2011 Emmys Recap with Lisa de Moraes

Sep 19, 2011

Join Post television columnist Lisa de Moraes to recap what happened at the 2011 Emmy Awards. Plus here about what happened at the after parties.

- Gallery: ?Mad Men? and ?Modern Family? bring home top Emmy awards
- Show falls flat except for most fleeting of moments
- List of winners
- Gallery: Fashion hits and misses on the red carpet


- Find everything Lisa de Moraes:

Lisa's Blog
- Lisa's Column
- Lisa's Chats

What was so funny and standing-O worthly about the comedy actress nominees going up on stage when their names were called? Based on your chat last night people loved it. I thought it was not remotely funny and of course it was planned. Happy Downton Abby won. Looking forward to season 2.

Hi!  You mean you're of the school that thinks it was just a tad sexist to make that race look like a beauty pageant, and for presenter Rob Lowe to patronizingly tell them before the winner was named: "girls" you're all winners in his eyes, and then for Mary McCarthy to have to give her acceptance speech wearing a tiara and holding red roses? Me too!

Hey Pookie! Was Margo Martindale nominated for her guest role in "Justified"? If not, she 'shore as the devil in hades shoulda been' !!! (already gone from Dexter a few seasons ago...) Is she on any upcoming shows? Medal of Witty TV Critique, Prime Time Awards Shows & Sharp Insight Award 2011 goes to: Pookie!!!!

Yes, except it was a "supporting actress" role, not guest role -- at least that's how she was entered.

Any wins that you were genuinely surprised by? I was surprised (but so happy!) to see Jim Parsons win. I love BBT and am so glad that it and the actors are finally getting recognized.

Yes, very surprised that Jim Parsons won the Steve Carell Award instsead of, you know, Carell. Almost all TV industry navel lint pickers were positive Carell would win because it was his last season on "The Office" -- even though he'd never won before and his work this past season wasn't as good as his work in those previous seasons. But that then made me surprised that TV academy voters went all sentimental in the best drama actor category and gave it to Kyle Chandler instead of Steve Buscemi who I thought should win, or Jon Hamm, who TV industry tea-leaf readers had said would win.

I was also pleasantly surprised that Barry Pepper won for playing RFK in "The Kennedys" though he deserved the win -- his performance was terrific.

In case anyone just came out from under a flat rock, here's a list of some of the glam category wins last night:

*Best Comedy: Modern Family

*Best Drama: Mad Men

*Best Movie/Mini: Downton Abbey

*Best Drama Actress: Julianna Margulies

*Best Drama Actor: Kyle Chandler

*Best Comedy Actress: Mary McCarthy

*Best Comedy Actor: Jim Parsons

*Best Mini-Movie Actress: Kate Winslet

**Best Mini/Movie Actor: Barry Pepper



Looked scary thin. I don't watch Modern Family but both my husband and I were frightened for her well being when we saw her.

Well, this just proves, once again, that everything is relative.  If  you'd seen "Downton Abbey's" Elizabeth McGovern up close on stage last night, you'd have thought Julie Bowen looked downright chunky.

Pookie, you referenced some sort of Jean Marsh/Downton Abbey snark fuss on last night's chat. I missed it (I blame the fact that I was in Montreal last week and all my gossip was in French) so could you do the short summary?

Marsh, who co-created "Upstairs Downstairs" which was also coming back to PBS, was quoted months ago as saying that "Downton Abbey" was a poor imitation of "Upstairs Downstairs"...

Lisa, do you think Steve Carrell was snubbed because he's a movie star and most of the people on television shows are & will remain tv stars? Might there have been a little jealousy? And I'm still angry about John Noble's omission! Although I'm happy for Peter Dinklage, as it couldn't be Noble.

No, I think he did not get the win because the academy has never been that impressed with his performance on "The Office" -- good enough to nominate several years, but not good enough to win.

Her name is Melissa McCarthy, not Mary McCarthy.

My bad! Melissa McCarthy! It was a long night chatting Emmys and post-Emmy parties -- that's my story and I'm sticking to it...

Do you think Jon Hamm or Hugh Laurie will ever win an Emmy after losing last night and "Breaking Bad" being eligible again next year?

