The best moments of the Emmys are here
65th Primetime Emmy Awards blew through last night, sweeping along with it all of our expectations and predictions. Host Neil Patrick Harris even commented on the night’s many surprising wins, quipping, “This just in. Nobody in America is winning their Emmy office pool.” Upsets and coups aside, the award show also provided some amazing acceptance speeches, touching memorial tributes, and even a few moments of “WTF is happening right now?” And one of my absolute favorite moments was saved for last. We break it all down for you here.
The Best Speeches
Merritt Wever, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy winner for Nurse Jackie: “Thank you so much. Um, I gotta go. Bye.” Wever’s speech was the first one of the night, and also the shortest. Later backstage she explained, “I’m sorry I didn’t thank anyone. I was going to cry.”
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Michael Douglas, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie winner for Behind the Candelabra: “This is a two-hander and Matt, you’re only as good as your other hand . . . so you really deserve half of this. So, you want the bottom or the top?” Douglas’s speech had Matt Damon, as well as the entire audience and viewers at home like me, in stitches. Then he made a surprising move and thanked his “wife Catherine for her support.” Maybe there’s hope for a reconciliation after all!
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy winner for Veep: The comedienne accepted the award in character along with Tony Hale, who plays her onscreen aide. He carried her purse and fed her lines like, “I want to thank my family” and “I love them so much.” When it came time for her to thank the show’s cast, true to the show’s form, she included everyone but Hale. The camera even cut to Anna Chlumsky in the audience texting intently, just like her character Amy would. As far as scripted collaboration speeches go, this one was a winner.
The Biggest Upsets
One agony-inducing name: Jeff Daniels. I, along with armies of Breaking Bad fans, was crossing my fingers so hard for Bryan Cranston to win that they turned purple. To add an ironic twist, and insult to injury, I was watching the Emmys simultaneously with last night’s Breaking Bad, constantly being reminded of why Cranston deserved to win. The penultimate episode saw Walt sink into a despair even deeper than last week, which nobody thought possible, and all the while Harry from Dumb and Dumber was picking up the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama . . . I demand a recount.
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For only the second time in 11 years, The Amazing Race didn’t win Outstanding Reality Competition, losing out to The Voice. And for the first time in 10 years, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart lost the Outstanding Variety Show category, which went to his protégé, Stephen Colbert, for The Colbert Report.
The Most Moving Moments
Emmy night is not complete without some heartstrings-tugging tributes, and this year was especially emotional. An unprecedented amount of airtime was devoted to honoring the memories of five great television talents: James Gandolfini, All in the Family’s Jean Stapleton, comedian Jonathan Winters, Family Ties creator Gary David Goldberg, and Glee‘s Cory Monteith.
Edie Falco’s tribute to her onscreen husband was perhaps the most moving. She choked back tears as she said, “You all knew James Gandolfini the actor, I was lucky enough to know Jim the man . . . and it’s Jim, the man, the very dear man, that I will miss most of all.”
More joyous tears flowed when Jim Parsons introduced to the stage Bob Newhart, who finally received his first Emmy last week at the Creative Arts Emmys after more than 50 years in the industry. Newhart was received with a standing ovation, something that always, without fail, brings a tear to my eye.
The Moments That Made Us LOL
Without the traditional song-and-dance number, the opening sequence really benefited from the celebrity cameos. NPH made his usual tastefully funny jokes (“Tonight we celebrate the best in television. For our younger audience, that’s the thing you watch on your phones.”), then started getting interrupted by previous Emmy hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Jane Lynch, Jimmy Fallon, and Conan O’Brien, who each had their own advice for this year’s host. A seemingly bitter O’Brien reminisced about when award shows like the Emmys used to be watched by “over 900 billion people. Those were simpler times.”
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Then the camera panned to Kevin Spacey, who delivered a pitch-perfect House of Cards-style monologue about how the chaotic opening was all part of his plan to sabotage NPH. Brilliant.
The best part of the opening sequence, however, was when everyone’s favorite, always-on-point duo, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, popped up in the front row eating popcorn and repeatedly demanded that NPH “twerk it.” Can we all agree that they should start popping up at every award show, sporting event, political press conference, etc.?
Perhaps even funnier than the opening was the final presenter of the night, Will Ferrell, who showed up in a T-shirt, shorts and sandals, and with his three sons, who kept themselves distracted with an iPad as Ferrell presented for Outstanding Comedy Series and Drama Series. “Unfortunately, Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith dropped out at the last second,” Ferrell explained, “and they called me literally 45 minutes ago.” Ferrell is another one who could show up anywhere and nobody, least of all me, would complain.
The Moments That Made Us Speechless or Say “WTF?”
The JFK/Beatles tribute thingy, courtesy of Don Cheadle and Carrie Underwood. Whose idea was this? Besides sharing the same decade and political climate, one has very little to do with the other. Oh, they existed around the same time? Let’s package a tribute out of it and waste some airtime, and why don’t we do a segment on Ronald Reagan and Alf while we’re at it. Plus, The Beatles’ “Yesterday” does not lend itself well to Carrie Underwood’s nasally country voice. Not at all.
The extended choreography number interpreting the nominated TV shows made me so uncomfortable. I’m not a big fan of interpretive dance to begin with, but I can get behind flashy dance numbers and creative sets . . . when it works. For example, Downton Abbey and Mad Men are heavily stylized shows that involve passion and romance, so they make sense when told through the art of dance, but Game of Thrones and BREAKING BAD???! I think when the electronic version of the BB theme song started playing along to the pop-and-locking meth cooks, I let out a cringe heard around the world.
Did we already mention Jeff Daniels winning over Bryan Cranston? OK, just making sure.
The Best Moment of the Night
Obviously, the best moment of the night, which validated the entire award ceremony for me, was when Breaking Bad won for Outstanding Drama Series. With the show’s last episode coming up next Sunday (don’t even remind me, because I can’t, I just can’t), this was the best possible way for the best show on TV to go out. So yes, it was a really weird Emmys overall this year, but the ending made it worth flipping back and forth between channels.