Live blogging the 65th Primetime Emmys 2013

(image via (c) CBS Broadcasting Inc.)


Houston, the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards are upon us, and one thing’s for sure – we’re not in analogue Kansas anymore.

If ever you needed proof, any proof at all, that the digital revolution, along with more than a few movie stars like Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) and Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel) have cosied up to the big kids’ TV table, it’s the presence of Netflix, an online media purveyor, in the list of nominees.

It’s the first time the Emmys have seen fit to so anoint a non-traditional media channel, and with the pedigree of the people involved, it stands more than a good chance of making good on its nine nominations.

Another show which stands a good chance of finding some space in the awards sunshine, is runaway genre water cooler hit Games of Thrones, which along with the criminally un-nominated The Walking Dead, marks the rise and rise of previously niche geek-loved shows into the mainstream.

Quite whether they have risen to podium-height yet isn’t certain but the mere fact that the blood-soaked medievalist fantasy has been nominated is cause enough for celebration for this fan boy.

If past years are any guide though, it’s probably best not to get too excited about who will and won’t win since the Emmys do tend to favour incumbents who have won before, or those performing their prime time swan song, for now at least, such as Bryan Cranston who is about to bow out as the sadistic Walter White in Breaking Bad.

Quite where the cards falls (pun intended) is almost impossible to predict, and I am not about to pull on my TV Nostradamus hat for fear it will cover my eyes and clash with my tuxedo, but one thing is certain – the Emmys are making history tonight.

(As am I, as I attempt to live blog for the first time. Should this not work, you’ll be the first to know!)


10.05am (all times are EST Australia)

So binge watching finally makes it into an Emmys presentation!

Neil Patrick Harris sat himself down in a room pulsing with colour, multiple images, both retro and current, and attempted to catch up on an entire season of TV programs.

It was a fun nod of the head to the new phenomenon of binge-watching and a great way to get all sorts of tributes to TV new and old into the broadcast.

Even more fun is the presence of Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Jane Lynch and Conan O’Brien all giving NPH advice on how best to host the Emmys.

Conan was by far the funniest with a hilarious tribute to the simpler times of 2002 when there was “plenty of Storage and no need to have Wars over it.”

Turns out all the onstage dissension was masterminded by Kevin Spacey in character as Francis Underwood from House of Cards who said he was spurned as presenter. Hilarious!



Finally Amy Poehler and Tina Fey gave popcorn-fueled advice from the front row in 3D glasses asking NPH to twerk it since that’s why they go to awards ceremonies. When he refused, they began less than subtlely cajoling him to drop his pants. When NPH said he’d be “degraded”, Poehler said they’d be “de-grateful”.

They followed their fabulous “heckling” with presenting the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series which was won, and this makes me enormously happy, by Merritt Wever from one of my favourite shows in the world Nurse Jackie (who gave a short, sweet, shocked “Thank you, now I gotta go” speech and then walked off. Endearing as anything).

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Jane Lynch, Glee
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Anna Chlumsky, Veep


Onto Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series:

David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes
Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon, Louie
Greg Daniels, The Office
Jack Burditt and Robert Carlock, 30 Rock
Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, 30 Rock

This was won by one of my favourite people ever Tina Fey and her writing partner Tracey Wigfield, 30 Rock, who turned their acceptance speech into a witty performance all its own.

Onto Emily and Zooey Deschanel, in gorgeous matching blue, to present the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Tony Hale, Veep

Won by first time nominee and winner Tony Hale, Veep who thanked everyone he knew … very quickly but charmingly. It is always a joy to see genuine surprise, excitement and joy! A very deserving winner from a clever, funny show.




Robin Williams delivered a moving, heartfelt tribute to the one of the most quick witted comedian out there, Jonathan Winters, who left for that stand up stage in the sky back in April. I remember him fondly from Mork and Mindy, his rapid fire monologues a joy to watch. I am very glad he got one last moment in The Emmys sun.


Jon Hamm and Alec Baldwin, NPH’s “biological parents” were up next to present, in a rather stiff routine that didn’t quite fly, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:

Laura Dern, Enlightened
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Won by the insanely talented Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep who paired up with Tony Hale who plays her assistant on the show during her acceptance speech, prompting when she “forgot” who she had to thank including her family and the cast (she omitted Tony Hale who did a nice line in looking mock outraged).

