"Modern Family" & "Homeland" score big at Emmys

Julie Bowen won as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for "Modern Family."
Julie Bowen won as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for "Modern Family." (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Posted: September 24, 2012

EVEN IF ABC's "Modern Family" hadn't walked off with its third Emmy in a row for outstanding comedy Sunday night, ABC's Emmycast would have made sure we knew that the show existed.

In fact, a tiny bit less promotion for the already wildly popular comedy, which also picked up an Emmy for directing and for actors Julie Bowen and Eric Stonestreet, might've opened up a few seconds here and there for some other deserving winners to finish their acceptance speeches.

Including, say, "Homeland" creators Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon, whose show about a long-missing Marine who returns home with a secret agenda - and of the bipolar CIA agent who's the only one who suspects him - took home the Emmy for outstanding drama, with statuettes also going to its two stars, Damian Lewis and Claire Danes.

"I don't know when they're going to cut me off, but this is the biggest night of my life and I'm going to keep talking until they do," said Gansa, as he and Gordon, accompanied by the cast and crew, took the stage for a second time.

HBO's "Game Change," a behind-the-scenes look at Sarah Palin's vice-presidential run, won in the movies and miniseries category, and won for writing and for Julianne Moore's portrayal of Palin. History's "Hatfields & McCoys" actors Kevin Costner and Tom Berenger (who was rudely played off while delivering a speech he'd had the chops to memorize) won for lead and supporting actor, respectively.

Comedian Louis C.K., creator and star of FX's "Louie," won both for outstanding writing for a comedy series for "Louie" and for a variety special for FX's "Louie C.K. Live at the Beacon Theatre," and probably smiled more in three hours than he gets to in an entire season of "Louie."

As always, there were awards that couldn't be squeezed into a three-hour show without reducing the number of bits involving the cast of "Modern Family":

Most surprised-looking winner: "Two and a Half Men" star Jon Cryer, who genuinely looked as stunned as he claimed to be after hearing his name called for outstanding lead actor in a comedy, his second win in seven consecutive nominations. So it pays to keep showing up.

Runner-up in "I'm stunned" category: Aaron Paul, who clearly thought that the Emmy for supporting actor in a drama would go to his former "Breaking Bad" colleague Giancarlo Esposito.

Least amazing result: The ninth win for CBS' "The Amazing Race," still one of the very few reality competition shows that Emmy voters seem able to remember when it comes time to fill out their ballots. Or, as presenter Ricky Gervais said, when "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" won for outstanding variety or comedy series for the 10th time, "Not again."

Biggest bleep: To Stewart, biting hard on the hand that's fed him so very many Emmys (although it turns out you don't get a free sandwich after 10).

The, yes, Hollywood is a liberal bastion award: To Moore, who after winning for portraying the former governor of Alaska and Republican vice-presidential candidate in the HBO movie "Game Change," said, "I feel so validated, because Sarah Palin gave me a big thumbs-down."

Winning color of the night (for the women, at least): Yellow, the color worn by Danes, Bowen and Moore, which turned out to be Emmy gold.

Beat-the-clock winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose acceptance of lead actress in a comedy for HBO's "Veep" began with a bit of shtick in which she appeared to be reading from fellow nominee Amy Poehler's speech. Guess when it's your third Emmy, you've already thanked enough people. But did she and Poehler have some sort of reciprocity agreement on this?

Beat-the-clock losers: "Homeland" creators Gansa and Gordon, who defied the Emmy gods and co-delivered an acceptance speech for outstanding writing, drama. "They said only one of us could talk," Gansa said. "But writing partners don't do that," Gordon said, as underneath them, an ABC chyron promised, "10 minutes to Tina Fey and Jon Hamm." And then, the music started playing, leaving the pair barely enough time to thank their wives.

Smartest speech: From "Modern Family" co-creator Steve Levitan, who won for directing an episode of his own series and said, "I want to thank me for hiring me as a director when no one else would. I wouldn't be standing here without my faith in me." Yes, kids, writing counts.

Lamest host stunt: The Kimmel-engineered Tracy Morgan "collapse." If you agreed to tweet it, hang your head in shame.

Most violent host stunt: The cold open in which the nominated actresses, most of them in bathrobes, got to beat up Kimmel in the women's room.

Most audacious/possibly ill-advised host stunt: Kimmel, the first host in (my) living memory to actually make fun of the In Memoriam segment, devoted one to his own career, accompanied by the musical stylings of Josh Groban. Thankfully, it was considerably earlier than the actual In Memoriam, which launched with Ron Howard's tribute to Andy Griffith.

British acceptance speech we missed most: By Maggie Smith, winner for supporting actress in a drama, who was, sadly, a no-show, her Dame-ness represented only by a head shot of Smith as the dowager countess, with a hat at least twice the size of her head.

British acceptance speech we're glad we didn't miss: By Lewis, outstanding lead actor in a drama for "Homeland," who, in his true accent, identified himself as "one of those pesky Brits," adding, "Apologies. I don't really believe in judging art, but I thought I'd turn up just in case."

Contact Ellen Gray at graye@phillynews.com or 215-854-5950. Follow her on Twitter @elgray. Read her blog at EllenGray.tv.

For a complete list of winners go to philly.com.

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