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Entertainment behind the scenes

Mad Men, Modern Family win top Emmys as fresh faces abound

By Dean Goodman
August 29, 2010

The Emmys got off to a fun start at 5 p.m. local time with organizers getting six of the comedy categories out of the way at the outset. But first: the requisite intro, which is sure to mortify Bruce Springsteen’s stoic fans.

emjimmy5:05 p.m. Jimmy Fallon does Bruce Springsteen in a Glee-style version of “Born to Run.” He grabs Jane Lynch’s breasts, as she sings “Strap your hands across my engines.” A few minutes later, he ditches the Boss-style blue jeans and white-T for a tuxedo, and gets in the first Conan joke, asking “what can possibly go wrong?” when he relates how NBC asked him to host a late-night show. Camera pans to O’Brien, whose late version of “The Tonight Show” is nominated for best variety, music or comedy series.

5:12 p.m. BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY: ERIC STONESTREET (MODERN FAMILY). Tears are streaming down the cheeks of his on-screen partner and fellow nominee Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Stonestreet takes the stage to deliver a heartfelt paean to the entertainment industry in general and his co-workers  specifically. “All I wanted to be was clown in the circus when I was a kid growing up,” says the portly actor, who only plays gay on the screen.

5:21 p.m. BEST WRITING, COMEDY “MODERN FAMILY.” Two-for-two for TV’s hottest comedy, as co-creators STEVEN LEVITAN and CHRISTOPHER LLOYD take the prize for writing the pilot. Star Ed O’Neill’s mouth is open in wonderment.

5:25 p.m. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: JANE LYNCH (GLEE). “This is outlandish,” she says, thanking her parents from the south side of Chicago. “I rarely identify myself as anything – I’m Buddhist in that way, although I’m not a Buddhist … they do seem like a very calm people – but I am an actor.” She thanks her wife, Laura.

5:33 p.m. BEST DIRECTING: “GLEE.” The fourth nomination and first win for series creator Ryan Murphy. “Glee is about the importance of arts education, so I would like to dedicate this to all my teachers who taught me to sing and finger paint,” he says.

5:38 pm., LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY: JIM PARSONS (THE BIG BANG THEORY). It’s shaping up as the year of the newbies, as Parsons gets the award on his second attempt, ending fellow nominee Alec Baldwin’s two-year winning streak. Addressing the show’s writers: “Thank you for stories that are so worth working on, and God bless you for giving me a character to work on. I feel so lucky to be working at all, but to get to work on this character is really beyond fortunate.”

5:44 p.m. Presenter Neil Patrick Harris thanks the TV Academy for allowing a gay man to host the event two years in a row. Insert reaction shot from Fallon.

emedie5:45 p.m., LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY: EDIE FALCO (NURSE JACKIE) “I’m not funny,” she says, accepting her fourth Emmy (the first three being for The Sopranos). Her new show certainly seems short on laughs. 

5:50 p.m. BEST REALITY PROGRAM: TOP CHEF. The amazing six-year run of “The Amazing Race” is over.

6:02 p.m. BEST WRITING, DRAMA: MAD MEN. Creator MATTHEW WEINER shares the spotlight with co-writer ERIN LEVY, who says she really has to thank her boss. “You do,” he replies. Weiner and Kater Gordon, another former writer’s assistant, shared the award last year — and she exited the show shortly afterwards.

6:04 p.m. SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA: AARON PAUL (BREAKING BAD). First Emmy win and second Emmy win for two-time winner Bryan Cranston’s sidekick. “I love you, brother. You have no idea,” he says to a tearful Cranston.

6:11 p.m. SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA: ARCHIE PANJABI ( THE GOOD WIFE). ”This is just amazing for my career,” says the British actress, who plays the wily investigator in the new legal drama.

embryan6:13 p.m. LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA: BRYAN CRANSTON (BREAKING BAD). Finally, a familiar face. The third consecutive win for the actor, who says to his wife and daughter: “I love you more than baseball,” drawing a demused reaction from the latter after she asks her mother to repeat the line. To his writers: “It feels like all I have to do is hold on tight and you’ll take us where we need to go.”

6:23 p.m. BEST DIRECTING, DRAMA: DEXTER (STEVE SHILL). The Brit directed the season finale of “Dexter,” the one where John Lithgow murders Dexter’s wife.

