There were several surprise winners during the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards telecast, but cable’s domination of television's biggest awards remained a constant.
Overall, HBO won seven Emmy Awards during the telecast, topping all networks, according to the Academy Of Television Arts and Sciences. Showtime was second with four followed by NBC and ABC with three apiece.
HBO's miniseries Behind The Candelabra won three awards during show -- hosted by Neil Patrick Harris -- to lead all shows. AMC's Breaking Bad, Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, Showtime's Homeland, HBO's Veep and ABC's Modern Family, all earned two awards each.
Cable shows won most of the major programming categories, including a sweep of the drama category highlighted by AMC’s Breaking Bad winning for best drama. Breaking Bad, which aired its penultimate episode against CBS’ Emmy telecast, beat out last year’s winner, Showtime’s Homeland, as well as PBS’ Downton Abbey, HBO’s Game Of Thrones, Netflix’s House of Cards and AMC’s Mad Men for its first Emmy win in the category.
Breaking Bad will have a shot to defend its title — the second half of its final season is eligible for next year’s Emmys.
In a major surprise, Jeff Daniels beat out an impressive list of actors to win his first ever best actor Emmy for his portrayal of TV anchor Will McAvoy in HBO’s The Newsroom. Daniels bested last year’s winner Damian Lewis of Homeland; former three-time winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad); Kevin Spacey (House of Cards); the John Hamm (Mad Men); and Huge Bonneville (Downton Abbey).
Homeland’s Claire Daniels won her second straight lead actress in a drama award, besting Scandal’s Kerry Washington, who, if victorious, would have become the first African-American actress to win in the category. Other nominees were Vera Farmiga, (A&E’s Bates Motel); Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey); Robin Wright (House of Cards); Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men); and Connie Britton (Nashville).
First-time winners Bobby Cannavale (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) and Anna Gunn (AMC’s Breaking Bad) won supporting actor and actress Emmys in the drama category respectively.
Cable also swept all the top miniseries/movie categories. HBO’s Behind the Candelabra won for best miniseries or movie, one of 11 overall Emmys -- including Creative Artist Emmy Awards presented Sept. 15 -- for the teleflick. Candelabra bested FX’s American Horry Story: Asylum; History’s The Bible; HBO’s Phil Spector; USA’s Political Animals and Sundance Channel’s Top of The Lake for top honors.
Behind the Candelabra star Michael Douglas won the best actor award in the category for his portrayal of the flamboyant musician, while Laura Linney won best actress honors for her starring role in Showtime’s The Big C: Hereafter.
Eighty-year-old actress Ellen Burstyn won an Emmy in the supporting actress miniseries or movie category for her role in USA Network’s Political Animals, while James Cromwell won for supporting actor honors in the category for his appearance in FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum.
HBO’s political comedy series Veep won two comedy awards, including a second straight lead actress honor for series star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as well as a supporting actor win for Tony Hale. Merritt Wever was a surprise winner in the best supporting actress category for her role in Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, besting actresses Mayim Bialik (CBS’ The Big Bang Theory); Jane Lynch, (Fox’ Glee); Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen (ABC’s Modern Family); Jane Krakowski (NBC’s 30 Rock) and Anna Chlumsky, (Veep).
Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report was a surprise winner in the best variety series category, breaking The Daily Show With Jon Stewart’s 10-Emmy consecutive win streak.
The late Henry Bromell won the Emmy for outstanding writing for a drama series for Homeland. Netflix won its first ever major Emmy for outstanding direction in a drama series for House of Cards.