Breaking Bad is a tremendous show. It’s also tremendously violent. In just the second episode, a dead man’s guts are corroded by hydrofluoric acid offscreen, only to then make a very gross crash appearance. A show this intense would not always have been a favorite to win big at the Emmys, but Breaking Bad has been steadily praised throughout its run, culminating in a sweep for its final season at last night’s award show. Considering how progressive the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is when it comes to this series, though, its kind of surprising how stodgy and traditional the voters could be elsewhere.
While channels like AMC, FX, and HBO did very well, Netflix couldn’t make much of a dent, and some standard sitcom winners repeated themselves. Amidst some rather distinguished competition, Modern Family still won for Outstanding Comedy Series a fifth time, and Jim Parsons won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy for a fourth time, for The Big Bang Theory. These category-strangleholds made the night’s proceedings feel a bit like watching a rerun of a previous year’s telecast, despite some bright spots marking us in the present tense.
Going into the evening, two of the biggest stories of the night were Netflix’s and True Detective’s many nominations. Neither of these contenders really panned out, though. Orange Is the New Black scene-stealer Uzo Aduba took home a win for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy, and the director of True Detective, Cary Joji Fukunaga, also won in his category–revealing an extensive mane of braided hair in the process–but these were the sole exceptions.
While Netflix did not win any major awards, they seem to have won elsewhere. Inevitably at a huge live show these days, there will be brand tweets, and the premium platform was right on top of them this time out. After establishing that Matthew McConaughey has a face for movies and not TV, Jimmy Kimmel went on to suggest that Ricky Gervais doesn’t even have a TV face so much as a Netflix face. This was, of course, accompanied by Gervais mugging it up onscreen–a visual that Netflix’s social media team decided was hashtag-worthy. Soon, #netflixface was born, with Twitterers playing along at home by trying to out-mug Gervias. Host Seth Meyers may have gotten the better burn in on the Derek star, suggesting everyone do their best Gervais impression by giving the decidedly self-assured Gervais a round of applause.
With newly christened late night host Meyers manning the podium, and his former Saturday Night Live cohorts like Amy Poehler, Andy Samberg, and Jimmy Fallon popping in, the show had an SNL feel sometimes. Samberg at one point appeared on stage as Joffrey Baratheon from Game of Thrones, messing with his supposed TV mom, Lena Headey, while she was presenting an award. There was also a fake Q&A portion involving stars like Jon Hamm that fell flat enough that fellow SNL-er Fred Armisen’s suggestion to repeat the bit every year counted as an ironic punchline.
Finally, perhaps the two most memorable trips to the podium were by long-ago SNL cast members. (The big exception: when an ailing Larry Kramer appeared onstage while Ryan Murphy accepted an award for directing the playwright’s The Normal Heart.) First, Julia Louis-Dreyfus made out with Bryan Cranston for a solid 30 seconds or so on the way to picking up her Outstanding Lead Actress award, playing off of a previous stage banter bit about her not remembering him. Then, when Sarah Silverman won Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for We Are Miracles on HBO, she closed with the possibly pot-assisted observations: “We are all just made of molecules, and we are hurtling through space right now.” These awards are an honor, she seems to have been saying, but they are also ultimately meaningless.
See a complete list of last night’s winners below, including the not one but two different roles Allison Janney won for:
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy: Louis C.K., Louie
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Allison Janney, Mom
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy: Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy: Gail Mancuso, Modern Family
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Outstanding Reality Competition Program: The Amazing Race
Outstanding Writing in a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Steven Moffat, Sherlock
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Martin Freeman, Sherlock
Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Colin Bucksey, Fargo
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Outstanding Miniseries: Fargo
Outstanding Television Movie: The Normal Heart
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special: Sarah Silverman, We Are Miracles
Outstanding Directing For A Variety Special: Glenn Weiss, 67th Annual Tony Awards
Outstanding Variety Series: The Colbert Report
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Outstanding Directing in a Drama: Cary Joji Fukunaga, True Detective
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Joe Morton, Scandal
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series: Moira Walley-Beckett, Breaking Bad
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Outstanding Comedy Series: Modern Family
Outstanding Drama Series: Breaking Bad