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As you may have noticed, the 2014 Emmys were held on a Monday night in August. While the show’s host, Seth Meyers, expects you to believe that this means the Emmys are on the brink of cancellation (after all, how can they be expected to compete with Bachelor in Paradise?), the truth is that NBC knows we’ll watch any awards show at any time, because awards show are The Best (even when they’re on at the same time as Bachelor in Paradise). As Meyers pointed out in his opening monologue, television is “the booty-call friend of entertainment” — and we’re all willing to take the call.
Here’s what happened during the 2014 Emmys:
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: While Amy Poehler tried to convince viewers that she was handing out the award for “Best Onscreen Orgasm in a Civil War Re-enactment,” in fact, she was simply handing yet another trophy to Ty Burrell for his work on Modern Family. Then he delivered a speech so unfunny that Poehler almost took it back and gave it to herself.
Girls vs. The New Girl: Allison Williams, who Meyers was contractually obligated to mention will play Peter Pan in NBC’s new musical, was forced to present with Zooey Deschanel in some sort of Girls death match. It was Louis C.K., though, who collected his sixth prize for Best Writing for a Comedy Series.
Biggest Show Stealer: Jimmy Kimmel took his two minutes on stage to show Meyers how hosting is done, calling out Matthew McConaughey for rudely winning all the awards (“Should we just give you the BET Award for Best Male Hip Hop Artist too?”) and generally cracking the audience up with solid charisma.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: As expected, Allison Janney took the prize for Mom. She hit the stage wrapped in head-to-toe velvet, in what one can only assume was a stylish tribute to George Costanza.
Best Directing in a Comedy Series: Even with Louis C.K. and Jodie Foster in the running, Modern Family’s Gail Mancuso won. She made the most of her moment on stage, making determined eye contact with McConaughey in the least creepy way possible before getting rightly played off the stage while talking about her parents’ 66th wedding anniversary.
Billy Eichner for 2015 Emmys Host: Meyers teamed up with Billy on the Street star Billy Eichner to run around the streets of New York and yell at people. In the five-minute break from boredom, they took up a collection for the cast of Big Bang Theory, talked about The Mindy Project’s and Tatiana Maslany’s snubs, and tried to get people on the streets of New York to name one Emmy nominee.
Best Male Lead in a Comedy Series: The delightful pairing of Bryan Cranston and Julia Louis-Dreyfus presented the Best Actor in a Comedy prize and because life (and awards shows) has no meaning, Jim Parsons beat out Louis C.K. and William H. Macy for the honor. Parsons is good, but he’s not that good. No one is. He handled the win in the classiest way possible, because even he seemed shocked that he won. Again.
Best Female Lead in a Comedy Series: Louis-Dreyfus took the crown again, because if she was good enough to win it twice, why not a third time too? As Selina Meyer knows, it’s hard to beat an incumbent.
Best Moment of Television History: During their presentation, they had a running gag that Louis-Dreyfus couldn’t remember that Cranston was a guest star on Seinfeld and that the two even made out on camera. On her way to the stage to collect her prize, Cranston rushed the stage and swept her into a deep kiss, until she finally remembered. Presumably it will win the prize for Best Miniseries at next year’s Emmys.
Best Reality Series: It’s unclear why networks insist on submitting shows to this category since The Amazing Race has won every single year since the category was created. Maybe next year for Dancing With the Stars — if, you know, The Amazing Race gets canceled.
Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Miniseries or Movie: Steven Moffat won for Sherlock, not only because he is a talented writer, but because a) he is British and everyone loves a British accent and b) his show stars Benedict Cumberbatch and no one stops Benedict Cumberbatch from winning everything (including the entire Internet).
Best Actress in a Miniseries: With bona fide movie star Julia Roberts competing in the field, it was a welcome surprise that Kathy Bates won for her work on American Horror Story: Coven.
Biggest Sign That You’re Not Watching the VMAs: The bladder-leakage ads that air during the broadcast.
Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries: Scott Bakula Quantum Leap-ed into the Emmys telecast to give the award to Martin Freeman for Sherlock, because it was the only way that Bakula could correct the error of the past after Freeman didn’t win an Oscar for Love Actually.
Best Director Dramatic Miniseries: They’re just making up the categories at this point, but still, everyone was thrilled that Fargo won something, even it was a category that typically only industry professionals care about.
Lead Actor in a Miniseries: Poehler and Meyers worked through some material before introducing “the two actors not rumored to be starring in the second season of True Detective” — Woody Harrelson and McConaughey, who showed up on stage wearing nearly matching outfits, making a few cracks about plagiarism and citing their inside jokes. They were on hand to deliver the prize for lead actor in a miniseries, which went to Cumberbatch for his Ice Bucket Challenge (O.K., fine, Sherlock). But since the world would probably implode if McConaughey and Cumberbatch were on stage at the same time, Cumberbatch wisely stayed home. For the good of the universe. He’s like that.