And if you’re going to follow up Julia-Louis Dreyfus then why not bring on Wil Arnett and Margo Martindale presenting a recap of the Guest Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series -Bob Newhart who picked up his first Emmy! and Melissa Leo respectively  – who handed across to Melissa Leo to present Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series which went to Gail Macuso, a Hitchcock fan of long standing apparently, and a very talented director on Modern Family from this amazing field of nominees:

Lena Dunham, Girls
Paris Barclay, Glee
Louis C.K., Louie
Gail Macuso, Modern Family
Beth McCarthy-Miller, 30 Rock


Just before a moving tribute to All in the Family‘s Jeanne Stapleton by her on air son Rob Reiner, Jimmy Kimmel and Sofia Vergara presented Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series to the amazingly talented Jim Parsons, who won for his role as Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, a worthy if expected winner (though the thinking was Alec Baldwin would win for 30 Rock since  The Emmys do love a departed TV show):

Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock



Hurrah! Matt Damon and Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra, HBO) who gave every indication they were talking all about Liberace – talented performer, king of Las Vegas – when they threw across to Sir Elton John, in a glittery blue jacket – fabulous! – who premiered a new song “Home Again” as a tribute to an entertainer that deeply impacted him, both as a performer and a gay man (although the word “gay”was oddly never used).

Classic, moving, Elton John – just beautiful.

“Too  much of a good thing is wonderful!”

Agreed Michael Douglas.

[My only criticism would be – what was the point of it all? The link to the Emmys was tenuous really and while I loved the song and Sir Elton John’s performance, it didn’t really connect thematically to the show as strongly as it should have.]


Then Matt and Michael presented Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie:

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
Laura Linney, The Big C: Hereafter
Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals
Elisabeth Moss, Top Of The Lake

Thrillingly, Laura Dern won! I love her as an actress generally and in The Big C: Hereafter particularly and was so pleased she got to carry away the statuette. Well, after a fashion. Given she was away working, Matt Damon and Michael Douglas accepted it for her.

It’s a shame – she would have given one hell of an acceptance speech!


Turns out NPH has a case of Excessive Hosting Disorder, according to his co-stars on How I Met Your Mother who appeared in a mock Public Service Announcement. Turns out you can get hlep at the Ryan Seacrest Centre for Excessive Hosting where it’s time to “take off the bow tie and pick up the phone”. Loved it!

Off to give out the gong for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series were Blair Underwood (Ironside) and (Nashville)which went to Henry Bromell, Homeland who tragically died earlier this year. The award was accepted by his wife who gave a brief but moving thank you.

George Mastras, Breaking Bad
Thomas Schnauz, Breaking Bad
Julian Fellowes, Downton 
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones
Henry Bromell, Homeland

Then to my delight Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad, won her first Emmy (much deserved) for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – she was funny, touching, acknowledging her daughters as her “true north”:

Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Emilia Clarke, Game of Throne
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Morena Baccarin, Homeland
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men


NPH brought on the Emmy Gold Dancers, along with some very dapper shiny suited male dancers and to my unending geeky happiness, Nathan Fillion and Sarah Silverman for the”completely arbitrary” “Number in the Middle of the Show” which was big, colourful, loud and musical and thoroughly satirical and self-deprecating!




On came the fabulous Mindy Kaling and Stephen Amell whose onstage chemistry was a little lacking and awkward but hey Mindy is funny and gorgeous and Stephen’s handsome so who cares really? OK maybe I do just a little bit.

They awarded The Voice, the Outstanding Reality – Competition Program award which was kind of as underwhelming as the presentation leading up to it. But let’s be honest – this is not the sexiest of categories and everyone was expecting The Amazing Race to win am I right?

The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The Voice


And now we have Kerrie Washington and Diahann Carroll (4 time Emmy Award winner), who engaged in a much deserved much admiration fest before Kerrie presenting Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series to the debonair, talented Bobby Carnavale:

Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire
Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jim Carter, Downtown Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

Great speech racing to beat the musical “get off the stage will ya?” wind up.



Big surprise when Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series went to Jeff Daniels, Newsroom. I like the man, and The Newsroom isn’t bad but you passed over Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad? Seriously? I am gobsmacked! Gobsmacked! I love ya Jeff BUT Bryan freakin’ Cranston! C’mon! *shaking my head so hard it may just whizz off into a nearby wall*

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Hugh Bonneville, Downtown Abbey
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

While I was still in shock over Jeff Daniels’ shock win, Don Cheadle took the stage to deliver a love letter to television, touching on JFK’s assassination and The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 before passing on to a clearly nervous and uncharacteristically thin-voiced Carrie Underwood who in a rather tenuous link to the Cheadle’s monologue sang the Fab Four’s “Yesterday”.

