Mad Men and 30 Rock led a pack of Emmy winners who successfully defended their titles at Sunday’s show, while Australian Toni Collette of United States of Tara was honoured as best lead actress in a comedy series for her role as a mother with multiple personalities.
Wow, this is insanely confronting,” said a beaming Collette. She thanked series creator Diablo Cody, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Juno.
AMC’s glossy 1960s Madison Avenue saga Mad Men, which in 2008 became the first basic cable show to win a top series award, won the best drama trophy for a second time.
“It is an amazing time to work in TV,” said Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner. “And, I know that everything is changing, but I’m not afraid of it because I feel like all these different media is just more choice and more entertainment. It’s better for the viewers in the end and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
NBC’s 30 Rock, a satirical take on life inside a TV variety show, was honoured for the third time as best comedy series, while star Alec Baldwin won his second award as best comedy actor.
“We want to thank our friends at NBC for keeping us on the air… even though we are so much more expensive than a talk show,” said 30 Rock creator and star Tina Fey, referring to Jay Leno’s new daily prime-time comedy show, which NBC likes to note is cheaper to produce than a scripted series.
Baldwin, accepting his acting trophy for 30 Rock from Brothers & Sisters star Rob Lowe, joked: “I’ll be honest with you. I’d trade this to look like him.”
Glenn Close’s performance as a ruthless trial attorney on Damages and Bryan Cranston’s turn as a meth-making, cancer-stricken teacher on Breaking Bad were honoured with the top drama series acting Emmys, the second consecutive trophies for both.
Australian Hugh Jackman won for his opening musical performance for the Oscars awards show.
In the night’s biggest surprise victory, Collette deprived Fey of 30 Rock of winning a second consecutive award in the category. Collette had previously been nominated for an Emmy, an Oscar and a Golden Globe, but had never won.
Fey took the stage a few moments later to acknowledge a guest actor award she received for her Sarah Palin impersonation on Saturday Night Live.
Close called it a “huge privilege” to be part of entertainment community, then tweaked her show’s writers.
Her role is “maybe the character of my lifetime, depending on what they do this season,” Close said.
Presenter Ricky Gervais razzed the Emmycast, which in recent years has had eroding viewership. He noted a joke was “just for the 5 000 people in this room not for the 5 000 people watching at home”.
Michael Emerson, who plays the cruelly devious Ben on Lost, and Cherry Jones, the stalwart US president on 24, were honoured as best supporting actors in drama series.
“Wowza,” Jones said. Emerson accepted his award for what he called “the role of my lifetime”.
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