With NBC having their turn to televise the Emmy Awards, the show moved to the odd time of a Monday in August, as the peacock understandably wants to protect fall Sunday’s for what has been the top-rated show on television as of late: Sunday Night (NFL) Football.
Here are some winner and losers from last night’s show:
Loser: Seth Meyers. I don’t know your feelings on the host, but my feelings are precisely that I have no feelings, which I think is a problem for a comedian. You should love or hate comics; they should push your buttons of humor or outrage--I don’t think milquetoast works. In any case, he’s perfectly likeable, but give me Ricky Gervais taking a blowtorch to the room at the Golden Globes and making everyone uncomfortable--or at least the smart, sassy, and saucy tag team of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey--over Meyers any day. In his monologue, Meyers poked at the off timing of the show on the calender, took a well-deserved shot at the rampant category fraud this year, and threw some well-earned shade at the much-maligned ending of “How I Met Your Mother.” There was also a gratuitous whack at Justin Bieber smoking pot, and a funny line about “Duck Dynasty” being the most VCR-ed show.
Winner: Ricky Gervais. Yes, he actually lost in his category, but he did get a chance to find his way into the spotlight as a presenter. He carped about how--as usual--he lost in his category. He read his victory speech, despite losing, which was funny, and I especially enjoyed him calling Matt LeBlanc “Joey from Friends.” Gervais is a fearless comic, and I respect that.
Winner: Jimmy Kimmel. Upstaging Meyers’ monologue considerably was Kimmel, who, while presenting, devoted his time to poking Matthew McConaughey (who was nominated for “True Detective.”) Kimmel’s thesis was that a movie star like McConaughey didn’t belong at a TV awards show. Since McConaughey just came off winning an Oscar and numerous other film awards for “Dallas Buyers Club,” Kimmel wondered how many more of McConaughey’s acceptance speeches we need to sit through.
He added, “Are we supposed to give you the BET Award for best male Hip-Hop artist, too?” He also said McConaughey has a movie star face, not a TV face, and after the camera panned to Gervais, he said, “That’s a TV face.”
Finally, Kimmel posited that McConaughey “doesn’t even own a television [...] he traded his television for a conch shell full of weed.”
Loser: Matthew McConaughey. That wasn’t the only indignation McConaughey had to endure; when he presented with his co-star and co-nominee Woody Harrelson, Harrelson did a pretty dead-on impersonation of his friend. You can also tell those guys are genuinely good friends; they’re so simpatico with one another--no one is that good an actor. McConaughey also lost in his category to Bryan Cranston, so he took abuse at the show, and left empty-handed.
Winner: Amy Poehler. The first award of the evening was presented by Poehler, who was very pretty in a shimmering metallic dress; the long blonde hair also made me very happy. Oh, and she’s very funny.
Winner: Julia Roberts. Speaking of great hair, Roberts was also on hand to present the award which ultimately went to Cranston, and folks, let me tell you, that is a MOVIE STAR. Yes, I know she lost in her acting category, but there was a different feeling altogether when she was up there on stage. She looked fabulous; like Sandra Bullock, she’s somehow gotten even better-looking as she’s aged. Her legs are also impossibly skinny, like two toothpicks--she could stand in the shower and not get wet!
Winner: Jessica Lange. Lange--also great hair, hope it’s real--won one for the aged beauty demographic, capturing another award for “American Horror Story.”
Winner: Ty Burrell. Burrell (“Modern Family”) won his second consecutive Emmy in his category. He’s excellent in a superb show, and he read a speech he said was written by the kids of the show; it was funny and clever.
Winner: Modern Family. Gail Mancuso won for directing one of the best “Modern Family” episodes--actually one of the best episodes of TV--I’ve ever seen. This past season, the gang goes to Vegas, and the hijinks that ensue are carried off so brilliantly, I watched in amazement. That show, by the way, is officially a dynasty; “Modern Family” won Best Comedy for the fifth year in a row, a feat matched only by “Frasier.” No drama has ever won five in a row.
Winner: Allison Janney. Janney actually won two Emmy’s this year--adding to the boatload she already has for “The West Wing”--and I’m happy whenever she wins anything. I’m always thrilled to see her in any movie or TV show--she makes anything she’s in better.
