The 2014 Emmy Awards did what awards shows rarely do nowadays. Surprise us. There were numerous upsets, unexpected wins, and disappointing losses throughout the show’s three hour runtime. This year proved that movie stars don’t automatically score Emmys. While many fans were still actively upset about Tatiana Maslany being overlooked for her stellar work on Orphan Black (Billy Eichner even gave her snub a shout out in bit with Seth Meyers), we did at least get a Piper and Alex kiss in the opening of the show. Here are some of the other highlights of this year’s Emmys.
Host Seth Meyers did a stand up job in his opening monologue. I mean, he’s no Poehler and Fey, but he was pretty charming. He kept the audience laughing, even when a joke or two landed with a thud. “Jokes are like nominees—they can’t all be winners,” he quipped. He gave a special shout out to the incredible writers in the audience (Meyers was a head writer for SNL) but figured they probably couldn’t hear him up in the nosebleed section. “Tonight we are all Crazy Eyes,” he told the audience. Truth, Seth. Truth.
Zooey Deschanel and Allison Williams, your maniac pixie dream team, handed out the award for Best Writing in a Comedy Series. Alas, it did not go to Liz Friedman and Jenji Kohan of Orange is the New Black, but rather Louis C.K. for Louie.
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series was one of the most anticipated races of the evening with out actress Kate McKinnon nominated for her stellar work in SNL. Also competing was Orange is the New Black’s Kate Mulgrew for her role as the sometimes villainous, always awesome Red. Allison Janney ultimately took home the award but Kate McKinnon did whoop it up for Janney’s win. Classy ladies all around.
Emmy winner Uzo Aduba and an adorably pregnant Hayden Panettiere presented the Emmy for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series. Jodie Foster was nominated for her direction of the Orange is the New Black episode “Lesbian Request Denied.” Sadly, it was. Gail Mancuso won for Modern Family. Mancuso used her win to be an inspiration to women in the industry in the press room, saying, “When young girls can see a woman director win an Emmy, they think ‘I don’t have to be in front of the camera, can be behind camera.”
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy went to Julia Louis Dreyfus, who passionately kissed Bryan Cranston on her way up to the stage. (It was a throwback to their Seinfeld days, where Cranston and her character Elaine dated.)
“I see that Maggie Smith isn’t here tonight. If she wins, can I have the Emmy,” Julianna Margulies asked Seth Meyers during a funny little Q & A session which also included Jon Hamm and Melissa McCarthy. Unfortunately, Jon Hamm and his beard had already called Smith’s award.
In the category of Outstanding Support Actress in Mini-series or Movie, Kathy Bates’ win was one of the biggest surprises of the evening as most had Julia Roberts pegged as the winner. Bates was surprised herself, but was gracious and funny as always.
In an even bigger shocker, Martin Freeman from Sherlock shut out all the Supporting Actor nominees from A Normal Heart.
The always lovely Kerry Washington and the always tall Liev Schreiber announced the winner of the Lead Actress in a Mini Series or Movie. Jessica Lange picked up the honor, and fellow cast member and nominee Sarah Paulson screamed and applauded for her the loudest. Once the Supreme, always the Supreme.
Weird Al Yankovic performed a medley of television show theme songs which started out a little low energy and weird, but picked up steam by the time he hit the Game of Thrones finale. Lucky for us, Lena Headey presented the next award for Outstanding Mini Series. Spoiler alert: Fargo won the Emmy.
While Ryan Murphy’s The Normal Heart did not pick up any awards for acting last night, it did win Outstanding Television Movie. Murphy and the cast received a standing ovation from much of the audience. In his acceptance speech, Murphy asked the young people watching to become activists, and take a stand in the continuing battle against HIV and AIDS.
A shoeless Sarah Silverman, who was stunning in a forest green gown with a super plunging neckline, won for Outstanding Writer in a Variety Special. Here’s hoping we see more of her in Masters of Sex.
Sara Bareilles beautifully performed Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” during the in memorium montage to the incredible artists and innovators we lost this year. Billy Crystal came out to celebrate the life and career of Robin Williams. Billy and Robin had been good friends for decades, and his tribute was both poignant and touching.
In the Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series category, Julianna Margulies picked up an Emmy for The Good Wife. “What a wonderful time for women on television, “ she declared when she hit the stage. She gave much love to her co-stars Christine Baranski and Josh Charles, even calling out Charles for exiting the show this season. “I miss you everyday. What were you thinking?” she asked on behalf of Good Wife fans everywhere.
Modern Family continued its domination in Best Comedy Series beating out Orange is the New Black, and disappointing lesbians everywhere.
The big winner of the evening was most certainly Breaking Bad. Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn both took home Outstanding Supporting Emmys while writer Moira Walley-Beckett won for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series. Leading man Bryan Cranston also won for his haunting and enigmatic portrayal of Walter White. The show took home its final Outstanding Drama Series award.
Overall, this year’s Emmys could have used some more energy and enthusiasm as the night stretched on. Perhaps the laid back sensibility that works so well on Seth Meyer’s talk show, wasn’t the right feel for a three-hour epic event like the Emmys.
For a complete list of winner, click here. On the next page, our faves in some fierce fashions.