The Emmy Awards: Winners, Losers, and Analysis

  • Comments: ↓ 10 user comments
  • Publish Date: August 30, 2010

And the winners are ...

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Shows with Most 2010 Emmy Wins
1 The Pacific (HBO) 8 wins
2 Temple Grandin (HBO) 7 wins
3 Modern Family (ABC) 6 wins

Sunday night, the winners of the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards were announced in a ceremony televised live on NBC. Combined with the statues handed out the previous weekend in a separate ceremony, the biggest winners of the year were the Tom Hanks-produced WWII miniseries The Pacific and made-for-TV movie Temple Grandin, both airing on HBO. And, with a total of 25 Emmy wins, that cable network finished 8 trophies ahead of its nearest competitor, ABC (which also boasted the most victorious broadcast network show, Modern Family).

In just a moment, we'll reveal just how accurate Metacritic users were in making their Emmy predictions, and we'll also sample the critical reaction to the Jimmy Fallon-hosted broadcast, which was highlighted by an opening song-and-dance homage to Glee. First, let's look at the evening's winners and losers.

Listed below are this year's winners in each of the major categories (including a few winners previously announced in an earlier ceremony). A complete list of winners in every category can be found at the official Emmy website.

62nd Primetime Emmy Award Winners: Comedy
Category Winner
Best Comedy Modern Family (ABC)
Lead Actor Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Lead Actress Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
Supporting Actor Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family (ABC)
Supporting Actress Jane Lynch, Glee (Fox)
Guest Actor Neil Patrick Harris, Glee (Fox)
Guest Actress Betty White, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Writing Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, Modern Family (ABC)
Directing Ryan Murphy, Glee (Fox)

As predicted by nearly every expert, ABC newcomer Modern Family edged out fellow freshman comedy Glee for top honors, displacing NBC's 30 Rock, which had won the award in each of the previous three years. Actresses Falco and Lynch were also widely predicted to win their categories; it was Falco's fourth career Emmy win, but her previous three statues came in the drama category (for The Sopranos).

Stonestreet's victory, though certainly deserved, was more of a surprise; the former clown beat out several of his Modern Family castmates and last year's winner Jon Cryer for the trophy. Many people expected 30 Rock's Alec Baldwin to win in the lead actor category for the third consecutive year; instead, the award went to Parsons, who was nominated for just the second time in his career.

62nd Primetime Emmy Award Winners: Drama
Category Winner
Best Drama Mad Men (AMC)
Lead Actor Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Lead Actress Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer (TNT)
Supporting Actor Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Supporting Actress Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife (CBS)
Guest Actor John Lithgow, Dexter (CBS)
Guest Actress Ann-Margret, Law & Order SVU (NBC)
Writing Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy, Mad Men (AMC)
Directing Steve Shill, Dexter (Showtime)

As it did in each of the previous two years, AMC's Mad Men took home top honors in the drama category; the third-year show won a total of four Emmys in 2010. But it was fellow AMC drama Breaking Bad that dominated in the acting category. While Bryan Cranston's victory was widely expected (it was his third consecutive win), Aaron Paul's first Emmy win was not, but the Academy was able to resist sentimental favorites Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn from Lost to reward Paul's riveting performance.

Perhaps the most surprising upset of the night, however, came in the lead actress category. Kyra Sedgwick, star of TNT's highly rated cop drama The Closer, earned her first career Emmy over favorites Julianna Margulies, the Golden Globe winner for The Good Wife, and Glenn Close, a two-time Emmy winner for Damages. It was Sedgwick's fifth consecutive nomination for the role, but all she had to show for it previously was a 2006 Golden Globe award. And English actress Archie Panjabi was also a surprise victor; The Good Wife co-star's first-ever Emmy win (in her first nomination, no less) came at the expense of Mad Men's Christina Hendricks and Elizabeth Moss and Panjabi's own co-star, Christine Baranski.

