The show about a high school chemistry teacher who becomes a crystal meth drug lord ends its riveting and violent eight-season run next week, but it took top honors at the 65th annual Emmy Awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
“Holy crap! Man, I did not see this coming,” said “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan. “I thought this was going to be ‘House of Cards.’ Or it could have been ‘Homeland.’ Or it could have been ‘Mad Men’ or ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Downton Abbey’ …or any others not nominated in this golden age of television that we feel so proud to be a part of.”
Jeff Daniels is as surprised as everyone else as he accepts the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series award.
The awards show was packed with memorials to stars who died this year in an extra-long “In Memoriam” segment. Even the Emmy for best writing in a drama went to “Homeland” writer Henry Bromell – who died in March.
“Well, this may be the saddest Emmys of all time, but we could not be happier,” “Modern Family” creator Steven Levitan half-joked while accepting the best comedy Emmy for the third year in a row.
Bryan Cranston may have lost out to Daniels — but shows his gratification after ‘Breaking Bad’s’ big win.
The evening was also marked by a major upset — Jeff Daniels beat Bryan Cranston to win the Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama Series, besting a red-hot field that included Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad,” Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” and Kevin Spacey of “House of Cards.”
Host Neil Patrick Harris, center, performs a dance number with Nathan Fillion, left, and Sarah Silverman, right, during the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.
Daniels, 58, said he’d also received an award from the American Association of Retired Persons and deadpanned: “With all due respect to the AARP, this is even better.”
Best Actress in a Drama was much less of a surprise – Claire Danes won again for playing a crazed CIA agent in “Homeland.”
The cast and producers of ‘Modern Family’ take the stage to accept the Outstanding Comedy Emmy.
Michael Douglas won his first Emmy for his portrayal of Liberace in HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra,” which also took best movie or miniseries.
Douglas thanked his wife Catherine Zeta Jones, who did not attend, along with his co-star Matt Damon.
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss accepts the award for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series for her role in HBO’s ‘Veep’ as co-star and fellow winnerTony Hale coaches her on her speech.
“The only reason I’m standing here is because of you,” he said to Damon. “You really deserve half of this, so you want the bottom or the top?”
The 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards kicked off Sunday night in Los Angeles, Calif., with plenty of drama.
“Breaking Bad” star Anna Gunn won Best Supporting Actress in a Drama and Bobby Cannavale took the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a drama.
Tony Hale won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for “Veep,” while his co-star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, took home her second straight Outstanding Actress in a Comedy.
Michael Douglas gives a shoutout to ‘Behind the Candelabra’ star after receiving his Emmy.
The first award of the night led to what had to be the shortest acceptance speech in Emmy history.
“Nurse Jackie” star Merritt Wever, who took the award for Best Supporting Actress, said only: “I gotta go, bye.”
“Merritt Wever, best speech ever,” said Harris.
Host Neil Patrick Harris, right, opens the show with the help of previous host Jimmy Kimmel at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night.
Harris’ opening bit was interrupted by former hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Jane Lynch, Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, each eager to give some unsolicited advice.
“I hosted back in the days where there was no Internet,” said O’Brien. “Back then you had to pay for porn.”
Actresses Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler pretend to stumble as they take the stage to present the first award of the evening.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler called out from the front row for Harris to twerk. “It might be degrading, but we’d be de-grateful,” said Poehler.
In the tribute segments, close friends praised five recently deceased television greats.
Singer Elton John performs a tribute to Liberace.
Edie Falco fought back tears as she talked about James Gandolfini.
Actor Robin Williams pays tribute to his late ‘Mork & Mindy’ co-star Jonathan Winters.
“His portrayal of Tony Soprano had such depth and dimension that there are still a lot of people who have a hard time believing that’s not who he really was,” she said. “Well, I’m here to tell you, Jim was really quite different. He had tremendous warmth and heart.”
“Colbert Report” won Best Variety Series and Don Roy King won his fourth consecutive Emmy for directing “Saturday Night Live.”
Actress Carrie Preston, who would go on to win an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama, arrives at the red carpet in front of the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon.
Carrie Underwood sang the Beatles’ classic, “Yesterday” in a tribute to the year 1963.
Before the telecast, all eyes were on Netflix’s web series “House of Cards,” which had the potential to set a major landmark at the expense of “traditional” television if it won the Outsanding Drama Emmy. In the end, however, only David Fincher won for directing an episode of the critically-lauded drama.
By Don Kaplan