"Modern Family" actress Julie Bowen, left, "Game Change"… (John Shearer / Invision…)
It was a three-peat for “Modern Family.”
ABC’s ensemble hit comedy about a loving, dysfunctional family won the Emmy for best comedy series for the third consecutive year, capping a night in which it also won awards for directing, supporting actor and supporting actress — four trophies in all.
Other big winners Sunday night — each also earning four trophies apiece — were “Game Change” and “Homeland."
If Sarah Palin was watching the 64th annual Emmy Awards on ABC, she probably wasn’t clapping. HBO’s “Game Change,” about then-Alaska Gov. turned Republican vice presidential nominee, won for best miniseries or movie, director, writing and best actress for Julianne Moore, who played Palin.
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Many thought Moore turned in an uncanny performance, but apparently Palin was not among them. “I feel so validated,” Moore said, clutching her Emmy, “because Sarah Palin gave me a big thumbs down.”
Meanwhile, Showtime made history with its freshman political thriller “Homeland.” It is the first time one of the cable network’s series won an Emmy for dramatic series. In doing so, it edged AMC’s “Mad Men,” which had a seeming lock on the category, having won it for four years running.
Besides best dramatic series, “Homeland” earned trophies for lead actress Claire Danes, lead actor for Damian Lewis, and for writing. It’s also the first time that a Showtimes series has captured awards in those categories.
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Lewis’ win in particular was a shocker. It was his first nomination ever, and his first win. Left emptyhanded for the fifth time in a row was Jon Hamm, star of AMC’s “Mad Men.” Also shoved aside by Lewis’ win: Front-runner Bryan Cranston, who had won the category three times for his role as a teacher turned meth manufacturer and killer on "Breaking Bad."
Westerns have been very good to Kevin Costner. He earned a directing Oscar for the 1990 Academy Award-winning best film, “Dances with Wolves.” On Sunday night, he won the Emmy for lead actor in a miniseries or movie for History channel's blockbuster “Hatfields & McCoys.” Ironically, Costner said, “We had to go all the way to Romania to film this very American story.” It was the second win of the night for the miniseries: Tom Berenger won for supporting actor.
In one of the evening’s most poignant moment, director Ron Howard appeared to choke back emotion as he introduced the annual moment at each annual Emmy Awards to remember those who have passed on.
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Howard recalled growing up on the set of “The Andy Griffith Show,” where he played Opie to Griffith’s Sheriff Andy Taylor, and learning everything that the meticulous actor had to teach him. “Dang, if he didn’t make it look easy,” Howard said of Griffith, who died this past summer.
Among the others also honored during the segment at the 64th annual Emmy Awards were Marvin Hamlisch, Tony Scott, Dick Clark, Ernest Borgnine, Harry Morgan, Donna Summer, Whitney Houston, Don Cornelius, Steve Jobs, Phyllis Diller, Gil Cates, Mike Wallace and Andy Rooney.
Jon Stewart was apparently so excited at winning his 10th consecutive Emmy for variety series for “The Daily Show” that he let loose with an expletive — or perhaps two — but it was hard to tell because he was bleeped by ABC censors.
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CBS’ reality competition “The Amazing Race” won its ninth Emmy, a stunning feat. The show that sends competitors racing around the world in pursuit of a million dollars has dominated this category ever since it was introduced in 2003: It has won every year except one, when Bravo’s "Top Chef" shoved it out of the way.
ABC’s hit comedy "Modern Family" started off -- and ended -- strong Sunday night. In addition to best comedy series, it won a trophy for directing for Steve Levitan, who is the show’s co-creator, writer and producer, as well as statuettes for supporting actress Julie Bowen and supporting actor for Eric Stonestreet.
In other top comedy awards, Jon Cryer won lead actor in a comedy series for the CBS sitcom, "Two and a Half Men." He'd previously won for supporting actor, but he was given a promotion of sorts (after Charlie Sheen left the series) and was nominated for lead actor.
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"Something has clearly gone terribly wrong," Cryer joked, clearly surprised. "I'm stunned."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus won lead actress in a comedy for playing the vice president of the United States in HBO’s "Veep."