Nope. Not ever. If that episode of "Mad Men" Hamm submitted for consideration, which was designed to push all the academy members' buttons -- yes, he wept -- didn't do it, I don't think there's anything else to be done to get him an Emmy win. Unless he dies in some gloriously grisly fashion or something on the show...


The Emmys should be like the presidency, your second Emmy is a lifetime achievement award, and you can't win another one. You become an honorary Ambassador of Television.

I'm with you. Maybe third win...

I think Game of Thrones should have won more awards... but the man who deserved the award most of all, got it! Peter Dinklage embodies the role of Tyrion Lannister and is the only actor pulled off such a smarmy, funny, and dramatic role - I am not just talking about height here!

Dinklage is great in "Game of Thrones"  and deserved the win. That said, Dinklage had the advantage of a performance that stands out like a bright light in a dull talk-a-thon of a series, while his fellow competitors -- Andre Braugher in "Men of a Certain Age," John Slattery in "Mad Men," Walton Goggins in "Justified," Alan Cumming in "The Good Wife" and Josh Charles in "The Good Wife" --  did not have that advantage....

Didn't he win last year, and don't winners pretty much always repeat at the Emmy's unless they are just absolutely putrid?

Ah, but not when Steve Carell is nominated and -- boo hoo - it's his last season of eligibility for "The Office" and the general concensus among TV industry pundits is that the win is owed to him... that's what made it surprising...

The Divine Ms. deM: Nothing for "Best acting performance while not on set" for Charlie Sheen? There is no justice!!

Ah, but Sheen won one of my awards for the night:

Best Received Act of Total Insincerity: Charlie Sheen telling America he wishes 'Two and Half Men' nothing but the best this new TV season, without him. Had he announced he'd drop his lawsuit against creator Chuck Lorre and production house Warner Bros. TVover his sacking from the show  it would have had some credibility.

What accounted for Charlie Sheen's good behavior last night? Have his meds finally started to work, or do you think his whole tiger-blood/"winning"/goddesses shtick was just a Joaquin Phoenix homage (or rip-off)?

Sheen is right now in the middle of trying to sell his new sitcom to a network or a distributor and it is in his best interest to act sane and reasonable and forgiving and normal. It's hard to get someone to sign on the dotted line to commit to a series that's going to star Charlie Sheen for 100 episodes when the star is in full tiger-blood-winning-goddess-radio-ranting mode...

Lisa, I was reading your mention the other day about the Cable Ace Awards and how that show used to keep the Emmys devoted to broadcast shows. Have the Emmys producers thought about separating the categories? That way there would be broadcast comedies and cable comedies, and so on for dramas, stars, etc.

actually they have been working hard to eliminate categories. The only reason last night's show came in on time was because movie and miniseries competitions had been combined this season... I thought it worked well but I'm guessing HBO isn't too happy since it always walked off withmost of the tropies from both genres and that new practice will cut down won its overall tally each year... that and "Downton Abbey" having done so well..

Did anyone ever figure out what that annoying techno-ringer sound was throughout the broadcast?? I kept muting my TV thinking is was coming from my apartment...

Not that I am aware of, though one participant in our chat last night said it was part of the background music -- is "cell phone" now an orchestral instrument?

I noticed the theater was stone-silent in response to all the banter and even most of the bits. But I thought a decent portion of it was funny by awards show standards. Not even a murmur for Ashton telling Jon Cryer that he didn't think Cryer was a troll. Why the cool reception from the crowd? Ugh, and don't get me started on the Lonely Island debacle. A walk-out on that I would've understood.

Ah -- this brings us nicely to another of my own awards for the evening:

Most Disturbing Lack of Chemistry: Jon Cryer with Ashton Kutcher  -- his new co-star of  “Two and a Half Men,” presenting an award in the comedy arena.

Kyle Chandler's hair would like you to address his win with a little more respect, but is sensitive enough to understand your disappointment.

You're sweet, but you don't make sense......

Why wasn't Jimmy Fallon asked back? The show was much more interesting with him as host. Was it because he's NBC "property"? I turned it off around 10, I just couldn't stomach the telecast any longer. And I normally like awards shows.

