'Homeland,' 'Modern Family' sweep Emmys

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A new kid on the block was heavyweight champ Sunday at the 64th annual Emmy Awards.

"Homeland," a Showtime series featuring Claire Danes as a brilliant-but-bipolar CIA agent dealing with an international threat, scored statuettes for best drama, best lead actor and lead actress and writing.

ABC's "Modern Family" repeated as best comedy series.

Ms. Danes, who won her first lead actress Emmy two years ago in HBO's "Temple Grandin," held her own against such seasoned veterans as Kathy Bates and Julianna Margulies, as well as sparkly newcomer Michelle Dockery ("Downton Abbey").

Damian Lewis, who plays Marine-turned-terrorist-turned-politician, was a breakthrough as best actor winner. Referring to himself as one of those "pesky Brits," Mr. Lewis called his fellow nominees "golden actors in a golden age of TV."

"I really don't believe in judging art, but I thought I'd show up, just in case," Mr. Lewis joked. "Turned out all right."

The show won Emmys for writers Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff, who wrote the pilot episode.

Calling the show's writing staff the most talented he'd ever been a part of, executive producer Mr. Gansa also thanked the "brilliant" cast led by the incomparable Ms. Danes and the irresistible Mr. Lewis.

Winners in the supporting drama categories were "Breaking Bad's" Aaron Paul and "Downton Abbey's" Maggie Smith. Dame Smith was a supporting actress winner last year for playing the same role but in the miniseries category.

Mr. Paul, who thanked his writers for not killing him off, plays an annoying meth dealer among dangerous colleagues on "Breaking Bad."

Like last year, the cast of ABC's "Modern Family" kicked off the program with victories in the supporting comedy acting category. Eric Stonestreet, a straight man playing half of a gay couple with Jesse Tyler Ferguson, won his second Emmy.

Immediately noting there "is no Cam without Mitch," he said, "We get the awesome opportunity to play these two characters on TV and show America and the world what a loving couple we can be, and just like everybody else, and it's an honor to do that

"I never knew I'd be on TV as a gay man but I love the pictures of hairy chests you guys are sending me ... . It's really amazing, thank you for those."

Julie Bowen, last year's winner in the supporting category, beat out "Modern Family" co-star Sofia Vergara; the latter yelled "Bravo!" as Ms. Bowen ascended the stage.

"Modern Family" co-creator Steve Levitan took home the Emmy for directing in a comedy shortly afterwards, joking that a guest director on the show once told him "With your cast and your crew and your writers, a complete idiot could direct a great episode of 'Modern Family.'

"And I think we've proven that here tonight."

In the category of lead actress in a comedy, it looked as though the nominees would forego their usual highjacks. Last year, they all pretended they were in a beauty pageant; in another, all wore goofy glasses. Nothing looked out of place this time, until Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("Veep") began to read her acceptance speech.

Thanking the cast of "Parks and Recreation," she pretended to have switched papers with fellow nominee Amy Poehler. The latter ran up and handed her the "real" speech. Ms. Louis-Dreyfus, a previous winner in the category ("Seinfeld" 1996 and "The New Adventures of Old Christine" 2006), concluded by reading "Lastly, isn't it a shame that Amy Poehler didn't win?"

Jon Cryer, male winner in the category for "Two and a Half Men," merely called his victory "amazing."

Do-it-all Louis C.K. won in two writing categories: Variety Special and Comedy Series.

And speaking of amazing, CBS's "The Amazing Race" won yet another Emmy for best reality program, while "Dancing With the Stars" Tom Bergeron took home best reality host.

The category was introduced by "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, whose voice could not be heard on stage until someone pointed out that the microphone was on the other side of the Nokia Theater stage.

"This is what happens when you don't come to rehearsal," a sheepish Mr. MacFarlane said in his "Stewie" voice. "That's going to be on YouTube."

The variety categories were an amusing lot, with Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" winning again in the category of Best Variety Series. Tackled in the aisle by fellow nominees Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert, Mr. Stewart literally crawled to the stage before delivering a self-deprecating speech.

"Game Change" on HBO was a triple winner in the category of Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special, with Julianne Moore taking best actress and Danny Strong winning his first Emmy in writing. Jay Roach won for directing.

History's "Hatfields & McCoys" scored acting wins for Kevin Costner (lead) and Tom Berenger (supporting).

FX's "American Horror Story" was deemed an anthology and thus placed in the miniseries/variety category. Jessica Lange took home the supporting actress award.

Major Emmys

Drama series -- "Homeland" (Showtime)

Drama actress -- Claire Danes, "Homeland"

Drama actor -- Damian Lewis, "Homeland"

Supporting drama actress --

Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey" (PBS)

Supporting drama actor -- Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad" (AMC)

Comedy series -- "Modern Family" (ABC)

Comedy actor -- Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men" (CBS)

Comedy actress -- Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep" (HBO)

Supporting comedy actor -- Eric Stonestreet, "Modern Family"

Supporting comedy actress -- Julie Bowen, "Modern Family"

Reality-competition program -- "The Amazing Race" (CBS)

Variety series -- "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (Comedy Central)

Host for a reality or reality-competition program -- Tom Bergeron, "Dancing With the Stars" (ABC)

For a complete list of winners visit www.Emmys.com.


Maria Sciullo: msciullo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG. First Published September 24, 2012 4:30 AM


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