(I am not convinced that either Sir Elton John or Underwood’s musical numbers were natural fits for the show; they seem awkwardly shoehorned into the program with no real reason for being there other than “we need music right?!” Surely if they think they need music, they could pick more natural fits such as the Glee cast singing and dancing or more tongue-in-cheek numbers by NPH.)


Hello Jimmy Fallon!

Playing with a rather playful up and down microphone no less, presenting Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series to Claire Daines, Homeland,  who apparently is a “accomplished dancer” as well according to the nice Emmy announcer. One nice touch – thanking deceased Homeland writer Henry Bromell. Beautiful.

Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Claire Danes, Homeland
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Connie Britton, Nashville
Kerry Washington, Scandal



Up next the Dan Bucantinsky and Carrie Preston, winners of Outstanding Guest Actor and Actress in a Drama Series respectively, who awarded David Fincher Outstanding Director in a Drama Series who alas couldn’t be there (and was no doubt all the more relaxed for it).

12 noon

Bazinga! Jim Parsons and Bob Newhart together – be still my sitcom-loving heart! How it could have taken that long to give Bob Newhart an Emmy? He well deserves the standing ovation he was given!

They presented Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series which had the most hilarious intros for the writers ever – my favourite? Oprah presenting the team from Jimmy Kimmel Live in her trademark song song amplified voice.

The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

Great win although my heart is torn since I adore Portlandia and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart in equal measure. Happy but oh so torn!

Parsons and Newhart hung around to present Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special which went to Don Roy King for Saturday Night Live for the fourth time in a row. Kinda predictable but man what a great down to earth speech.

James Hoskinson, The Colbert Report
Chuck O’Neil, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Andy Fisher, Jimmy Kimmel Live
Jerry Foley, Late Show With David Letterman
Jonathan Krisel, Portlandia
Don Roy King, Saturday Night Live

Next In Memoriam to Gary David Goldberg by Michael J. Fox. I loved all the shows this talented man produced and will miss his contribution to the TV industry. Very happy Michael J Fox got the chance to pay tribute to his friend.


NPH up next with Outstanding Choreography which is being announced on the Prime time show for the first time, with its very own song and dance number featuring all the nominees. Awesome idea and a far better musical number than either of the two songs. Inspired choice guys!

 Mad Men
Games of Thrones
American Horror Story Asylum
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
The Big Bang Theory

were all featured in the presentation along with past nominees accepting their awards onscreen above the dancers – it was bright, colourful, fun and a great way to showcase nominees! Awesome addition to the show!

Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum camemon stage to present the award itself to Derek Hough, Dancing With the Stars who was ecstatic and little forgetful about who to thank exactly! Sweet and endearing … and loved the red jacket!




Yay! Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders onstage together. I am now officially ridiculously happy. They presented, with impeccably comic timing, an understandably thrilled Steven Colbert with his award for Outstanding Variety Series:

The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

A deeply moving tribute to James Galdolfini followed, delivered by a clearly emotional Edie Falco who struggled at times, but only slightly determined to do justice to her dear, close friend’s legacy, to get through a heartfelt recounting of James the actor and the man, who was renowned for her generosity of spirit and loyalty as a friend. He is one person who will be deeply missed.


Anna Faris and Allison Janney from Mom up next. Comic gold! And in stunning bright yellow and dazzling purple.

They presented the award for Outstanding Writing for Miniseries or Movie to Abi Morgan, first time winner after two noms! Well done Abi!!

Richard LaGravenese, Behind The Candelabra
Abi Morgan, The Hour
Tom Stoppard, Parade’s End
David Mamet, Phil Spector
Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, Top of the Lake

Then on to Outstanding Actor in a Minseries or Movie … and the Emmy goes to … James Cromwell who I discovered is the only actor to utter the words “Star Trek” on Star Trek! Must file that away for a trivia comp. Best speech – thanked him wife for being the best competition a man could win. Awwww …

James Cromwell, American Horror Story: Asylum
Zachary Quinto, American Horror Story: Asylum
Scott Bakula, Behind The Candelabra
John Benjamin Hickey, The Big C: Hereafter
Peter Mullan, Top of the Lake



Denis Farina, Sir David Frost, Larry Hagman, Conrad Bain, Lee Thompson Young, Lois Smith, Roger Ebert, Eileen Brennan, Jeanne Cooper, Henry Bromell, Charles Durning, Alex Karras, Jack Kulgman, Julie Harris (many of whom I remember from my viewing youth) were just some of the many people remembered  in the general In Memoriam segment that followed, introduced by Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) and the head of the Emmys, um, what’s-his-name. It always moves and shocks me just how many people we lose in any one year. I know some people think the segment is cheesy – lord knows how; it is as moving as hell in my opinion – but I am glad these talented people get acknowledged.