You answered your own question -- Fallon is an NBC star and this was Fox's at-bat... Fox doesn't have a late night comic-show host -- hence Lynch hosting.. I thought she did a pretty good job, but the show was quite a mishmash. No, I have no idea how to spell mishmash...

I would cap it after the second or third win FOR THE SAME ROLE. So you could win again if you're on a different program.

Excellent point! So glad this went to committee before I passed the new rule.. Thank you!

I thought Ariel Winter's dress was very inappropriate for a 13 year old. Anyone else think that?

Via celebuzz.com

I'll leave this to others to decide....

The Emmy broadcast devoted way, way too much time to the same 5 or 6 TV movies or miniseries that hardly anybody watched. We were having dinner with friends and had the show on in the background, and everytime we looked over they were running through the nominees from shows that none of us had ever seen, like Thurgood or The Kennedys or whatever the other ones were. So we'd stop watching.

Actually, the number of "longform" categories -- as opposed to series categories -- was drastically reduced this year by combining movie and miniseries. I think there were seven longform categories -- at any rate, they were about the same number as there were comedy categories and ditto drama series categories. I thought it made for a much better balance. We'll see when the ratings come in if it helped with the ratings. It's people like you -- who will tune in to the show but tune out when it gets to the lonform races because the nominees are alwasy mostly from pay cable networks and PBS -- that inspired the academy to make this change. The academy gets most of its operating funds from the license fee for the Emmy broadcast so the ratings on the show are vitally important to the organization...

I know you are not a fan of "Friday Night Lights" as you are not a fan of football or cheerleaders. Yet I wish to encourage people who aren't into football to realize it was more a show about families and students and football was only a unifying theme. Kyle Chandler's winning a Best Award may have surprised some, as he is not a dramatic overactor. He often said more by an expression or a few words. So, here is one opinion that he deserved his award, and congratulations to him.

I'm delighted to post your point...me, i'd rather watch a show about families in which football was not the unifying theme. Reminds me too much of high school -- ugh.

What was with that awful cell phone ringing sound throughout the telecast? I thought it was my hearing at first--but others noticed it too.

still waiting for answers -- but would love to hear any more theories...

I was really hoping Alan Cummings would win, simply because it would have been great to hear an acceptance speech in his heavy Scottish brogue.

...and, Cumming is a brilliant actor. Glad he's being exposed to a large audience on "The Good Wife" and hope it will get those people wo watch some of his other work...

I'm glad Steve Carell didn't win last night, but still upset that Jim Parsons did. Parsons' character was good the first season or two, but then the writers just overdid it and made him too broad. Plus, I don't think we should reward Chuck Lorre for writing hackneyed scripts that only seem original because he wraps them up in geek culture.

My feelings about the show since CBS moved it to Thursday and, it appears, decided to "broaden" it out are well known...

Welcome back, dear Pookie. I'm still troubled by the young Modern Family daughter's super revealing cut-out pink dress. So much cleavage! I'm no prude, but we all went: WHOAH! and not in a good way. Thoughts?

we're already open for comments on that one... Me, I think the dress was simply not flattering...

It was NBC and CBS calling Fox to tell them what a lousy job they were doing at keeping the telecast interesting......

I love this theory!

So Sarah Michelle Gellar could win three times for Bridget & then three times for Siobhan?

Sadly, even in the best thought out rules, there are always loopholes.....(for those not in the know, this is reference to Gellar's new CW series -- "Ringer" - in which she plays identical twins)

It's hard to want to sit through an awards show that thinks it needs to be aired on MTV. I can't imagine the ratings are going to do anything but go down.

Funny your mentioning that -- this year's trophy show was exec produced for the first time by Mark Burnett, who has exec produced MTV Movie Awards trophy show...

Where was the love for Boardwalk Empire last night? I was surprised at the lack of nominations for supporting roles. At least Steve B got his from the Golden Globes.

Yes, I really wanted Buscemi to win as well. I love that this wonderful character actor got the lead role on this show and he's great...

I heard it whenever a presenter/winner was not talking. At first I thought it was my own tinnitus but then I began to wonder if the glitter and the stars in the background had their own soundtrack. If you can imagine what a computer generating twinkling star would sound like, I think that's what I heard.

