"Homeland" played the role of spoiler Sunday at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, taking prizes that seemed reserved for the likes of "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad."
Showtime's espionage thriller was named best drama, blocking the chance for AMC's "Mad Men" to make history by winning the trophy for the fifth year in a row. "Homeland" also scored wins for best dramatic actor (Damian Lewis) and actress (Claire Danes), and for best writing.
Lewis's win for playing Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody denied Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad" his fourth Emmy and once again made "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm an also-ran.
"I'm one of those pesky Brits. Apologies," Lewis said, referring to host Jimmy Kimmel's joke about how many British actors are on American TV. "I don't really believe in judging art. But I thought I'd show up just in case. Turned out all right."
A pregnant Danes was ecstatic when accepting her award for playing bipolar CIA operative Carrie Mathison, thanking "Homeland" co-stars, crew and creators as well as her husband, Hugh Dancy.
"My husband, my love, my life, my baby daddy, this doesn't mean anything without you," she said.
"Homeland" made history of its own Sunday by winning the best drama award. It's the first time a Showtime series has taken any of the four awards.
"Homeland" wasn't the only freshman to take major prizes. Another newcomer--her show is anyway--Julia Louis--Dreyfus took home the Emmy for best comedy actress for her portrayal of bungling Vice President Selina Meyer on HBO's "Veep." The now three-time Emmy winner had the crowd laughing when she pretended to mix up her acceptance speech with that of fellow nominee, "Parks and Recreation" star Amy Poehler.
"I would like to thank NBC, 'Parks and Rec'...," Louis-Dreyfuss said. As she trailed off, Poehler got to give her the correct speech. Louis-Dreyfus went on, "It really is in fact tremendous to be in the same category with these women who are so powerful and wonderful and know what they're doing.
"Lastly, isn't it a shame that Amy Poehler didn't win?" she said, looking at Poehler, who was back in her seat with a pencil in her hand, as if she had edited Louis-Dreyfus' speech.
The oft-nominated Jon Cryer was surprised when he snagged only his second Emmy for playing Alan Harper in CBS' "Two and a Half Men." "This is crazy," he said.
Many of the other awards were as expected as Jon Stewart suggested when his "The Daily Show" won best variety series for the 10th year in a row. Stewart suggested that after the Earth is destroyed, aliens would find the show's Emmys. "They will find out just how predictable these [bleeping] things can be," he cracked.
Predictable was the word in other comedy categories. ABC's "Modern Family" won best comedy, best writing, best supporting actor (Eric Stonestreet) and actress (Julie Bowen).
"Breaking Bad" didn't go away empty-handed, as Aaron Paul won best supporting actor in a drama for playing Jesse Pinkham. "Thank you so much for not killing me off," he told the writers of the show. Maggie Smith was named best supporting actress in a drama for playing the feisty Dowager Countess in PBS' "Downton Abbey."
The awards in the best miniseries or movie categories were spread out among several contenders, with HBO's Sarah Palin movie "Game Change" picking up the top award, plus trophies for directing and writing. Julianne Moore won best actress for her portrayal of Palin.
Kevin Costner won best miniseries/movie actor for his role in History Channel's "Hatfields & McCoys," while his co-star, Tom Berenger, took home the best supporting actor award.
Jessica Lange was named best supporting actress in a miniseries for playing creepy Constance Langdon in FX's "American Horror Story." She'll be back on the show this season, but playing a completely different role.
Click here for a complete list of winners and nominees.
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