‘30 Rock,’ ‘Mad Men’ Lead 2009 Emmy Award Winners as Best Comedy, Drama

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CHICAGO – Neil Patrick Harris hosted a joyful edition of the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night, September 20th, 2009, at which AMC’s “Mad Men” and NBC’s “30 Rock” were the big winners with Alec Baldwin, Jon Cryer, Kristin Chenoweth, Toni Collette, Cherry Jones, Michael Emerson, Glenn Close, and Bryan Cranston walking away with the major acting awards.

Harris opened with a musical number that could have been called “Put Down the Remote”. It kicked off a show that was surprisingly buoyant and well-paced. After hosting the Tonys and now the Emmys, the Oscars may want to consider giving the best host that awards shows have seen in a long time a call. After the number, Harris spoke of his love for TV, something that served as a theme for the entire night.

For the first time (and hopefully not the last), the show was split up by genre, handing out all the awards for comedy programming first. (Although it was kind of a cheat with the big award, Best Comedy, being saved for the end of the night. Just the acting, writing, and directing awards were presented early.)

61ST PRIMETIME EMMY(R) AWARDS--Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, the Emmys will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles Sunday, Sept. 20 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2009 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
61st Primetime Emmy (R) Awards—Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.
Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2009 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The night started on a fantastic note as the wonderful and highly underrated Kristin Chenoweth won Best Supporting Actress for “Pushing Daisies”. It’s too bad the show is off the air. Nice job, ABC. Chenoweth joked, “I’m unemployed now, so I’d like to be on Mad Men.

Harris and Kevin Dillon were robbed for the next acting award, Best Supporting Actor, which went to Jon Cryer for “Two and a Half Men,” after several consecutive nominations and straight losses to Jeremy Piven for “Entourage,” who was surprisingly not even nominated this year. With Chenoweth and Cryer both being unpredictable winners, the stage was set for an upset in several categories.

And it continued. Justin Timberlake, who had won the Outstanding Guest Appearance in a Comedy for his work on “Saturday night Live” presented the next award, Best Actress, to another surprising winner, Toni Collette for Showtime’s “United States of Tara”. Three acting awards and no winners for multi-nominated “30 Rock” was a surprise at this point in the evening, as most critics and TV writers expected Tina Fey to win here.

Best Actor in a Comedy looked like it might be where “30 Rock” picked up its first acting Emmy for its most-nominated year, but would previous winner Tony Shalhoub or beloved newcomer Jim Parsons steal the trophy? Of course not. No one can stop Alec Baldwin, who said “I’d trade this to look like him” in reference to his award’s presenter, Rob Lowe, and then honestly thanked Lorne Michaels for believing in him.

The reality awards began with Jon Cryer and Hayden Panetierre giving the Emmy for Best Reality Host to Jeff Probst for “Survivor”. Best Reality Competition Program went to “The Amazing Race,” a consistent winner in the category.

The Mini-Series and TV Movie categories were next and Kevin Bacon & Kyra Sedgwick kicked off the section of the evening by presented Best Supporting Actress to Shoreh Aghdashloo for “House of Saddam” and Best Supporting Actor to HBO’s great “Grey Gardens”. He jokingly said “I’ll make my speech as brief as possible in the hope that it won’t be interrupted by a Congressman or a rapper.

Other Mini-Series and Movie winners included Brendan Gleeson for “Into the Storm” and Jessica Lange for “Grey Gardens” in the acting categories. The winner for Made For Television Movie was HBO’s “Grey Gardens” and “Little Dorritt” took home the prize for Outstanding Miniseries.

The dramatic awards started with a surprising and well-deserved win by Michael Emerson as Best Supporting Actor for “Lost”. The winner for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series went to another shocking choice, Cherry Jones for “24”. That’s where the surprises stopped, as the final hour of the evening went relatively predictably.

Ellen Burstyn and Michael J. Fox had previously won awards for Best Guest Appearance in a Drama and presented Best Directing to Rod Holcumb for “ER”. The winner for writing went to, of course, “Mad Men” and its scribes Kater Gordon and creator Matthew Weiner.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series went to the fantastic Glenn Close for “Damages,” predictably repeating her win from last season. Lead Actor in a Drama Series was also a repeat from last year with Bryan Cranston taking home the Emmy again for his work on AMC’s “Breaking Bad”.

Finally, the two big awards of the night went, rather predictably, to “30 Rock” and “Mad Men”. A night that started with a few shockers finished with four winners repeating from last year. Congratulations to all the winners and good luck to everyone thinking of toppling Close, Cranston, “30 Rock,” and “Mad Men” next year.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

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Emmy Awards Study

MediaCurves.com conducted a study asking 500 Americans who they wanted to win this year’s 61st Emmy awards earlier this month. While the results found that that 42% of viewers favored Fox’s ‘House’ for the best drama and 24% favored ABC’s ‘Lost’, the Emmy Award went to AMC’s Mad Men, which was the viewer’s third pick with 13% of the votes. More in depth results can be seen at: http://www.mediacurves.com/Entertainment/J7522b-Emmy-Awards/Index.cfm
Thanks, Ben

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