Awesome! Marc Harmon and Andre Braugher – brilliant pairing! (If a little stilted with the autocue and lacking personality alas.)

There to present Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special to Steven Soderbergh who finally gets a lovely Emmy statuette after 3 nominations.

Steven Soderbergh, Behind The Candelbra
Julian Jarrold, The Girl
David Mamet, Phil Spector
Allison Anders, Ring of Fire
Jane Campion and Garth Davis, Top of the Lake

And then Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie to … drum roll please! … Ellen Burstyn, who gets her second statuette. Happy with this – she’s an enormously talented lady!

Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Asylum
Imelda Staunton, The Girl
Ellen Burstyn, Political Animals
Charlotte Rampling, Restless
Alfre Woodard, Steel Magnolias




Bryan Cranston and Claire Danes up next with Outstanding Actor Minseries or a Movie … Emmy goes to … Michael Douglas who deserves it for bringing Liberace so forcefully and flamboyantly to life. His speech was damn near hilarious – saying acting in the movie was a “two hander” to much laughter and asking Matt if he wants the Bottom or the Top – haha! Much wordplay there … is CBS having a coronary right now?

Michael Douglas, Behind The Candelabra
Matt Damon, Behind The Candelabra

Toby Jones, The Girl
Benedict Cumberbatch, Parade’s End

Al Pacino, Phil Spector

And they’re back again! This time for the Outstanding Miniseries or Movie – diverse indeed when you have Bible and American


Will Ferrell turned in casual clothes with his kids in what was obviously a skit, joking he was only called 45 minutes earlier to host after Maggie Smith and Helen Mirren pulled out. It was elegantly simple, very funny and was the perfect way to present Outstanding Comedy Series which surprise, surprise goes to Modern Family.

I do love the show – love it! – but it didn’t have the most wow-inducing of seasons and I kinda wish Veep and Girls could have got a look in, both of which regularly feature the sort of whipper-smart writing, brilliant acting and more laughs per minute than anyone that the Emmys should be recognising far more often than they do.

The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
30 Rock



And then to the other biggie – Outstanding Drama Series … will Breaking Bad bring it home? Will it?!

YES!!! Breaking Bad wins it and I am one very happy man. Well done!

Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men


And that my friends is it!

3 long hours, somewhat fun hours, leavened by Neil Patrick Harris’s restrained but funny hosting (except of course when he was going all out in his fabulous song and dance numbers where restrained is the last thing you want) and a few shocks and many quite predictable results. More analysis to come once I have a chance to do my back exercises … and oh yeah figure out why my Live Blogging plugin didn’t quite work as I expected (my fault, not the app’s I must make clear).

Some random thoughts

* Where does the lovely announcer of the winners get her facts? Not that they’re wrong I’m sure – just that some of them are so delightfully random. Tony Hale for instance was announced as being born in West Point, NY and growing up in Tallahassee, FL while Claire Danes was introduced as an “accomplished dancer”. Nothing with that but you did get the feeling the announcer was glancing down at their stats sheets in a panic and picking the first things she laid eyes on.

* Again, I love Jeff Daniels but still can’t believe Bryan Cranston lost to him. THIS. BAFFLES. ME. GREATLY.

*Merritt Wever rules and the fact she won for Nurse Jackie is a joy. And her speech was short and perfectly sweet.

* While the individual In Memoriams were touching especially Edie Falco’s one for James Gandolfini, kinda strange that they almost ranked people and gave some individual slots and most not. Luminaries like Jack Klugman and Larry Hagman were bundled into the general pool which was a real shame.

* Relevant musical numbers next time please. Actually relevant please. That is all.

* Please bring the choreographers back next year. That was insanely relevant and a lot of fun to watch!

* I love Tony Hale. What a great guy, brilliant actor and all around nice guy. Kudos to him for his win.

And here are TIME’s thoughts on this year’s primetime Emmys.


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