May 22, 2015


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New TV era, old Emmys

Netflix looms over ceremony that picks Breaking Bad, Modern Family as top drama, comedy

Tina Fey, right, is embraced by L L Cool J as Tracey Wigfield, left, accepts the award for outstanding writing for a comedy series for their work on 30 Rock at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday
Jim Parsons kisses his Emmy backstage the 65th annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. Parsons again claiming the top comedy acting trophy for The Big Bang Theory. Parsons added to the awards he won in 2011 and 2010 for the role of a science nerd.
Edie Falco presents a tribute to James Gandolfini on stage. The actor, famous for his work in The Sopranos, died this year.
Jeff Daniels accepts the award for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for his role on The Newsroom.
Derek Hough poses with the award for outstanding choreography for his work on Dancing with the Stars.
Ellen Burstyn backstage the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday. Burstyn was honored at the Emmys for her work on Political Animals. Burstyn took home the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries/Movie. This is Burstyn's second Emmy. She previously won for
Host Neil Patrick Harris, left, and comedian Jimmy Fallon on stage at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre Sunday.
Jim Parsons, left, and Bob Newhart, who got a standing ovation. At 84, TV legend Newhart finallywon his first Emmy, for his guest-starring role in The Big Bang Theory.
Claire Danes captures top actress honours for her troubled CIA agent in Homeland.
Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler present the award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series. Merritt Wever of Nurse Jackie won the night's first award, for best supporting actress in a comedy series, kicking off the ceremony on a surprising note and with a remarkably brief acceptance speech.
Merritt Wever backstage the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday. She won for best supporting actress in a comedy series.
Carrie Underwood performs Yesterday by The Beatles at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.
Sarah Silverman performs with dancers at the awards ceremony.
Jim Parsons accepts the award for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for his role on The Big Bang Theory.
Michael Douglas accepts his Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus reacts as it was announced that she won the award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her role on Veep.
Anna Gunn accepts the award for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series for her role on Breaking Bad.
Stephen Colbert wins Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series.
Tony Hale accepts the award for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for his role on Veep.
Bobby Cannavale backstage the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Cannavale of Boardwalk Empire won supporting actor in a drama,
Tina Fey, left, and Tracey Wigfield won the award for outstanding writing for a comedy series for their work on 30 Rock at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday
Tina Fey, right, is embraced by L L Cool J as Tracey Wigfield, left, accepts the award for outstanding writing for a comedy series for their work on 30 Rock at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday - The Associated Press
Jim Parsons kisses his Emmy backstage the 65th annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. Parsons again claiming the top comedy acting trophy for The Big Bang Theory. Parsons added to the awards he won in 2011 and 2010 for the role of a science nerd. - Tribune Media MCT
Edie Falco presents a tribute to James Gandolfini on stage. The actor, famous for his work in The Sopranos, died this year. - Chris Pizzello / The Assocaited Press
Jeff Daniels accepts the award for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for his role on The Newsroom. - Chris Pizzello / The Associated Press
Derek Hough poses with the award for outstanding choreography for his work on Dancing with the Stars. - Dan Steinberg / The Associated Press
Ellen Burstyn backstage the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday. Burstyn was honored at the Emmys for her work on Political Animals. Burstyn took home the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries/Movie. This is Burstyn's second Emmy. She previously won for "Law & Order: SVU." - Tribune Media MCT
Host Neil Patrick Harris, left, and comedian Jimmy Fallon on stage at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre Sunday. - CP
Jim Parsons, left, and Bob Newhart, who got a standing ovation. At 84, TV legend Newhart finallywon his first Emmy, for his guest-starring role in The Big Bang Theory. - Tribune Media MCT
Claire Danes captures top actress honours for her troubled CIA agent in Homeland. - Tribune Media MCT
Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler present the award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series. Merritt Wever of Nurse Jackie won the night's first award, for best supporting actress in a comedy series, kicking off the ceremony on a surprising note and with a remarkably brief acceptance speech. "Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Um, I got to go, bye," Wever told the audience. - CP
Merritt Wever backstage the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday. She won for best supporting actress in a comedy series. - Tribune Media MCT
Carrie Underwood performs Yesterday by The Beatles at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. - CP
Sarah Silverman performs with dancers at the awards ceremony. - CP
Jim Parsons accepts the award for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for his role on The Big Bang Theory. - The Associated Press
Michael Douglas accepts his Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday. - Tribune Media MCT
Julia Louis-Dreyfus reacts as it was announced that she won the award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her role on Veep. - The Associated Press
Anna Gunn accepts the award for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series for her role on Breaking Bad. - CP
Stephen Colbert wins Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series. - Tribune Media MCT
Tony Hale accepts the award for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for his role on Veep. - The Associated Press
Bobby Cannavale backstage the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Cannavale of Boardwalk Empire won supporting actor in a drama, - Tribune Media MCT
Tina Fey, left, and Tracey Wigfield won the award for outstanding writing for a comedy series for their work on 30 Rock at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday - Tribune Media MCT

A faint smell of panic permeated the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday as the television industry as a whole finds itself in the midst of an identity crisis. "Tonight we celebrate the best of television," host Neil Patrick Harris said, joking: "For our younger audience, that's the thing you watch on your phones."

