Emmys Live-Blog; Emmys By The Numbers; Emmy Analysis: Broadcast TV’s Big Awards Comeback; Red Carpet Executive Arrivals

Deadline’s Diane Haithman and Ray Richmond were backstage at the Primetime Emmy Awards tonight to hear what the winners had to say.

Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell came backstage together after winning the awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. The Modern Family stars were asked first about being part of a show that is breaking ground for gays. Burrell said, “I don’t know, in terms of America, it feels very, very good to be on a show that seems like it’s slowly changing a lot of minds. Eric [Stonestreet] and Jesse [Tyler Ferguson] deserve all of the credit for that, and our amazing showrunners. It’s a great thing to just peripherally go to events and just basically start to talk about those characters like any other characters, relating to their life — it’s pretty cool.” Bowen joked, “As a straight woman, and part of a straight couple on the show, I feel marginalized.” On a more serious note, she added: “It’s absurd that it’s even an issue, but where it’s an issue, I’m glad that we are part of helping change minds.” Using the word “straight” in a different context, Burrell praised Bowen: “It’s even greater credit to what Julie does that the straight-person wins an Emmy, I don’t think that happens very often. In a couple there’s usually a straight-man and a wilder character. It’s due to her resourcefulness as an actor.” On going back to the set with an Emmy when other cast members were also nominated, Burrell said: “Eric won last year, and Ed [O'Neill] actually just said something really sweet right before the award, ‘whoever wins deserves it.’ I feel like we’re trying to enjoy this moment more than anything — we know this doesn’t last forever; we’re having a lot of fun.” Bowen said about her surprise win, “I kinda thought it was a lock on Betty White. If I didn’t have a dog in this fight, and I had two, I would have voted for Betty White. Claire is not necessarily fall-down funny every time.” She credits the writers for having found ways to make her character have many dimensions and “not just be the mom.” …

Later, Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman, winners for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, were asked how it feels for Modern Family to be sweeping the awards so far, with wins in every category they’ve been eligible for. Levitan: “We’re beyond thrilled with the way things have gone, obviously. It’s an embarrassment of riches, and from the bottom of our hearts we feel that Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen deserved to win. (Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series winner) Michael Alan Spiller, not so much. To tell you the truth, it’s a little surreal.” They were then asked what they did to ramp up the stories and quality of Modern Family in Season 2. Levitan: “We feel like we know the characters a little bit better this year. There was such dedication this year to keeping the quality up. We all live in fear of the quality dipping so we work extra hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. … I’ll also tell you that our kids are the unsung heroes of the show. What they do on this show is amazing. We ask them to do such complicated turns and they nail it constantly. They’re playing at the same level as the adults and that’s a rare thing.” …

Jim Parsons, winner of Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for The Big Bang Theory, was asked first about whether he knew Charlie Sheen would be presenting tonight. “No, I did not know,” Parsons said. “My first glimpse of him was when he was putting on his makeup, and then I started to put two and two together in my head.” Asked later if he had had any further contact with Sheen, Parsons said: “He just congratulated me and said ‘that’s awesome.’ It was that sweet and that banal, actually. I wish I had something lurid to say.” Parsons, who said that he was even more surprised than last year to find himself winning, saying that even his mother had told him someone else would win, ‘bless her heart.’ ” Who did Mom think would nab the award? Steve Carell. “That was what my mother had said, along with other prognosticators. It would have been very richly deserved on his part … yeah, that’s really who I though it would be. I really felt that it would be anybody but me, and Steve had a better chance than all the rest.” Parsons added that this year’s win was more fun than last year’s because the show is nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, as well as co-star Johnny Galecki, which lent more of a “party atmosphere” to the event. Of Galecki, he said: “We did text today, and he mentioned to me it was a butterfly-making day, he was on the treadmill several times. I agree it’s nerve-wracking — the treadmill definitely helps. I happened to do an elliptical this morning. It definitely helps.” …

CBS’ The Amazing Race managed to be both an eight-time winner and a surprising one, having had its seven-year win streak in the Outstanding Reality-Competition Program race end last year and then starting a new one at the Emmys tonight. “We’re shocked to win again,” said creator Bertram Van Munster. “But we also work hard for it. I’ve been around the world 55 times. We’re very focused on every detail. It’s a very complex operation. We’ve got 2,000 people working on it worldwide, and they all get paid in their currencies, so you can imagine how complicated it is.” …

