66th Primetime Emmy Awards

Emmy StatueLast night, the winners of the Primetime Emmy Awards were announced in a live telecast. Usually held on a Sunday night, this was the first time the Emmys had been moved to a Monday since 1976. This year’s ceremony, like any awards show, had its ups and downs.

After last year’s bizarre Emmys, where half of the winners were a complete surprise to everyone, this year the Academy chose to, for the most part, play it safe. Continuing its streak, Modern Family took home the award for outstanding comedy for the fifth year in a row, while Breaking Bad won outstanding drama for the second year in a row. Three of this year’s acting winners in drama and comedy (Jim Parsons, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Anna Gunn) had won the Emmy last year, and seven of the eight winners in comedy and drama had previously won at least once in the last five years for their performances in the same role.

The only place where the Academy seemed to shake things up and vote for the unexpected, was in the movie/miniseries acting categories. Expected to sweep its categories, The Normal Heart was almost completely shut out by surprise winners from Sherlock: His Last Vow and American Horror Story: Coven.

First-time Emmys host Seth Meyers did a good job lightening the mood of the show without really crossing any lines. His commentary was truthful and funny without being malicious, and some of the planned bits throughout the ceremony were brilliantly timed to bring viewers out of awards show funk. The funniest moments of the Emmys included Billy Eichner’s Billy on the Streets segment, and Weird Al’s parody to the Game of Thrones theme song (“Type, George, type as fast as you can!”) which ended with someone handing George R.R. Martin, seated in the audience, a typewriter. One of the funniest unplanned moments was when Gail Mancuso, while accepting the award for best directing (Modern Family), informed the audience she was going to speak while gazing intently into Matthew McConaughey’s eyes, and proceeded to do just that.

The most touching moment of the awards show, as usual, was the In Memoriam segment. Accompanied by a beautiful rendition of "Smile" sung by Sara Bareilles, the list of people lost this past year was full of too many familiar faces. But it was Billy Crystal’s heartfelt tribute to his friend Robin Williams, whose death two weeks ago was a huge shock and terrible loss, that really brought a somber mood to the Emmys. His final words were a fitting remembrance for a man who brought immense joy to all who saw him: “Robin Williams, what a concept.”

If you missed the Emmys last night, check out a partial list of winners below and a complete list at the official Emmys website.

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