Content-wise, TV is in a remarkable place. But what exactly is TV in the 21st century?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus reacts as it was announced that she won the award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her role in Veep.

CHRIS PIZZELLO / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Julia Louis-Dreyfus reacts as it was announced that she won the award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her role in Veep.

That question hung heavy in the air on the CBS broadcast, everyone smiling gamely through the sweaty uncertainty. The solution, as offered by the Emmy show producers, was to continually look back. The opening monologue devolved into an unofficial tribute to Emmy hosts past, including Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Jane Lynch and Jimmy Kimmel, who ran up onstage to offer a "smidge of advice... because there's a good chance they won't ask you back next year. They didn't ask Jane Lynch back, is what I'm saying."

Sitting in the audience, Kevin Spacey then turned around to face the camera: "It's all going according to my plan," he said, channelling the scheming politician he plays on House of Cards, twirling his moustache in the name of Netflix and its streaming-TV brethren. Addressing the collection of Emmy hosts on stage: "Look at that parade of blabbering buffoons. They couldn't host a child's birthday party."

And then last year's Golden Globe hosting duo, Tina Fey (a winner Sunday for comedy writing on 30 Rock) and Amy Poehler, riffed from the front row, but at least their bit was zany enough to really work. "Take your pants off! And twerk it!" Fey ordered Harris. Poehler: "It might be degrading, but we would be degrateful."

But it is the digital revolution -- of DVRs and streaming and commercial-free binge-viewing -- that wrought an Emmys broadcast as a rage against the dying light. Or at least a white-knuckled insistence, nay reminder, that broadcast television is still relevant. Harris and Co. repeatedly looked back to the medium's impact from days gone by with perfunctory tributes that stood apart from the standard In Memoriam segment, and Elton John performed a Liberace homage, among many moments that focused on a time when TV was something far more defined.

"Liberace left us 25 years ago and what a difference those years have made to people like me," said John, who is openly gay in contrast to the closeted Liberace portrayed in the TV movie.

Back in the present tense, Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her second Emmy in two years for her performance on Veep, bringing with her to the podium co-star Tony Hale (who also nabbed an Emmy for supporting actor, comedy) to hold her purse, a terrific gag that echoed the job Hale performs on the HBO series. "I would like to thank... she began, then stopped, at a loss, before Hale prompted her: ... my family."

Jim Parsons took home his third Emmy for Big Bang Theory, giving a straightforward, earnest speech before interrupting himself, "It's so silly to be emotional, isn't it?"

Anna Gunn, who has weathered an onslaught of fan backlash for her role as the compromised wife of a meth dealer on Breaking Bad, walked away with the award for supporting actress on a drama.

In a shocker, Bryan Cranston, who plays Gunn's husband, Walter White,on the show, lost to The Newsroom's Jeff Daniels for best actor in a drama.

But the shocks ended there, as Breaking Bad, AMC's soon-to-end tale of White's descent into depravity, won the Emmy for best drama. It was the first time Breaking Bad had won the award despite three previous nominations.

Modern Family won for best comedy.

Best actress in a drama once again went to Homeland's Claire Danes.

The Emmy Sunday represented the third time Danes has taken home a trophy in four years. She won a best actor award for a TV movie in 2010 for her role in HBO's Temple Grandin.

House of Cards, the Netflix drama, came away with only one Emmy on the night, for David Fincher's direction of the series set in the political halls of Washington, D.C.

Behind the Candelabra, the Steven Soderbergh-lensed HBO film about Liberace that was turned down by the big screen, won for best TV movie or miniseries.

By far the best speech of the night -- charming, flustered and succinct -- came from comedy supporting actress winner Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie): "Um." Long pause. "I gotta go, bye!" The soul of wit, as they say, is brevity.

 

-- Chicago Tribune, with files from The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 23, 2013 D1

History

Updated on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 7:05 AM CDT: adds photo, adds slideshow

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