The series is recognized as best drama series, while Claire Danes and Damian Lewis take acting honors
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Sep 24, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 12:19 p.m. HST, Sep 24, 2012
LOS ANGELES » "Homeland," which puts the battle against terrorism on American soil, was honored as best drama series at Sunday's Emmys and earned trophies for stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. "Modern Family" was named best comedy.
The drama "Homeland" stopped "Mad Men" in its tracks, denying the show a record-setting fifth trophy, and kept Bryan Cranston from his fourth consecutive best drama award for "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm an also-ran once more.
The Emmys refused to play it predictably Sunday, with Jon Cryer of "Two and a Half Men" earning a best actor award and Jimmy Kimmel proving a game but uneven host.
"I'm one of those pesky Brits, I apologize," said Lewis, who plays an American in the espionage thriller. "I don't really believe in judging art, but I thought I'd show up just in case."
Danes, eye-catching in a bright yellow dress that gracefully draped the pregnant actress, was effusive.
"My husband, my love, my life, my baby daddy, this doesn't mean anything without you," she said to her spouse, actor Hugh Dancy.
Backstage, Danes said she particularly appreciated one fan: President Barack Obama has said he's a fan of "Homeland," about a Marine and former POW who's suspected of working for al-Qaida.
"No pressure," the actress said. "It's way cool that he is a fan. It speaks to the relevancy of the show, and it's hugely validating."
The acting trophies, along with a best writing award for the show, gave "Homeland" momentum as it headed toward the best drama award.
Aaron Paul won best supporting drama actor for "Breaking Bad," and "Homeland" won the best writing award.
"Thank you so much for not killing me off," Paul said of his drug-dealing character's lucky survival. "Thank you, Hollywood, for allowing me to be part of your group," he added, noting he'd moved from Idaho to pursue his dreams.
On the comedy side, Emmy voters decided that "Two and a Half Men" with Jon Cryer and without Charlie Sheen is really good, as Cryer claimed the best comedy actor trophy.
"Don't panic, people. Something has clearly gone terribly wrong. I'm stunned," said Cryer, who on the red carpet before the show has expressed confidence he wouldn't win. Among others, he beat out two-time winner Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory."
Ashton Kutcher, who joined the show after Sheen was fired, wasn't nominated.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was honored as best actress in comedy for "Veep."
Andy Griffith topped a segment honoring industry members who died during the previous year. Ron Howard, who played Griffith's son Opie in "The Andy Griffith Show," said he belonged "in the pantheon."
"Dang if he didn't make it look powerful easy while he was going about it," Howard said.
Phyllis Diller, Davy Jones of "The Monkees," Sherman Hemsley and Richard Dawson were among the others honored in a montage.
Earlier in the show, Kimmel dared to mock the in-memoriam package that typically airs at awards shows with one showing him in various guises. Josh Groban sang a mournful "You're Beautiful" in the background.
"I will be missed," Kimmel said.
Maggie Smith was honored as best supporting drama actress for her tart-tongued dowager in "Downton Abbey," unhurt by the program's move from the miniseries category.
"Homeland," the domestic espionage thriller, won the best drama writing award.
"Modern Family" made it look easy as the comedy won the best directing trophy and Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen claimed supporting actor awards. There was at least a minor backlash online as some questioned whether the show had a deserving season.
Stonestreet was funny and touching as he accepted for his role as half of a devoted gay couple.
"I wouldn't be standing here without Jesse Tyler Ferguson; there is no Cam without Mitch," he said, saluting his co-star. "We get the awesome opportunity to play these two characters on TV and show America and the world what a loving couple we can be just like everybody else."
Then he turned saucy: "I never knew I'd be on TV as a gay man, but I love the pictures of hairy chests you guys are sending me, it's really amazing. Thank you for those."
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" proved unstoppable, winning its 10th consecutive best variety show trophy. Stewart, discussing the lasting value of his show, apparently forgot that what flies on free-wheeling cable gets censored on network television.
"Years from now when the earth is just a burning husk and aliens visit, they will find a box of these, and they will know just how predictable these (several bleeps) can be," he said.
Stand-up comic Louis C.K. won the Emmy for best comedy writing for "Louie" and for the special "Louis C.K. Live at the Beacon Theatre." Said the comedian after his second win, "Thank you to audiences around the country who still go to see live comedy."
Kimmel, who played it clean, set up one of the night's best filmed comedy bits by musing on what "Breaking Bad" would have been like had it aired in a G-rated, pre-cable era.
The answer: a spoof of the opening to "The Andy Griffith Show," with "Breaking Bad" stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, fully suited up to cook crystal meth, out at the lake with their fishing poles as the "Andy Griffith" whistling theme song was heard.
As a pungent punch line, they shot dead an unexpected witness: a friendly deputy billed as co-star Don Knotts.
HBO came into the night with a leading 17 creative arts Emmys from a Sept. 15 ceremony honoring technical and other achievements. CBS was second with 13, followed by PBS with 11. Discovery received six awards, NBC got five and ABC and the Cartoon Network won four each. Fox received two trophies.
» Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Eric Stonestreet, "Modern Family," ABC
» Writing, Comedy Series: Louis C.K., "Louie," FX Networks
» Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Julie Bowen, "Modern Family," ABC
» Directing, Comedy Series: Steven Levitan, "Modern Family," ABC
» Actor, Comedy Series: Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men," CBS
» Actress, Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep," HBO
» Reality-Competition Program: "The Amazing Race," CBS
» Host, Reality-Competition Program: Tom Bergeron, "Dancing with the Stars, ABC"
» Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad," AMC
» Writing, Drama Series: Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, "Homeland," Showtime
» Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey," PBS
» Directing, Drama Series: Tim Van Patten, "Boardwalk Empire," HBO
» Actor, Drama Series: Damian Lewis, "Homeland," Showtime
» Actress, Drama Series: Claire Danes, "Homeland," Showtime
» Writing for a Variety Special: Louis C.K., "Louis C.K. Live at the Beacon Theatre," FX Networks
» Directing for a Variety Special: Glenn Weiss, "65th Annual Tony Awards," CBS
» Variety, Music or Comedy Series: "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Comedy Central
» Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story," FX Networks
» Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Tom Berenger, "Hatfields & McCoys," History
» Writing, Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special: Danny Strong, "Game Change," HBO
» Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Julianne Moore, "Game Change," HBO
» Directing, Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special: Jay Roach, "Game Change," HBO
» Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Kevin Costner, "Hatfields & McCoys," History
» Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie: "Game Change," HBO
» Drama Series: "Homeland," Showtime
» Comedy Series: "Modern Family," ABC
The full list, including last week's Creative Arts Emmy Awards, is available at www.emmys.com.