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Emmys 2014: Breaking Bad wins big as Sherlock grabs three prizes

Breaking Bad

Story by Jack Foley

THE final season of Breaking Bad has been recognised with five major awards at the 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

The drugs drama walked away with the coveted award for best drama series, while three of its leading players – Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn picked up accolades for, respectively, best actor in a drama series and best supporting actor and actress.

The show also won a writing award for Moira Walley-Beckett.

The BBC’s Sherlock, meanwhile, emerged triumphant in three categories. Leading man Benedict Cumberbatch was named best actor in a TV mini-series or movie for the episode Sherlock: His Last Vow, while Martin Freeman was recognised as best supporting actor. Steven Moffat completed the hat-trick for writing the same episode.

In another of the major categories, sitcom Modern Family was once again crowned best comedy series (for a fifth consecutive year), equalling the record set by 1990s show Frasier for most comedy wins.

One of its stars, Ty Burrell (aka Phil Dunphy) also took home the prize for best supporting actor in a comedy, although the show missed out on winning the best actor in a comedy series, which went instead to Jim Parsons, of The Big Bang Theory.

Julianna Margulies, star of The Good Wife, won the Emmy for best lead actress in a drama series, beating the challenge of both Claire Danes for Homeland and Michelle Dockery for Downton Abbey.

In what proved another strong year for nominees given the outstanding quality of shows emerging from the US, there were several high profile shows that either left empty-handed or failed to perform as well as might have been expected.

HBO’s True Detective, for instance, saw its leading men Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson miss out in the acting categories – although its director Cary Fukunaga did pick up a trophy – while hotly-tipped Netflix show Orange Is The New Black failed to land a prize in the comedy sections.

Another HBO juggernaut, Game of Thrones, also missed out on any of the major prizes, despite sweeping critical acclaim, as did the latest series of Homeland and Britain’s Downton Abbey.

In fact, it has now been acknowledged that Emmy voters opted for old favourites over new shows. Hence, while many admit that Breaking Bad deserved to bask in the limelight for its fifth and final season, Modern Family may have lacked the freshness needed to see it maintain its winning streak despite a strong finale involving a gay wedding.

Other key prizes on the night included Julia Louis Dreyfus notching her third leading actress win for political comedy-drama Veep, and Allison Janney landing her sixth Emmy award for best supporting actress in the comedy series Mom.

American Horror Story: Coven won two awards for Jessica Lange as best lead actress and Kathy Bates as best supporting actress in a mini-series or movie (the latter beating Julia Roberts), while HBO’s The Normal Heart earned an expected win for best TV movie. Fargo, meanwhile, was crownded outstanding mini-series.

View the main winners at a glance