Add "twinkling of stars" theory to the growing list...

Now there's a guy who could liven up an Emmy broadcast......

so true...

As a red-blooded male, I second that opinion. Ick! Way too young. I'm even getting tired of it on adult female actors,

What are you getting tired of on adult female actors -- cleavage?

Why oh why would the academy give that durn Amazing Race yet another prize? The reality genre has come a long way but I wonder if the scripted folk who vote most in the competition would like to keep the reality subset in their own little box and award the putatively classiest of the bunch, even though Amazing Race ceases to amaze. What think you?

I think the world-traveling show is filled with gorgeous scenery and other thinggummies that make academy voters feel like reality TV maybe isn't so bad after alll. That said, it won for best Reality Competition Series -- again -- and the winner this year for Best Reality Series, awarded last week, was "Deadliest Catch"....

Usually I'm a fan of Ricky G., but last night's taped commentary - while bemusing with the the "edits", seemed very tired as though he's overstayed his welcome. Thoughts?

I'll take it -- tired and overstayed welcome and all. I always love watching him -- even when he hosted the Golden Globes and made me cringe several times...

I've been a fan of his since he was in Circle of Friends. While I love The Good Wife, he is my absolute favorite part of the show!

.. I also loved him as minister in Gwyneth Paltrow film version of "Emma" ....

Well, WE got to hear Alan Cumming's Scottish brogue last night, because we cut away from the Emmys for 85-90 minutes in order to watch the new "Inspector Lewis" on "Masterpiece" on PBS, which includes Cumming's intro to the epi in his real voice!

...and, of course, you can see him here...

sounds like you've got your own issues and never gave FNL a chance. I, for one, was thrilled Kyle Chandler won and FNL finally got some award recognition. That finale script absoultely deserved the writing award--it was a series finale that was satisfying, but not too shmaltzy.

Yes, and I've said as much many many times... No football, no cheerleaders, no preaching....

I couldn't read it during the broadcast (can't find it on the post's mobile device page) but I'd like to read it now - but can't find it now either - is it posted somewhere?

Very sorry you were not able to join us last night. My producer, Ryan has included it here...

Pookie: Has anyone had the temerity to point out that Ms. McCarthy's win was probably more the result of the "Bridesmaids" love than an actual acknowledgement of her work on that King-of-Queens-without-the-male-pattern-optimism-wife sitcom, which is, sorry to say, patently unwatchable to anyone with an IQ higher than their body temperature? That, and the fact that Edie Falco and Laura Linney probably split the vote....

Yes, the former was noted several times on our chat last night. But your Edie Falco and Laura Linney vote splitting was not noted and thanks for adding that to the mix.. I love your description of "Mike & Molly", BTW...

So was this the last hurrah or will the streak continue next year?

I see no end in sight, if  "Boardwalk Empire" could not do it...

those dress cutouts, that display side boobage.

Oh! Thanks for clarifying. I was getting worried...

Someday, I would love to hear Hugh Laurie give an acceptance speech. At least he presented last night, but that's a small consolation.

I know, because he probably did not write his gags.. Which were fairly lame, despite his spot-on delivery...

Was waiting for a Sharks and Jets style fight to break out between the Mildred Pierce crew and the Downton Abbey crew.

that was at the after-parties, after they'd had a few...

Not to sound like my parents, but it was a bit awkward in our house just a little after 9pm with our 6th and 8th grade sons when the SNL guys came out with the sex song/dance bit. It was gratuitous, long and not that funny. I'm glad Jon Stewart mentioned it in his speech afterwards (about having to explain some things to his kids who were watching the show). Am I officially old and uncool?

If you are, you're in good company with Jon Stewart, right?

the funniest part was on the preshow with Will Arnett interviewing his wife Amy Poehler and not listening to the responses. Priceless as Columbian emeralds.

I give that marriage six more months....

A waste of several perfectly good hours of life, except for Ty Burrell.

his speech was wonderful -- maybe the night's best? Hope you DVR'd "Kane"...