62nd Primetime Emmy Award Winners: Movies and Miniseries
Category Winner
Best Made-for-Television Movie Temple Grandin (HBO)
Best Miniseries The Pacific (HBO)
Lead Actor Al Pacino, You Don't Know Jack (HBO)
Lead Actress Claire Danes, Temple Grandin (HBO)
Supporting Actor David Strathairn, Temple Grandin (HBO)
Supporting Actress Julia Ormond, Temple Grandin (HBO)
Writing Adam Mazer, You Don't Know Jack (HBO)
Directing Mick Jackson, Temple Grandin (HBO)
As it is most years, the movies and miniseries category was dominated by cable network HBO, not surprising since almost all of the nominees in these categories were for HBO programs. In fact, with Temple Grandin's victory, HBO has now earned the made-for-TV Emmy in seven consecutive years. Pacino's win earned him his second career Emmy (his first was for Angels in America), while Danes had never won before.
62nd Primetime Emmy Award Winners: Other Shows
Category Winner
Reality Program Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (ABC)
Reality Competition Top Chef (Bravo)
Reality Host Jeff Probst, Survivor (CBS)
Variety, Music or Comedy Series The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
Variety, Music or Comedy Special The Kennedy Center Honors (CBS)
Animated Program Disney Prep & Landing (ABC)
Nonfiction Series The National Parks: America's Best Idea (PBS)
Nonfiction Special Teddy: In His Own Words (HBO)

Bravo's Top Chef had a message for The Amazing Race: please pack your knives and go. The victory for the cooking competition means that CBS's long-running, globe-trotting scavenger hunt (a seven-time winner) is no longer the only show ever to take home an Emmy in the reality competition category. Disney Prep & Landing's victory was also a surprise; it was the first time since 2004 that neither The Simpsons nor South Park won the animated program award. But The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was able to do what The Amazing Race could not: win an Emmy for the eighth consecutive year, in the process denying viewers a chance to see Conan O'Brien deliver an acceptance speech for his canceled Tonight Show.

How accurate were the predictions?

One month ago, we polled Metacritic users on their predictions in 22 Emmy categories. As a whole, the user consensus picks were correct in just 12 of the 22 categories (55%), though many individual users performed better. The most accurate individual Metacritic users were:

  • Jayon (17 out of 22 correct)
  • Joshua Hunt (16 correct)
  • Mike Gordon, Alex Herrmann, Luis Sanchez, Marco Savoia, and Jason Simpson (15 correct)

How was the telecast?

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Well, it wasn't terrible. The consensus among critics seems to be that pacing was a major problem, while Fallon was a mixed bag as the host.

Everyone seemed to love the partially pre-recorded opening number, in which Fallon was joined by Jon Hamm, Jane Lynch, Tina Fey, Joel McHale, and other stars in a Glee-inspired number set to Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." But writing in The Hollywood Reporter, Andrew Wallenstein notes that though Fallon started strong, he eventually faded as the broadcast wore on:

He relied too much on recurring bits that just weren't funny, including reciting Twitter suggestions to introduce award presenters and toting an acoustic guitar into the audience for quickie sing-alongs with the likes of Kim Kardashian and Julianna Margulies.

Similar comments came from TV Guide's Matt Roush:

Fallon was an affable and hard-working host, killing in his music parodies but dying any time he turned to that awful gimmick of Twitter-izing the presenter intros.

Though he (and most other critics) also hated the Twitter bits, TV Squad's Joel Keller liked Fallon as a host, and blamed the show's producers for not using the comedian enough during the broadcast's second half. In fact, many critics complained about the pacing and organization of the broadcast. Here's Alan Sepinwall, in HitFix:

Given how marginalized the movies & minis genre has become - dominated by wonderful but mostly little-seen HBO projects - it felt bizarre to have so much of the climax of the night be devoted to them, and then to have the "Mad Men" and "Modern Family" series wins be rushed through as an afterthought at the end.

On the other hand, some reviewers felt the show moved more smoothly. In The New York Times, Alessandra Stanley wrote:

It was a refreshingly light and speedy night that got a little manic at times. And that was a smart tempo.

Another fan was Mary McNamara. In the Los Angeles Times, she wrote:

There was a spring in the step of the 62nd Emmys that's been missing from awards shows so generally and for so long that some of us had begun to believe it had been permanently unsprung. Ambitious, energetically hilarious, and, most important, almost seamlessly constructed, this year's telecast actually did what the Emmys are supposed to do — celebrate television.

At TV Worth Watching, critic David Bianculli also called this year's telecast "a solid success, as was host Jimmy Fallon, who had energy to spare from the film-to-live opening segment on."

