'Modern Family,' 'Mad Men' big Emmy winners

  • Article by: NEAL JUSTIN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 19, 2011 - 9:24 AM

Host Jane Lynch summed up much of Sunday night's Emmy Awards shortly after losing to Julie Bowen in the category of supporting comedy actress.

"Welcome back to the 'Modern Family' Awards," she said. "We've decided to throw them into the drama category and see what happens."

Good thing for drama winner "Mad Men" that the "Glee" star was kidding around. The sitcom collected five wins Sunday, including outstanding comedy, writing and supporting actor and actress.

Recognition was much more spread out in dramas, yielding a surprising number of smart choices from the normally predictable Emmy voters.

In one of the most pleasant shockers in Emmy history, Kyle Chandler beat out lead-actor favorites Jon Hamm and Steve Buscemi for his work in the final season of "Friday Night Lights."

"I knew for a fact that I would not be standing here," said a clearly humbled Chandler as he found himself standing there.

Melissa McCarthy's win for the sitcom "Mike & Molly" was another jaw-dropper, which perhaps had as much to do with her scene-stealing turn in the summer movie smash "Bridesmaids."

It was also a good night for the St. Paul-based Hubbard family. Their Reelz Channel aired "The Kennedys," which got a win for Barry Pepper, who played Bobby Kennedy.

Yes, "Mad Men" won best drama for the fourth year, a feat only accomplished by "The West Wing," "Hill Street Blues" and "LA Law," but the cast was once again shut out in the acting categories.

Martin Scorsese won his first Emmy for directing the pilot of "Boardwalk Empire," but you wouldn't know it by his staid reaction. I've seen people more enthused after winning a meat raffle. He should have taken a note from Margo Martindale, who won for best supporting actress for her frighteningly good performance in "Justified."

"Sometimes things take time," said the 60-year-old actress, who even went out of her way to thank USA Today's TV critic. "But with time comes great appreciation."

As acceptance speeches go, it was hard to top "Modern Family's" Ty Burrell, who managed to pay tribute to his late father and earn big laughs about how dad would have reacted to the fact that he wears makeup for a living.

"I would have said, 'Think of me as a very masculine lady,'" said Burrell. "And he would have answered, 'I already do.'"

"Downton Abbey" won five Emmys, including outstanding movie/miniseries, but there was also room to honor "Mildred Pierce's" Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce, who went on and on about how much fun he had "having sex" with his co-star. Winslet was too busy trying to stay in her dress to make similar wisecracks.

The ceremony itself was as much of a mixed bag as the dramatic category. Lynch did an above-average job, although some of her jokes got a little repetitive. (Yes, Jane, we know you're gay. And we don't care.)

For some reason, she kept trotting out a group of actors as a singing group called the Emmytones, an off-tune bit of comedy.

Then there were the annoying voiceovers provided by an actor who was smart enough to remain anonymous. When Peter Dinklage won a much-deserved award for "Game of Thrones," the voice commented that "Peter's a Marx Brothers fan. My favorite Marx brother? Richard." Ugh.

On the plus side, kudos to whoever cooked up the idea for all lead comedy actresses to come on stage when their names were called, as if this were a beauty pageant. Also, let's give high praise to those behind "The Office" spoof, with guest appearances from Amy Poehler, Ashton Kutcher and John Slattery.

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