here except that Jaime Lannister does dapper very well.
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