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The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards: “Homeland,” “Modern Family” Win Big

September 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Melanie McFarland in Commentary | Fall TV | Live Coverage | TV News

Sunday’s telecast of The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards proved to be golden for “Homeland” and “Modern Family,” winners for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Comedy Series respectively. The night’s losers were the usual suspects — and by that we mean the viewers, many of whom no doubt struggled to stay awake on their couches.

You know it’s a boring Emmys telecast when the host, Jimmy Kimmel, has to call Tracy Morgan onstage to lay down and ask him to pretend he’s passed out, supposedly to bait viewers into tweeting about it. The point, you see, was to trick the millions of people who weren’t watching, but for some reason happen to be on Twitter, into tuning in. Did it work? Did we care? Those are hypothetical questions. Bottom line: the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards once again lived up to the bitter old observation that the awards show honoring the best television has to offer often ends up being some of the most boring television a person could watch.

While we can’t blame the telecast’s overall dullness completely on Kimmel, his hosting style certainly did not make the evening go by quickly or joyfully. Kimmel’s even-keeled, deadpan style flatlined on the Emmys stage from top to bottom. Even a filmed opening bit featuring television’s biggest comedy actresses punching him the face (they were knocking back a botched Botox-job, we were told) contained all the lightness and fun of a mugging.

On the other hand, with the exception of a surreal, self-congratulatory bit midway through the proceedings, Kimmel did not get in the way of the alleged festivities. Say what you will about his jokes ranging from merely lame to completely non-existent… at least the guy brought the train into the station on schedule. At the end of it all we still like Kimmel enough to keep watching his late night program, where his comedy style is right at home.

This is not to say that this year’s Emmys was completely devoid of electricity. “Homeland” delivered a shocking sweep in the drama categories, breaking “Mad Men‘s” streak to take home the Emmy for Best Drama in addition to stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis nabbing individual achievements for Best Actress and Actor. Many prognosticators expected the top races to be between “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” but as it turns out, “Mad Men” didn’t just come up empty in the Best Drama race, it was completely shut out  of all the major categories. “Breaking Bad’s” sole win last night was courtesy of Supporting Actor winner Aaron Paul, taking home his second Emmy statuette.

In total, “Homeland” took home six Emmys on Sunday night, a number matched only by HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” which was the big winner at the Creative Arts Emmy awards ceremony that took place on September 15. “Homeland’s” best drama win also represents a first for Showtime in a top category.

Other satisfying victories include Maggie Smith‘s Supporting Actress win for her work on “Downton Abbey” and Jessica Lange‘s Supporting Actress in a miniseries recognition for her scene-stealing role on “American Horror Story.” It bears mentioning that “American Horror Story’s” entry as a miniseries, and “Downton Abbey’s” designation as a drama, allowed both of these women to waltz away with hardware. Had they been up against each other in the same category, somebody would have gone to bed slightly put out this evening.  Here’s to awards show gamesmanship: sometimes, everybody wins!

In the Comedy genre, however, it was pretty much business as usual, aside from Louis C.K.‘s two wins. (C.K. took home an Outstanding Writing Emmy for his FX comedy “Louie”, and a second Writing Emmy in the Variety Special category.)  “Modern Family” snagged its third Best Comedy Emmy as well as a second Supporting Actor and Actress statues for Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen.  In the Best Comedy Actress race, Amy Poehler was once again passed over for her superior work on “Parks and Recreation” in favor of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, recognized for her performance on “Veep.” Meanwhile, Jon Cryer won a Best Comedy Actor statue, which will pair nicely with the Supporting Actor Emmy he has already won for all the time that he’s put in on “Two and Half Men.”

And the streaks went on: “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” won its gazillionth Emmy in the Outstanding Variety Series — OK, it was actually its 10th — and in spite of Showtime’s significant showing, HBO still won the total count competition. The premium cable network racked up 23 Emmys in total, helped along in no small part by “Game Change‘s” strong showing with five Emmy wins. The four it took home on Sunday include Emmys for  Best Writing, Best Directing, Best Miniseries or Movie, and a Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie statue for Julianne Moore‘s portrayal of Sarah Palin.

Among the broadcast networks, CBS scored 16 Emmys, with PBS coming in second with 12 to ABC’s total of nine.

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