(Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)
Viewers tuning in to the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards could be forgiven for thinking they were watching an updated version of "Groundhog Day." The show was flavored with a taste of déjà vu.
Despite a few surprise wins — notably freshman series "Homeland" ruining the win streak of "Mad Men" as outstanding drama series — the ceremony was dominated by victors who had previously made trips to the Emmys winners' circle. In upholding what has become an unofficial Emmy tradition, the results in the dramatic, comedy and reality categories demonstrated that Academy of Television Arts & Sciences voters continue to lean toward the familiar when it comes to handing out honors.
Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," even made a crude reference to the tradition when he accepted his satirical news show's 10th consecutive Emmy for outstanding variety series. In a remark bleeped out by censors, Stewart joked that when aliens find a box of "The Daily Show's" Emmys after the Earth is destroyed, "they'll find out how ... predictable these things can be."
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That trait played out solidly at the end of the evening, which was all but anticlimactic as ABC's "Modern Family" collected its third straight Emmy for outstanding comedy series. That sitcom's Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen scored their second consecutive Emmys in the supporting comedy actor and actress races. Co-creator Steven Levitan quipped backstage that he had a bit of concern for the show's win streak: "I'm praying that everybody doesn't get sick of us."
In many ways, the show refreshed the adage of "the more things change, the more they stay the same."
In fact, the academy might consider changing the name of the Emmy for outstanding reality-competition program to "The Amazing Race" award. The producers of the CBS series carried home their ninth statuette for outstanding reality-competition program. Jon Cryer of "Two and a Half Men," who had previously won a supporting comedy actor award for the CBS series, took a risk in entering the race for lead actor in a comedy for the same show — and he came out on top. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who had previously won acting Emmys for "Seinfeld" and "The New Adventures of Old Christine," collected her second Emmy as lead comedy actress for HBO's political farce "Veep."
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Other repeat winners included Aaron Paul, who triumphed in his second consecutive bid for supporting actor in a drama for AMC's "Breaking Bad." Jay Roach, who won in 2008 for directing HBO's "Recount," won his second directing Emmy for HBO's movie "Game Change."
Tom Hanks, who has won Emmys for several HBO projects, including "Band of Brothers," "The Pacific" and "John Adams," picked up another Emmy for "Game Change," the winner for outstanding movie or miniseries.
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Sunday's victors join a large gallery of multiple winners. "30 Rock," which lost out this year in the comedy series category, had scored three Emmys for outstanding comedy series. "The West Wing," Kelsey Grammer, "Arrested Development" and veteran producer David E. Kelley have all been frequent winners.
But where there are multiple winners, there must also be multiple losers. And the prime-time Emmys now has its own version of the famously multiple Daytime Emmy loser, soap star Susan Lucci: Jon Hamm of AMC's "Mad Men." The actor lost his fifth consecutive try for lead actor in a drama series.