Elizabeth Wagmeister of Variety wraps up Emmys

Elizabeth Wagmeister from Variety is with us again. She was here on Friday and was right in her predictions of the big winners in the drama categories, including Viola Davis who was part of a record-setting trend last night.

(FOX 11 / CNS) "Modern Family's" five-year reign as television's best comedy ended tonight as HBO's "Veep" won the Emmy as top comedy series, while "Game of Thrones" spoiled "Mad Men's" bid for a record fifth prize as best drama series.

"Mad Men," which ended its run in May, did score a victory thanks to a best dramatic actor win by Jon Hamm, while Viola Davis took the prize for drama actress for ABC's "How to Get Away with Murder."

HBO's "Game of Thrones," however, earned four prizes during the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater -- for best drama series, best writing for co-creator David Benioff and executive producer D.B. Weiss, directing for David Nutter and a supporting actor prize for Peter Dinklage, his second win for his work on the show.

The victories by "Game of Thrones" and "Veep" capped a big night for HBO, which also saw its miniseries "Olive Kitteridge" pick up six Emmys.

"Veep" also earned a best actress Emmy for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, supporting-actor for Tony Hale and comedy writing for Simon Blackwell, series creator Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche.

"If `Veep' is about one thing, it's about hope," Iannucci said while accepting the best-comedy Emmy. "The hope that anyone in America, no matter what their background ... if you work hard you can just miss out on getting the
top job."

The win by "Veep" snapped a five-year winning streak by ABC's "Modern Family," which had won the award every year it has been on the air. Jeffrey Tambor took home the Emmy for comedy actor for Amazon's

The dramatic-actor win for Hamm, 44, snapped a history of Emmy futility, having lost in acting categories a dozen times previously. "There's been a terrible mistake, clearly," he said after receiving an extended standing ovation from the crowd.

He gave a soft-spoken acceptance speech, thanking everyone involved with the show, and ultimately, "Thank you to everyone who watched the show. Thank you for this."

Davis' win was also her first career Emmy -- on her first nomination. The 50-year-old actress used her acceptance speech to push for more roles for black women. "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity," she said. "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here's to all the writers, the awesome people ... people who have re-defined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be leading women, to be black."

Uzo Aduba, 34, was named best supporting actress in a drama series for her work in Netflix's "Orange is the New Black" -- the same role that earned her an Emmy last year for guest role in a comedy. She fought tears as she thanked everyone on the show and her sister. "I really just want to say thank you a thousand times," she said. "If I could say thank you a thousand times it would not be enough."

The comedy win for Louis-Dreyfus, 54, was her fourth in a row for lead actress. She previously won a lead-actress Emmy for "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and a supporting actress prize for "Seinfeld."

"I think it would be appropriate at this moment to quote our political satire `Veep': `What a great honor it must be for you to honor me tonight,"' she joked. "Oh no, I'm sorry. Donald Trump said that. I'm sorry."

Hale won his second supporting comedy actor Emmy for his work on "Veep." He won in the same category two years ago. He heaped praised on the show's writers, saying "they make it possible for us to do what we do."

"To my `Veep' family, not only are these people so good at what they do, but they're good people, and I'll tell you, at the end of the day that's what matters and I'm so grateful to be working with them," the 44-year-old
actor said.

In addition to the best comedy actor win for Tambor, the transgender-centered series also scored a directing Emmy for Jill Soloway.

For Tambor, who won for his portrayal of transgendered woman Maura Pfefferman, the win was the first Emmy of his career. Tambor had six previous Emmy nominations -- two for "Arrested Development" and four for "The Larry
Sanders Show."

Echoing comments he made when he won a Golden Globe earlier this year, the 71-year-old Tambor dedicated "my performance and this award to the transgender community."

"Thank you for your patience, thank you for your courage, thank you for your stories, thank your for your inspiration," he said. "Thank you for letting us be part of the change."

Allison Janney, 55, won her seventh career Emmy Award for her supporting role on the CBS comedy "Mom." It was her second consecutive win in the category. She won four Emmys for her work as C.J. Cregg on "The West Wing" and won a guest actress Emmy last year for her appearance in the drama "Masters of Sex."

She said the win in a crowded field of eight nominees made her feel "like I won the lottery," and she also said she was thankful to portray a recovering alcoholic on a show that tackles issues of addiction.

"It's a privilege to work on a show that reminds (us) that there's hope, lots of hope," she said.

Meanwhile, HBO's miniseries "Olive Kitteridge" took home the most Emmys of the night, scoring six prizes, including outstanding limited series and top acting prizes for Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins.

The four-hour miniseries following a retired, sometime-abrasive schoolteacher battling her inner demons and family turmoil over the course of two decades also won a supporting-actor Emmy for Bill Murray, a writing prize
for Jane Anderson and best-directing Emmy for Lisa Cholodenko. "I would like to thank the incredible women who made `Olive Kitteridge' happen, there were about a hundred thousand of them," Jenkins, 68, said.

He also praised the 58-year-old McDormand, saying, "Thank you, Fran, for letting me surf your enthusiasm and your artistry for four months, it was a ball."

Regina King won the only limited series prize for a show other than "Olive Kitteridge," winning supporting actress for her work in "American Crime."

For this year's Emmys, all references to mini-series were changed to limited series, which is defined as a program with two or more episodes with a total running time of at least 150 minutes, that tells a complete, non-
recurring story and does not have an on-going storyline and/or main characters in subsequent seasons.

NBC's "The Voice" won the Emmy for outstanding reality-competition program -- its second win in a category that has been dominated over the years by CBS' "The Amazing Race."

"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" got a fond send-off from the Television Academy, winning for best variety talk series and best writing and directing for a variety series. Stewart joked to the crowd that they should hold on to their television jobs as long as they can.

"I have been off of television for six weeks, seven weeks -- this is the first applause I've heard," Stewart said "It is a barren wasteland out there."

"Inside Amy Schumer" won the prize for best variety sketch series.

You can see more about Elizabeth Wagmeister on Variety.com.

Follow Elizabeth Wagmeister on Twitter: @EWagmeister

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