TV News: ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Modern Family’ Lead 2011 Emmy Award Winners

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CHICAGOAMC’s “Mad Men” and “Modern Family” were the big winners for the 63rd Annual Emmy Awards and “Game of Thrones,” “Justified,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Mildred Pierce,” and “Mike & Molly” also won acting awards. There were a few surprises and a few predictable winners (including both major series being repeats from last year) on the show, which were hosted by Jane Lynch and featured a few upsetting choices but more deserving winners than usual.

After an embarassingly bad musical number involving Jeremy Piven, Kevin Nealon, and the cast of “The Big Bang Theory,” the Emmy Awards finally kicked in and started handing out awards. The first category of the night was comedy and the first prize went to the excellent Julie Bowen for her stellar work on ABC’s “Modern Family.” The sweep was just beginning for one of the best comedies on television as Ty Burrell took the next award of the night for Best Supporting Actor (and gave one of the best speeches of the night). That makes three of the six adult actors (Eric Stonestreet won Supporting Actor last year) recognized in the first two years of the program. Nice work. The show would go on to win Best Directing and Best Writing, leading Lynch to quip that they should rename the show “The Modern Family Awards” and throw the program into drama just to see what happens.

Jane Lynch at the 2011 Emmy Awards
Jane Lynch at the 2011 Emmy Awards
Photo credit: FOX

Without a nominee for Best Actor, it was about time to spread the wealth. After an awkward speech, Charlie Sheen presented the prize to a very-undeserving Jim Parsons for “The Big Bang Theory.” Parsons won last year and is very talented, but not taking the last chance to give the award to Steve Carell is disgusting. The actresses in a comedy nominees livened up the dead show by going up on stage as their names were announced as nominees. The prize was the first one that was a TRUE shock, going to the super-talented Melissa McCarthy for her work on “Mike & Molly.” We didn’t predict it, but nice choice. Melissa McCarthy rules and has ruled for years. Now it’s time for an Oscar nomination for “Bridesmaids.”

The program moved on to more of the most horribly-written banter in the history of award shows and a prize for Best Reality Competition Program, which went to regular favorite “The Amazing Race,” which had won every season that the category had been in existence before a surprise “Top Chef” win last season. “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” won the writing and best variety series awards, as expected, and one of the worst written/produced/edited award shows in history trudged on. With awful graphics, annoying music, and some horrendous editing, the Emmys seemed to be going for a new low this season in terms of quality of the actual production

The awkward show lurched forward into the drama categories by shilling for the new “Two and a Half Men” as Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher gave Writing in a Drama Series to “Friday Night Lights,” and viewers still paying attention perked up — could the final season of the great NBC program make waves? Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama went to the first category of the night we predicted correctly — the awesome Margo Martindale for “Justified.”

Ty Burrell at the 2011 Emmy Awards
Ty Burrell at the 2011 Emmy Awards
Photo credit: FOX

Martin Scorsese won a well-deserved award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for the pilot of “Boardwalk Empire.”

The acting drama categories continued with the tough competition for Outstanding Supporting Actor going to the well-deserved Peter Dinklage for “Game of Thrones” (our second correct prediction and not the last). Awesome choice, Academy. And the smart decisions went forward with the win for Juliana Margulies for “The Good Wife,” who gave a sweet, brief speech. The expected winner, Jon Hamm, lost Best Actor to the emotional favorite, the awesome Kyle Chandler for “Friday Night Lights.” With so many shows represented in the acting categories, it left the big prize up in the air.

The telecast moved on to the Movie/Mini-Series categories, which led off with awards for “Downton Abbey” for writing and “Upstairs Downstairs” for Best Supporting Actress, and continued with a prize for Barry Pepper for “The Kennedys,” the only actor in the mini-series deserving of an award and not a bad choice. Outstanding Directing went to “Downton Abbey,” and it seemed clear that the PBS mini-series was going to steal every prize from “Mildred Pierce” (except for Best Actress) but then Guy Pearce went on to win for Best Supporting Actor, making the competition more interesting. Outstanding Actress went predictably and deservedly to the amazing Kate Winslet in “Mildred Pierce.”

Finally, the telecast was on to the biggies — the actual best series and movie/mini-series. The first one was a battle between “Mildred Pierce” and “Downton Abbey,” with the “Masterpiece” series winning out.

Could AMC’s “Mad Men” make it four years in a row despite never having won an acting award? Yep. It could.

“Modern Family” won Best Comedy for the second year in a row and one of the worst awards telecasts in history was mercifully over.

2011 Emmy Award Winners

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Comedy: Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Comedy: Ty Burell, “Modern Family”
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series: “Modern Family”
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: “Modern Family”
Outstanding Actor, Comedy: Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
Outstanding Actress, Comedy: Melissa McCarthy, “Mike & Molly”
Outstanding Reality Competition Program: “The Amazing Race”
Outstanding Writing, Variety Program: “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”
Outstanding Directing, Variety Program: “Saturday Night Live”
Outstanding Variety, Musical, or Comedy Series: “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”
Outstanding Writing, Drama: “Friday Night Lights”
Outstanding Supporting Actress, Drama: Margo Martindale, “Justified”
Outstanding Directing, Drama Series: Martin Scorsese, “Boardwalk Empire”
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Drama: Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
Outstanding Actress, Drama: Juliana Margulies, “The Good Wife”
Outstanding Actor, Drama: Kyle Chandler, “Friday Night Lights”
Outstanding Writing, Mini-Series/Movie: Julian Fellowes, “Downton Abbey”
Outstanding Supporting Actress, Mini-Series/Movie: Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
Outstanding Actor, Mini-Series/Movie: Barry Pepper, “The Kennedys”
Outstanding Directing, Mini-Series/Movie: “Downton Abbey”
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Mini-Series/Movie: Guy Pearce, “Mildred Pierce”
Outstanding Actress, Mini-Series/Movie: Kate Winslet, “Mildred Pierce”
Outstanding Mini-Series/Movie: “Downton Abbey”
Outstanding Drama Series: “Mad Men”
Outstanding Comedy Series: “Modern Family” content director Brian Tallerico

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