Not unexpectedly, the first question Mike & Molly star Melissa McCarthy had to deal with was: Who came up with the idea of all the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series nominees coming up onstage together before a winner was announced and play the whole scene like a group of tearful candidates for Miss America? McCarthy said she heard the idea first from Martha Plimpton, “but she said, ‘Amy’s got an idea, and I said, most likely before I heard it, I’m in. If she has a funny idea, I’ll do it.’ ” Backstage questioners also had McCarthy’s role in the movie hit Bridesmaids on their minds, asking her about crude humor involving “puking and farting,” and what bodily function she would move on to next. “I thought I’d just go down the list, or do something off that, or I’ll make a career out of it, I don’t know. I’m just glad people went to see it. To me, that scene was like the horror film segment of the movie, less about being gross, but the pure horror of having that happen publicly.” McCarthy went on to say that Mike & Molly producer Chuck Lorre fought for her to take the part, since she had never done a lead role. “He dug his heels in and said, that’s it. He really went to bat for me, and I’m certainly glad he did, it’s working out great.” As she had mentioned on the red carpet, McCarthy said she had played a role in designing her purple gown: “It’s wildly comfortable, and it has pockets, which I enjoy in a gown,” she said. Finally, McCarthy said that she is grateful that Mike & Molly has not become about the fact that the romantic leads are both overweight. She said she knew that most press questions would initially be about weight, but “if they’re still happening 10 shows out, we’re in trouble. They’re just writing a great romantic comedy.” …

Margo Martindale, who won the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series award for her season-long gig on FX’s Justified, joked about “crawling up the stairs” to pick up her Emmy onstage: “I just wanted some men to come to my attention.” Asked about how the win felt, she said, “I’m on cloud nine, out of my body. It’s been a joyous year, a joyous ride. It was a perfect fit for me. I feel grateful to have had that job. Unfortunately, it’s in the past. They killed me off. Maybe they’ll regret it.” She added, “I thought that I was going to be in four episodes, then by the time they told me it was going to be 10 episodes, I thought quite honestly if they were so happy with what I was doing, I would live. Silly me!” …

Peter Dinklage, who won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, was asked how he manages to come off as such a cool customer in the characters he portrays. “It’s from being terrified on the inside, it’s all a fake show,” he said. “I feel very uncool, all the time, so thank you. It’s the low voice.” But one image of himself is not so attractive. When asked about a popular YouTube video that shows him slapping someone over and over, he said: “It’s terrible. It’s awful.” Dinklage said that working on Game of Thrones has given him a new respect for television. “I fought it for a long time. Television has become something it never was before, attractive to all the great writers. And that’s everything.” …

A little bit of Hollywood royalty joined the backstage fray following Martin Scorsese’s win for drama series directing for the Boardwalk Empire pilot. He was asked how this victory compared with winning an Oscar and replied, “Well, I was extremely nervous. It was something I’d never dreamed of. But I’m just as excited (as I’d been winning the Oscar), it’s quite extraordinary.” Of his work on Boardwalk, Scorsese said: “I’ve always dreamed of being involved in a project with character development over a period of time, like in Victorian novels. You can develop the characters, the storyline. … We were given much more license and freedom.” A question came about whether the number of wins for first-year projects tonight could augur a new creative direction for TV. “I personally hope so. I’d always hoped that the 1960s films that we started making for television, that there would be a new era of longform films created for the medium. It didn’t happen. But I think we have an opportunity now even more so than in independent cinema. I hope the time is here. It would lead to something really extraordinary.” …

