“This just in. Nobody in America is winning their Emmy office pool. Surprises galore,” host Neil Patrick Harris quipped during Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards.
He wasn’t kidding. The Emmys telecast had a number of upsets, defying conventional wisdom in several categories, including some acting wins.
It’s likely few expected “The Newsroom” star Jeff Daniels’ name to be called as outstanding lead actor in a drama series. Many expected that award would go to Bryan Cranston, earning him his fourth trophy for his ruthless role on “Breaking Bad.” Or it could have gone to Kevin Spacey for “House of Cards.” (Damian Lewis of “Homeland,” Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” and Hugh Bonneville of “Downton Abbey” were also nominees.)
Merritt Wever’s win in the supporting actress in a comedy category for “Nurse Jackie” was unexpected—Jane Krakowski of “30 Rock” and Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara of “Modern Family” were among her co-nominees—though it did delight the Emmy audience and viewers by allowing her to give a hilariously brief acceptance speech. (She said, “Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Um, I gotta go, bye.”)
The winner for supporting actor in a drama series was also a surprise. It went to Bobby Cannavale of “Boardwalk Empire,” when many thought it would go to Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) or possibly Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland”) or Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”).
“The Colbert Report” pulled off an upset in the variety series category, breaking a 10-year streak held by “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
And while Claire Danes’ win in the leading actress in a drama category—her second consecutive win for her role on “Homeland”—wasn’t a shocker, it did prevent Emmys history from being made. Kerry Washington of “Scandal” was nominated, and would have been the first African-American actress to ever win that category if her name had been the one called.
Tell us: Which Emmy wins—or losses—surprised you the most?