Best Fixers: Liev Schreiber and Kerry Washington presented together, giving hope to the possibility of a Scandal/Ray Donovan crossover, which, of course, would be amazing.
Best Lead Actress in a Miniseries: Jessica Lange won for her role in American Horror Story: Coven, because she is wildly talented, already has a few Emmys and might actually be a witch. That is enough for the voters this go-around.
Sad Fact: Throughout the show, as Meyers keeps inviting his talented and funny friends on stage with him (Poehler! Samberg! Hardwick! Key and Peele!), it becomes increasingly clear that all his friends are better than him at hosting the show.
Best Musical Interlude: Since every Emmys telecast needs a musical moment and Meyers doesn’t typically sing, they wisely conscripted “Weird Al” Yankovic to spice up some television theme songs. Highlights include pointing out that Jon Hamm is still Jon Hamm regardless of an Emmy win, that President Grant on Scandal was in Ghost, “Inigo Montoya grew a beard” for Homeland, and, of course, that the unspoken theme for Game of Thrones is “We need more scripts! Write them faster!”
Best Crossover: Andy Samberg dressed as Joffrey Baratheon to crash Lena Headey’s introduction for best miniseries, demanding to know why she didn’t love him as much as she loved Uncle Jamie.
Best Miniseries: Fargo deserved the win, but here’s the weird thing: Fargo is a miniseries with 10 episodes, while True Detective is a drama with eight episodes. In short: none of it makes a lick of sense and Sarah Silverman is doing it right.
Best Intro: “The only person from ER to ever amount to anything — Julianna Margulies!” Second best intro: “Let’s all do our best Ricky Gervais impression by giving a big round of applause to Ricky Gervais!”
Best Movie: Ryan Murphy’s The Normal Heart took the prize, which is actually a surprise, because it looked like Sherlock was going to sweep despite the fact that it was the worst installment of an otherwise stellar series and the small fact that it’s not a movie.
Best Pre-Gaming: Silverman won Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for We Are Miracles and delivered an impressive, seemingly off-the-cuff speech ending with this gem: “We are all molecules hurtling through space.” When you remember that she showed up on the red carpet with liquid THC, it all makes more sense.
Through the Looking Glass: When the man who directed the Tony Awards show wins an Emmy while directing the Emmys, it’s way too meta.
Best Mashup Opportunity: Gwen Stefani misspoke when she announced the award for Best Variety Series, calling The Colbert Report the Colbort Report. Someone should mash up Colbort and Surbort and make the Stephen-Beyoncé love child of our dreams.
Best Crashing: When Stefani miffed it, Jimmy Fallon took the opportunity to grab the Emmy and the mic before Stephen Colbert could take his rightful place. Colbert expertly trolled him, though, letting him be his mouthpiece and almost getting him to say bulls—t live.
Best Supporting Actor: Aaron Paul got the award, and it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t deserve it, but Peter Dinklage, Josh Charles, Mandy Patinkin and Jon Voight all did incredible work, and if life were fair, the statuette would move from home to home like the Stanley Cup.
Most Sexist Moment: The president of the television industry (or something) had Sofia Vergara step up on a spinning pedestal so we could all objectify her. Don’t worry — there’s a GIF so you can objectify her at home.
In Memoriam: The annual sad parade was a brutal reminder of all the talent we lost this year including Paul Walker and Maya Angelou, who probably never expected to be in a sentence together, along with Casey Kasem, Meshach Taylor, the Professor from Gilligan’s Island, Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Ann B. Davis, Eli Wallach, Shirley Temple, and so many more. It’s unclear whether Vergara had to spin the entire time.
Saddest Tribute: Robin Williams was given his own in-memoriam moment with Billy Crystal coming out to memorialize his friend, whom he called “the brightest star in the comedy galaxy.” It was moving, heartfelt and longer than 23 seconds.
Outstanding Multi-Hyphenate: Director-Writer-Cinematographer Cary Joji Fukunaga took the best-director prize for his work on True Detective. Fun facts: his first job in Hollywood was working as a PA on the video for Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor,” he was also a pro snowboarder and, in fact, he is not Riff Raff.
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: As expected, Anna Gunn won for Breaking Bad. Guess everyone doesn’t hate Skyler White after all.
Best Product Placement: After an ad for new show State of Affairs, the show’s star Katherine Heigl appeared on stage to announce Best Supporting Actor and Actress in a Drama. Prizes were given offstage, but Janney won for Masters of Sex and Joe Morton for Scandal.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama: Margulies won for her excellent work on The Good Wife and went on stage to point out that it is a wonderful time for women on television (Vergara notwithstanding).
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama: Cranston completed the Breaking Bad sweep of the Emmys. He graciously got on stage and admitted that even he considered voting for McConaughey.
Least Surprising Awards: Modern Family won for Best Comedy and Breaking Bad won for Best Drama. At this point it seems clear that NBC is actually running the 2013 Emmy broadcast, and we’re all a part of a reboot of Punk’d.