Skip to main content

2013 Emmys: On a wild night, things finally break 'Bad's' way

By Todd Leopold, CNN
updated 10:00 AM EDT, Mon September 23, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "Breaking Bad' wins outstanding drama
  • NEW: "Modern Family" wins outstanding comedy
  • NEW: "Behind the Candelabra" wins for movie, lead actor, director

(CNN) -- On a wild night of upsets at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, virtually nothing seemed to be going "Breaking Bad's" way.

The AMC series, which concludes its much-lauded run next Sunday, didn't win a lot of honors it was expected to. Bryan Cranston, who was tabbed for outstanding lead actor in a drama, lost to "The Newsroom's" Jeff Daniels. Co-star Aaron Paul, who could have won supporting actor in a drama, ended up watching "Boardwalk Empire's" Bobby Cannavale take home the trophy.

But when it came time for the big prize, outstanding drama, things broke for "Bad."

"Holy crap! I did not see this coming," said creator Vince Gilligan, citing all of the other nominated shows in "this golden age of television" "Bad" felt so fortunate to be a part of.

Outstanding drama series: "Breaking Bad" Outstanding drama series: "Breaking Bad"
2013 Emmy winners
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: 2013 Emmy winners Photos: 2013 Emmy winners
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on 'Enough Said'
"Breaking Bad" stars Aaron Paul, left, and Bryan Cranston. AMC's "Breaking Bad" took home the Emmys' top honor for outstanding drama series. "Breaking Bad" stars Aaron Paul, left, and Bryan Cranston. AMC's "Breaking Bad" took home the Emmys' top honor for outstanding drama series.
2013 Emmys: The red carpet
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
2013 Emmys: Stars on the red carpet 2013 Emmys: Stars on the red carpet
Fans in frenzy over 'Breaking Bad' end

"This is the answer to a wish and a prayer for me," said Cranston backstage. "I've been blessed in the past and this show has been nominated in the past, but what I really wanted was what we got, to celebrate the win for the writing crew and cast. This is one helluva party, and what a way to go out."

Gilligan paid tribute to Netflix, the service behind another drama nominee, "House of Cards."

"Netflix kept us on the air," he said. "The show would not have lasted beyond Season 2 if not for streaming on demand."

Emmys: The winners list

"Breaking Bad's" Anna Gunn also won an Emmy, for outstanding lead actress.

Like "Breaking Bad" itself, which has taken viewers in strange directions over five seasons of turning mild-mannered chemistry teacher Walter White into meth king Heisenberg, the Emmys were anything but predictable.

Oh, "Modern Family" took home its fourth straight Emmy for outstanding comedy, and Jim Parsons won lead actor in a comedy, but even those honors were uncertain after a night in which such shows as "Veep," "The Big C" and "The Voice" won awards over perennial champs. And the Emmys like nothing better than to honor its perennial champs.

As host Neil Patrick Harris said at one point, "This just in: Nobody in America is winning their Emmy office pool."

Past Emmys hosts show up to help Neil Patrick Harris

'I don't know how to feel yet'

The tone was set right away, with best supporting actress in a comedy series going to "Nurse Jackie's" Merritt Wever.

"Thank you so much. Um, I gotta go. Bye," said Wever in her abrupt acceptance speech.

Wever beat out such contenders as "30 Rock's" Jane Krakowski and "Glee's" Jane Lynch.

Backstage, Wever was only slightly less stunned.

"I'm scared, honestly," she said about holding the Emmy. "I'm scared because it was unexpected, so I don't know how to feel yet. I have therapy next week."

Later in the show, Daniels was equally bemused at winning for his performance as a news anchor on "The Newsroom."

"Well, crap. Didn't expect this," he said.

"You're glad to be invited to the party, there are six of us nominated. There easily could have been 10 other guys," he added backstage. "I felt the work stood up to what the other guys were doing, but we're all doing different things, so it's anybody's game to win. I was happy to win, but surprised."

Daniels beat Cranston, "House of Cards' " Kevin Spacey and "Homeland's" Damian Lewis, among others.

"Homeland," last year's drama series winner, did pick up a couple trophies. The late Henry Bromell, who wrote the "Q&A" episode of the show, earned an Emmy for writing, and Claire Danes won the Emmy for actress in a drama series.

