If you watched the Emmys–a celebration of the best television has to offer– you likely came away wondering how a television production celebrating TV and hosted by Renaissance man, Neil Patrick Harris, could be so drab. For one, blame CBS. Even in the Golden Age of TV, with an immense diversity of content, subject matter, and outlets, the Emmy’s weren’t particularly entertaining. Unless you count the awkwardness that was Shemar Moore as entertaining.
The rest of the blame for last night’s less buzzworthy awards show lies with who else, but Miley Cyrus. Where was she? I had nothing to talk about with my coworkers today. Well, except for this.
Back to the Emmys: there was a rather bizarre attempt to recognize choreographers, through dance of course, a dull opening number in which NPH didn’t sing (travesty), and of course, some head-scratching winners chosen by the Academy.
The worst offenders in regards to winners, through no fault of their own, were in the Outstanding Supporting Actor and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama categories. Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire) won for supporting actor in a drama over Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones,) while Jeff Daniels (Newsroom) claimed the lead actor Emmy over Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men.)
Also, Modern Family, you’re not that great; stop winning things.
Despite some missteps by The “Academy” of Television Arts & Sciences and CBS, the show recorded its most viewers since 2005, and there were many well-deserved winners, touching tributes, and funny moments during the 65th Emmy Awards Show to celebrate.
Here are my top 10:
1. The standing ovation for Bob Newhart
Although I’m bitter that Jim Parsons won yet another Lead Actor in a Comedy Award for Big Bang Theory over both Alec Baldwin/Jack Donaghy and the brutally honest Louie C.K., Parson’s award presentation with Bob Newhart was one of the highlights of the night.
Newhart won his first Emmy at 84-years old for a guest spot on the Big Bang Theory. After a lifetime in television and comedy Bob Newhart fittingly received a rousing standing ovation–the first and last of the night.
2. James Cromwell’s epic acceptance speech for American Horror Story: Asylum
Winning Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his role as Dr. Arthur Arden, (aka Nazi physician, Hans Gruber,) Cromwell’s unique speech was far and away my favorite.
Cromwell managed to give a speech that was both touching and personal, while simultaneously using more “time to look this up” words than a Thomas Pynchon novel.
The Webster’s sentence of the night was this gem: “To my indefatigable and indomitable JoAnna, who makes my life possible, and without whom I probably literally would not be here.”
Cromwell also dropped one of the sweetest verses of the evening: “And to my dearest Anna: the best prize a man could ever have.”
I thought nothing could top Cromwell saying, “That’ll do pig that’ll do.” But we may have a winner.
Congratulations are in order for the cast and crew of the innovative second series of American Horror Story; in any other year, one without Beyond the Candelabra, AHS would have taken home the top spot for Outstanding Movie or Miniseries.
3. A Breaking Bad night
Anna Gunn winning an Emmy was a highlight for me, though I don’t know how you true Breaking Bad fans may be taking it. The emotion/enthusiasm of those associated with the show was visible, both after Gunn’s win for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama, and of course after their big win for Outstanding Drama Series.
Even I know (and I know little about Breaking Bad,) that the Internet has been rather unking to both Anna Gunn personally and to her character, Skyler White. The Internet can be so brave, standing up to women via computer. Bravo Internet.
But after her New York Times op-ed on the subject and an Emmy win, I think she has silenced the critics.
At the peak of its hype and success, and with only one episode to go, Breaking Bad finally took home the overall best drama Emmy over Mad Men and Homeland. It was certainly appropriate, even if Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston were not chosen in their respective categories.
Even when the Breaking Bad buzz tapers off next fall, expect to see some more Emmys coming their way for this final season. Don’t think you needed me to tell you that.
4. Tony Hale and Julia Louis-Dreyfus with wins for Veep
Tony Hale’s acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy was incredibly heartfelt, as was the reaction of those around him when Hale’s name was read.
— Netflix US (@netflix) September 23, 2013
It was great to see Buster finally get his awards from Army, oops, Emmy, for his role in the HBO show, Veep.
And while an Amy Poehler win for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy would have been my pick, Julia Louis-Drefyus’s character on Veep isn’t the worst we could have hope for last night.
The Veep sketch with Tony Hale, playing his character, the VP’s first-aide, was hilarious and could be enough to gain a few more viewers for the HBO series.
5. Stephen Colbert bests Jon Stewart
The Colbert Report finally took down the long-running winner, The Daily Show, for Outstanding Variety Series and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series. Although Jon Stewart has an executive-producer credit for The Colbert Report, the win over The Daily Show was still a significant step for Colbert’s ever-growing nation.
Although Jon Oliver hosted in Stewart’s stead for much of the summer, it was still a great win for and a Colbert bump for Colbert himself.
Few things will ever top Colbert’s substitute performance in the place of Daft Punk. Especially not Daft Punk.
6. Kevin Spacey on-camera
Although he didn’t win Best Actor for his role in the Netflix drama, House of Cards, Spacey stole the night with his mid-speech camera swat (seen above,) and Spacey’s Congressman Francis Underwood monologue during the night’s opening skit.
Everything is going according to plan for Congressman Underwood, and for Netflix.
It was still a solid night for the online streaming company as House of Cards, though not succeeding in an all-out-coup, proved that its binge-watch model can be financially and critically successful; one of its director’s, David Fincher, won for Outstanding Direction in a Drama for the historic first episode of the political series.
And just wait until Orange is the New Black can compete. #AlloftheEmmys
7. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler being their excellent selves
What more is there to say? The hosts of the 2013 Golden Globe Awards, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler put an end to a rather bumbling opening sketch with some topical twerk-related catcalling towards Neil Patrick Harris.
Fey and Poehler followed it up by crawling in Jennifer Lawrence fashion up the stairs to present the night’s first award.
My nerd rage for yet another year of Parks & Recreation Emmy-snubbery aside, this duo continues to be consistently hilarious and successful, even taking losing at the Emmys in stride to raise thousands for ORPHANS. With John Hamm.
Tina Fey continues to rock it post-30 Rock, as she will be hosting the SNL season premiere, this Saturday, with musical guest, Arcade Fire.
Fey added to her trove of Emmy awards by winning Outstanding Writing, Comedy Series, along with co-writer Tracey Wigfield, for the final episode of 30 Rock.
8. The tribute to Homeland writer, Henry Bromell
Henry Bromell, writer and executive producer for the Showtime series, Homeland, passed away earlier this year. Bromell won the award for Outstanding Writer, Drama Series, which was accepted by his wife.
In an evening with several memoriam tributes, none were as impressive as that of Claire Danes. Upon winning her second-straight Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Emmy, she spent much of her speech honoring the deceased Henry Bromell for his contributions to the show, and to her personally.
9. Behind the Candelabra
The Liberace HBO film, Behind the Candelabra, took home several accolades; Michael Douglas won Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Movie and Steven Soderbergh took home the top honor for Director in a Miniseries or Movie. Michael Douglas nailed (pun intended) his acceptance speech by recognizing his “other hand” in the film, Matt Damon.
In addition, host Neil Patrick Harris, former host Jane Lynch, and performer Elton John took part in a rather LGBT-inclusive night of television that also saw Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Zachary Quinto, and Sarah Paulson on-screen as Emmy nominees.
I’ve never seen Nurse Jackie, but thank you Merrit Weaver for the best, shortest speech imaginable, and congratulations on the win.
If you want to know who wore it best on the red carpet, I would go elsewhere for that information. Vera Wang is not my forte.
Share your Emmy thoughts below.