6:33 p.m. LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA: KYRA SEDGWICK (THE CLOSER). A veteran newcomer. Sedgwick’s first Emmy win after four previous nominations for the cop show.

6:40 p.m. WRITING FOR MUSIC, VARIETY OR COMEDY SPECIAL: The 63RD ANNUAL TONY AWARDS. Award goes to DAVE BOONE, who gives shout-outs to Jay Leno and Billy Crystal. (Paul Greenberg, also wins for special material).

emricky6:46 p.m. As usual, Ricky Gervais is the highlight of the show, lamenting the lack of alcohol at the ceremony. “What’s the worst they think could happen? … Really, are we all going to go mental and smack someone’s head? There’s no one scary here, really. I’ve seen people here cry when they break a fingernail … There’s no tough guys. No Russell Crowe. He woudn’t be seen dead here. It’s TV. Or Christian Bale … Mel Gibson? I’m not gonna have a go at him. He’s been through a lot. Not as much as the Jews.” And with that, he sends waiters into the crowd with trays of beer, courtesy of his “Office” syndication money.

6:50 p.m. DIRECTING FOR MUSIC, VARIETY OR COMEDY SPECIAL: VANCOUVER 2010 OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES OPENING CEREMONY. The award goes to BUCKY GUNTS, whose name delights Gervais.

6:51 p.m. VARIETY, MUSIC OR COMEDY SPECIAL: THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART. Conan didn’t win. Stewart did not show up. It’s only the show’s eighth win in this category, after all.

7:02 p.m. GEORGE CLOONEY gets the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award. Betty White struggles to get out of her seat during the standing ovation. He’s only 49? Yes, according to imdb.com. He bemoans Hollywood’s (and his own) failings for moving on from a crisis after a few months. “Here”s hoping that some very bright person right here in the room or at home watching can help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heartbreaking situations that continue to be heartbreaking long after the cameras go away. That’d be an impressive accomplishment.”

7:08 p.m. SUPPORTING ACTRESS, MINISERIES/MOVIE: JULIA ORMOND (TEMPLE GRANDIN). The British actress thanks HBO for “trusting and understanding that there is an audience for a chick flick with bulls’ balls.” (we think that’s what she said)

emclaire7:15 p.m. SUPPORTING ACTOR, MINISERIES/MOVIE: DAVID STRATHAIRN (TEMPLE GRANDIN). Another Emmy first-timer. Coincidentally, the award was presented by the show’s star, Claire Danes. The real Temple Grandin gets up (twice) to wave to the crowd.

7:18 p.m. Jewel sings the In Memoriam section. Who did they miss out? Dennis Hopper got the loudest applause, followed by Rue McClanahan and Dixie Carter.

7:26 p.m. WRITING FOR MINISERIES/MOVIE: ADAM MAZER (YOU DON’T KNOW JACK). Best bad-taste joke of the night: “Jack Kevorkian, I’m so grateful you’re my friend, but I’m ever more grateful that you’re not my physician.”

7:28 p.m. LEAD ACTRESS, MINISERIES/MOVIE: CLAIRE DANES (TEMPLE GRANDIN). First win, second nomination. Temple gets up for a third time. The resemblance between  the two is staggering.

7:36 p.m. DIRECTING, MINISERIES/MOVIE: MICK JACKSON (TEMPLE GRANDIN). Third nomination, first win. HBO’s under-the-radar movie is killing “The Pacific.”

emjack7:38 p.m. LEAD ACTOR, MINISERIES/MOVIE: AL PACINO (YOU DON’T KNOW JACK). His second Emmy, following Angels in America. Is he smaller than Anna Paquin? A special shout-out to Jack Kevorkian, who stands up for some applause. “You’re all right, Jack.” He also names his hair and makeup guys. His lengthy speech is not interrupted by the orchestra.

7:46 p.m. BEST MINISERIES/MOVIE: THE PACIFIC. Tough race, only one other nominee: Return to Cranford.

7:48 p.m. BEST MADE FOR TV MOVIE: TEMPLE GRANDIN. Temple Grandin takes the stage.

7:51 p.m.-ish BEST DRAMA: MAD MEN. 3 out of 3 for AMC’s Madison Avenue drama.

7:58 p.m.-ish BEST COMEDY: MODERN FAMILY. Thus ends the three-year reign of “30 Rock.” And millions of Gleeks will be seriously disappointed. Maybe next year Ed O’Neill will get a nomination.

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