In addition to the opening number, most critics also praised another pre-recorded segment featuring the cast of Modern Family (with the addition of George Clooney) as the evening's funniest moment, while presenter Ricky Gervais also generated laughs merely by mentioning the name of Bucky Gunts, a director nominee for the Winter Olympics. But several critics noted the shocking omission of late TV writer/producer David Mills (The Wire, NYPD Blue) from this year's In Memoriam montage.

By the way, the early overnight ratings suggest that this year's broadcast will show a very slight improvement over last year's ceremony (and may in fact mark a three-year high for the event). And another positive: the show actually ended on time.

What do you think?

Were you happy with the Academy's selections? Did you like the broadcast, and Jimmy Fallon as host? Let us know in the comments section below.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (10)

  • RayRay  

    It was great seeing Modern Family, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men rewarded. But nothing for Sons of Anarchy? I guess bikers scare Emmy Voters... One of the top 5 shows on TV.

  • Gov  

    Baldwin was ROBBED

  • conditionals  

    I feel like Fallon was probably curbed a lot by the producers. His 'reading tweets' segments on Late Night are invariably hilarious - there were probably some great submissions deemed inappropriate by the Emmy's runners. As for the other presenters, most fell astonishingly flat (those terrible 'jokes') though I though Gervais killed it by simply being himself. I was a bit annoyed by the award selections - Dexter was robbed, and Poehler deserved best female comedy - though I was glad to see Glee get the wake up call it deserved.

  • JCat  

    Love Fallon, but he can't carry a show like this - much better at Nick Burns - the Computer guy.

  • Mikey M  

    Fallon showed us last night why his Big Movie career didn't take off. He was very miss as host with those horrible guitar numbers.
    Liked the Glee opening just wish the rest of the show was as good.
    Breaking Bad again? Mad men, again?

  • J-Dawg  

    Martin Short should have won for his recurring role on Damages. It was a bold performance against type. Fallon shone about half the time.
    Lost, well, lost too much. I get this feeling it should have taken home some statues for... Something. Make it up. That's the whole point of those six seasons anyway, right?

  • HD  

    Glad to see Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul be awarded, they deserved it. Mad Men, on the other hand, did not. I can't believe how overrated that show is, it's no where near the majority of the other dramas' level. If I were to describe it in one word, it would be "boring", I have no idea what others see in it.

  • Michael  

    Where was 24? It is still the best show on TV (too bad it got canceled). It is the only show with true suspense and it doesn't have any characters that try to hard to be cool like John Hamm.

    Also who actually likes Glee? Glee is the TV equivalent to Bieber. Homoerotic and directed towards the Metro-sexual, and teen crowd.

  • veronica  

    The most egregious award of the night - to which you allude - was the Best Actress Kyra Sedgwick win. Any of the other four would've been fine by me (though I was hoping for Julianna M to win, as her performance in 'The Good Wife' was just wonderful), but this was not the right year for Kyra to be recognized. Very disappointing and just doesn't make sense given the field.

    Agree that the mini-series section of the broadcast was too long, though helpfully the entertaining Temple Grandin made it more bearable. And thanks for including the snippets of other critics' reviews of the Emmys - enjoyed those as an addition to your run-down of the show.

    @Michael I, a female several years past teenagerdom, love 'Glee'. I was happy for 'Modern Family' to win Best Comedy, as it's another favorite, but don't dismiss us Gleeks - no other show last season made me laugh out loud or feel as moved as much as 'Glee' did. At the end of each episode, I'd have a huge grin on my face. Not to mention what it's done for people's increasing love of musical theatre and some of the amazing actors/actresses and songs that come out of that tradition. (The luminous Kristen Chenowith, anyone?!)

  • Rick  

    @Michael: Sorry, how's Glee "homoerotic"? Because people sing and dance? Because there's a solitary gay character? (And if you consider Bieber homoerotic, maybe that says something more about you...) I'm a straight (though open-minded) male, and while sometimes the "drama" on the show makes me want to strangle half the cast, I keep coming back. It's definitely not the greatest show, but it's fun, and the musical numbers are usually great. (If you doubt me, search "glee safety dance" on youtube.)

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