Winners: Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston. Though Cranston and Louis-Dreyfus both took home awards for their acting in “Breaking Bad” and “Veep” (and she’s becoming a queen of TV, by the way; when you add this third straight Emmy for “Veep” to the ones already on her mantle for “Seinfeld” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” it becomes an imposing tally), all everyone was talking about was their 11-second makeout session.
Allow me to explain: when they presented together, Louis-Dreyfus called Cranston “Clark Gable” for his new moustache, and then remarked on how Cranston greatly resembled “Seinfeld” character “Tim Watley,” who Louis-Dreyfus dated on the show.
“You look so much like the actor on “Seinfeld” who played the dentist,” she said. When Cranston mentioned that he did, in fact, play that character, Louis-Dreyfus blew him off. When he said the two of them actually kissed and dated on the show, she rebuffed him with extreme prejudice.
Well, when Louis-Dreyfus was walking up to accept her award, Cranston intercepted her and planted a big, long smooch. When she made it on stage, she recalled, “Yeah, he was on ‘Seinfeld,’” as the camera panned to Cranston cleaning his lips like a lion who had just polished off a zebra. That, boys and girls, is how you carry out a joke!
Losers: Weird Al Yankovic and Andy Samberg. A joke that wasn’t funny was bringing out Weird Al Yankovic to do lyrics for TV theme songs. I understand Weird Al is having his moment in the spotlight right now, but I’ll admit it, I just don’t get his humor. Even better, they put him with Andy Samberg--another guy I just don’t get--and, actually, actively dislike. Thanks for putting them together, Emmys, like mixing Arsenic and Ricin!
Losers: Key and Peele. Also an annoying nuisance was the dud duo of Key and Peele, who helped the show grind to a halt when they decided to “improvise” during their time on stage; they just kept talking over each other, and it was stupid.
Loser: Fargo Actors. Adding to my anger was that fact that neither Billy Bob Thornton nor Martin Freeman nor Allison Tolman won acting awards for the incomparable “Fargo.” Thankfully, the show itself won its duly deserved award, or else I would’ve had to fly to California and burn down the theater.
Loser: Gwen Stefani. Stefani had a John Travolta moment when she butchered the pronunciation of “The Colbert Report” when she was giving that show an award. (You’ll recall that at the Oscars this year, Travolta evidently couldn’t pronounce the name Idina Menzel.) Has Stefani never heard of “The Colbert Report?”
Winner: Aaron Paul. Yes, Paul won for his acting on “Breaking Bad,” but if you saw his wife sitting next to him, you’d understand THAT was the biggest win of his life.
Winner/Loser. Anna Gunn. Speaking of “Breaking Bad,” Gunn also won for her acting, and she gave a pretty swell speech--but that dress! Oh, no, just ghastly; it looked like something you’d pick up at Target.
Loser: Lena Dunham. Gunn was saved from “Worst-Dressed,” however, by Lena Dunham (“Girls”), whose dress looked like an upside-down wedding cake dipped in cotton candy.
Winner: Viola Davis. On a more positive note, Viola Davis looked absolutely regal in blue as a presenter. She also looked so much younger and more vibrant than the tired, old, dowdy, washerwoman she played in “The Help.”
Winner: Breaking Bad. “Breaking Bad” winning Best Drama for its final season was the biggest lock since the United Kingdom over Argentina in the battle for the Falklands.
Winner: Classy Tributes. The most poignant moment of the night, of course, was the goodbye to Robin Williams--and you can bet it’ll be the same at later trophy shows this season, like the Globes and the Academy Awards. People did harbor strong feelings toward Williams, and, judging by the outpouring of mourning at his passing, it doesn’t seem like hyperbole to call him beloved--some of his characters certainly were.
Billy Crystal, who hosted the Oscars with such aplomb so many times, led the tribute to his friend and frequent running mate, and he was all class.
“It’s very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives,” Crystal said. “For almost 40 years, he was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy.”
Well said, Billy, well said.
The other serious moment of the evening was when Ryan Murphy won for “The Normal Heart” and dedicated much of his speech to the memory of all those who have died of AIDS. With shows under his belt like “Nip/Tuck” and “American Horror Story,” I think of Murphy as a weird guy, but that really was quite a lovely speech.
Make sure to pick up a copy of Thursday’s St. James Plaindealer, where my esteemed colleague, Nick Cicale, will have his Emmy recap, telling you who should’ve won in each category.
Ryan Anderson can be reached at randerson@stjamesnews and followed on Twitter @randerson_ryan