A couple of things- did you every find out what that annoying cell phone-type noise constantly heard on and off throughout the broadcast? Also, I see two trends that aren't necessarily good for the Emmys. One, the increasing public acknowledgement that X or Y award is a sure thing, because it diminishes, in public, the other nominees. Two, the fact that hosts and presenters don't really tell jokes anymore- they try to get the audience to be on the "inside joke" of a celebrity's personality or (i.e. Jack Nicholson's roguishness or Steve Carell's zany-ness). It's funny once but you start saying to yourself while watching, "Is that all you got?" If TV writing is so good these days, where are the writers for these award shows- do they avoid them like the plague?

Nobody has accused TV comedy -- or movie comedy -- writing of being so good these days. "Modern Family" won the comedy derby twice because it's a notable exception. But I'm with you in re Carell's schtick on "The Office" and think it was very smart of him to decide to leave the show"

Lisa, thanks for the chat. Was the nominees for Best Actress in a comedy series deciding to go on the stage spontaneous or planned?

Planned -- hench the tiara and bouquet of red roses

Crunchy gravel dramas rule! I also think the Emmy voters were more awed by proper British accents vs. "it's not TV, it's HBO" this year.

Absolutely,and this brings me nicely to another of my own awards this year:

Least Restraint by a British Subject: Kate Winslet openly exulting in her “Mildred Pierce” best movie/mini actress win: “Oh, I didn’t think I was going to win ANYTHING!”

and, because I'm nearly out of time, here are my other personal awards for the show:

*Best Jane Lynch Line of the Evening: “A lot of people are very curious when I’m a lesbian. Ladies and gentlemen, the cast of ‘Entourage’!”


*Best visual of evening: Jane Lynch explaining to cast of 60’s-set “Mad Men” that, in the “future” “on the bright side, people can watch television on their phones” and John Slattery holds 60’s phone receiver up over his eyes.


*Worst Import of Movie Industry Custom to Emmys: Martin Scorsese’s acceptance speech, which read like a thank-you ad in Variety.


*Most Wasted Moments of the Evening: The EmmyTones.


*Best Argument for Term Limits in Emmy Wins: The annual Jeff Probst Award.

Who were some stars that didn't walk the red carpet? I didn't see Tina Fey or Betty White out there.

I did see Betty, who was asked by Ryan Seacrest "who" she ewas wearing and she responded that her outfit was a little thing she got from her fave shop, called "the back of my closet"....

It would have been a lot funner had it been the nominees for Best Actor in a Comedy!

so you are also of the "annoyingly sexist and why did those actresses agree to put themselves in that position" school of thought?

Is he really so much worse than his peers: Wolf, Sorkin, Bochco, Kelley, Carter? Was anybody else racking up awards for AMC before he came along?

He's definitely been worse when it comes to at least appearing gracious to his colleagues on his show during acceptance speech. Which made this year's speech so notable -- he gave a lot of credit to the people standing behind him.

Most writers felt that this was Jon Hamm's best chance to win an Emmy since it was the first time in four years that Bryan Cranston wasn't a nominee? With the voters going towards the sympathetic vote and FNL, and Cranston's being back on the ballot next year almost a given, did Hamm miss his shot?

If weeping didn't sway Emmy voters, he's only got "death scene" left and I'm guessing he's not willing to leave the show to snag an Emmy.... I'm out of time. Thanks for joining me!

In This Chat
Lisa de Moraes
Pulitzer Prize winner, Peabody recipient, Medal of Freedom honoree -- Lisa de Moraes is none of these, but she is an authority on the bad direction, over-acting, and muddled plot lines being played out in the TV industry's executive suites. de Moraes worked for a decade as the television editor at The Hollywood Reporter, the entertainment industry trade paper, where she was routinely on the receiving end of more shouting phone calls from TV suits than Paula Abdul's manager.

When she upgraded to The Washington Post in 1998, a well-known executive producer called to suggest she have someone else start her car, but her trenchant writing (and refusal to use words like "trenchant") earned her the following praise from the brilliant, handsome media observer at Slate: "She writes like a wicked bitch." Wikipedia has called her "a noted television columnist," but they're often unreliable. It's pronounced "deh more ICE."

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