'Candelabra' lights up

The closest thing to a sweep came in the miniseries/movie categories, where the HBO film "Behind the Candelabra" won three Emmys on the night, including outstanding miniseries/movie. Also honored: director Steven Soderbergh and star Michael Douglas.

The film won eight Emmys at last week's Creative Arts Emmys, giving it wins in 11 out of its 15 nominations.

Douglas, who played Liberace in the biopic, joked with co-star Matt Damon, who played the pianist's lover, Scott Thorson.

"You deserve half of this," Douglas said, holding up the award. "Do you want the bottom or the top?"

Upsets all around

But, mostly, it was a night for upsets.

"The Voice" beat perennial winner "Amazing Race" for reality-competition program. It's only the second time in 11 years "Amazing Race" hasn't won.

"The Colbert Report" won outstanding variety series and for variety series writing, also beating a perennial winner, "The Daily Show."

"It's an honor to be nominated, but it's more than that -- it's also a lie," said "Colbert" host Stephen Colbert in accepting the variety series Emmy. He thanked "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, who gave Colbert the opportunity to host his own show.

"Veep" took an early lead on Emmy night, winning acting honors for star Julia Louis-Dreyfus and co-star Tony Hale. Louis-Dreyfus beat "30 Rock's" Tina Fey and "Parks and Recreation's" Amy Poehler, among others.

But it wasn't quite enough to unseat "Modern Family" for comedy series. "Family" also won an Emmy for its directing, which went to Gail Mancuso.

Jokes and tributes

Host Neil Patrick Harris kept things moving, despite uneven material.

"Tonight we celebrate the best in television," he said in his opening monologue. "For younger audiences, that's the thing you watch on your phones."

He also cracked a Paula Deen joke to a groan. "Not soon enough?" he asked.

But Harris rebounded thanks to some winning song-and-dance moves, including a song at the halfway mark called "The Number in the Middle of the Show."

Other Emmy segments went for the heartstrings. Michael J. Fox gave a moving tribute to producer Gary David Goldberg, who hired the actor for "Family Ties." Edie Falco got emotional paying homage to her "Sopranos" co-star, James Gandolfini.

And Bob Newhart, who showed up gnomishly at one point alongside Ernst & Young accountants, received a standing ovation when he was introduced by "Big Bang Theory's" Parsons. Last week at the Creative Arts Emmys, Newhart finally won an Emmy for his guest spot on the show. It was his first Emmy in seven nominations.

Bob Newhart finally wins first Emmy

"They wrote an awful good script," Newhart said of his "Big Bang Theory" colleagues. "They gave me a lot of hanging curveballs, and I kept swinging at them."

On this night, Emmy mostly threw knuckleballs. But in the end, "Modern Family" and 'Breaking Bad" connected -- and scored.

Alan Duke and David Daniel contributed to this story.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Emmy Awards 2013
updated 1:45 PM EDT, Thu July 18, 2013
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, with help from "Breaking Bad's" Aaron Paul and host, Neil Patrick Harris, has revealed the nominees for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.
updated 2:20 PM EDT, Thu September 19, 2013
In 1995, Kerry Washington had just launched her career. Oh, what a difference a few years can make.
updated 3:03 PM EDT, Mon September 16, 2013
It's hard to believe, but TV veteran Bob Newhart has just snagged his very first Emmy.
updated 9:51 PM EDT, Tue September 17, 2013
The best part of the Emmys? That's easy: the red carpet. Check out looks from the past 30 years.
updated 12:27 PM EDT, Thu July 18, 2013
Remember Netflix, that little video rental outfit that sent you DVDs via the U.S. mail? This year it joined the big boys, with its "House of Cards" up for Emmys.
updated 8:23 AM EDT, Wed September 18, 2013
With its lack of surprises and excitement, we might as well call them the "Meh-mmys."
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Fri September 20, 2013
Neil Patrick Harris isn't the only star who knows how to host a great awards show. See the best -- and worst -- hosts from Emmy Awards past.
updated 10:25 AM EDT, Thu September 19, 2013
Right now, Bryan Cranston is The Man.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Fri September 20, 2013
Emmys host Neil Patrick Harris isn't just an actor, singer, dancer, director and writer — he's also a seasoned awards show producer.
updated 12:12 PM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
Here's a look at what you need to know about the Primetime Emmy Awards.
ADVERTISEMENT