Guy Pearce and Kate Winslet came backstage separately, but both were asked to address Pearce’s onstage comments about their steamy sex scenes in Mildred Pierce. Pearce was asked how his wife felt about his comments. “I’m not sure, I haven’t asked her,” he said. “She probably thought it was funny. We’ll see.” He did contradict what most actors have to say about sex scenes, that they’re not as much fun as they look. “Because it was Kate, yes, we had a good time,” he said. “They’re nerve-wracking to do, but she made them fun.” Asked if Winslet had ever compared him to her Titanic co-star Leonardo DiCaprio as a kisser, Pearce said, “No, she hasn’t. I keep asking her, but she refuses to tell me, so there is obviously some bad news there. She might tell me later if I get her drunk enough.” For her part, Winslet, winner of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, said: “In regards to Guy’s comments, I’m thrilled. I’ve had a crush on him since I was 11 years old.” While Pearce was happy about his own win, for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, he added that he was “sad for Todd” — referring to Mildred Pierce executive producer Todd Haynes, who saw the miniseries lose to PBS’ Downton Abbey. “He is such a wonderful director, with such a unique voice. I’m sad for him.” Winslet was asked to address her gushy onstage acceptance speech, which she ended by thanking her “mum.” Even though she was the favorite to win, she insisted: “I was extremely unprepared, I didn’t think I was going to win at all. I’m so thrilled to have won this. It just comes out the way it comes out. There’s not much you can really do about it.” …

There was an uncomfortable pause as the large cast and executives of Modern Family took the stage. A couple of them goaded Sarah Hyland, who plays shallow teenager Haley, to go up to the mike. “I’m not going to say anything!” she squealed, darting away in typical shy teen fashion. Instead, the first to speak was cast member Ed O’Neill, who was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series along with fellow cast members Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and winner Ty Burrell. “I wanted to win it very badly,” O’Neill said, referring not to his own nomination, but to the series’ second win. “For me, it was better than the first time. Just to repeat is difficult, and for us to have done it, I’m relieved.” All of the adult actors were submitted in supporting categories. Stonestreet, last year’s winner for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy, said that is as it should be. “There is really no decision as to who is a lead and who isn’t,” he said. “We consider ourselves an ensemble cast. No one carries more weight than anyone else. We all think we add the same amount of value to our show. We can’t wait for many more years of this show.” Meanwhile, jokes were flying about Sofia Vergara’s voluptuous figure and her slinky orange dress. One question came as to whether she would talk about her figure. “I love talking about my figure, what do you want to know?” she asked. One questioner wanted to know how she chose to wear the orange dress over another one a she had mentioned earlier. “The other one was like silver, and very sexy,” she said. “I put it on and I brought like 13 people from my family from Colombia. Everyone said the orange one, so that’s how I picked.” Vergara was asked about what kind of diet helps her keep her figure. “I like guacamole and plantains, marshmallows and cotton candy,” she said. “But I work out. I don’t eat that good, but I work out.” But Vergara drew the biggest laugh when she was asked what she was wearing underneath the dress. “I am wearing my Kmart underwear,” she said. And when O’Neill was asked what he was wearing underneath his clothes, Vergara said tartly: “He’s wearing my Kmart underwear, too.” …

After winning the Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, Downton Abbey executive producer Julian Fellowes was asked if he might consider taking on Britain’s Royal Family in a project. “No,” he said, “the Royals can manage well enough without me.” To be sure, Downton managed to beat the favored HBO mini Mildred Pierce and its chart-topping 21 nominations. “It really is a David and Goliath situation,” said Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton of Downton‘s competing against Mildred. “HBO (projects) have tremendous advertising and marketing muscle behind it. Eaton also was asked if Downton‘s Emmy performance gave it a higher profile heading into the show’s second season on Masterpiece in January. “Absolutely,” she replied. “We just entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the best reviewed program ever. That helps too.” …

Mad Men creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner seemed still somewhat dazed backstage after the AMC period drama took its fourth consecutive Outstanding Drama Series Emmy, tying it for the drama record with Hill Street Blues, The West Wing and L.A. Law. (Only Hill Street and West Wing turned the trick in successive years like Mad Men). What did having his show be in such historic company mean to him? “I’m a huge fan of television and watched all of those shows, and it’s hard for me to comprehend being in that company,” he admitted. “I haven’t absorbed that yet.” Weiner was asked if this win felt sweeter considering his acrimonious and very public contract negotiations this past spring. “I don’t even know how to answer that question,” he said, “so I’ll just say yes.” Turning serious, he added, “I was fighting to keep the show the way it is and keep it good. So the sweetest thing is to be able to get back to work tomorrow, and to keep going back, to work on this show every day. The rest is gravy.” But continuing in that philosophical vein, Weiner, hardly in a gloating mood but one of seemingly being humbled, noted, “We know this can’t go on forever. And we do the same work whether we win or not.”

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