Emmy surprises: Wins, losses, moments that stunned

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Jim Parsons and Bryan Cranston won—for the fourth time each. Julia Louis-Dreyfus won for the third time in a row. The Amazing Race won for the 10th time. Breaking Bad and Modern Family once again took the top prizes (full winners list). That said, there were a few surprises Monday night at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards:

That low-key intro: No big production number. No song and dance. No pre-taped sketch. Just host Seth Meyers jumping straight into a traditional monologue (and a decently funny one too).

Sherlock won something! Two somethings! Three somethings! The PBS Masterpiece cult fav has never taken home a primetime Emmy before. But this year, Sherlock producer Steven Moffat won for writing “His Last Vow;” stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman both won as well. It was such a surprise that neither of the actors even showed up for the ceremony. (Sure, they probably had a conflict, but still…) It’s like Tumblr fandom took over Nokia Theater.

The Brooklyn Nine-Nine awards reversal continues: After that other awards show heavily honored (some say over-honored) Fox’s freshman comedy, some in the industry thought the lack of Emmy noms for Brooklyn were a reaction (some say an over-reaction) to the Golden Globes wins. It was shut out from the ceremony beyond Andre Braugher being nominated for supporting comedy actor. Surely he’ll win, right? Nope! Ty Burrell took the prize for Modern Family. Speaking of…

Modern Family’s still got it: It’s not surprising that Modern Family would do well. But coming off a pretty low-buzz year, some felt this year would mark a turning point against the show—especially in the series category. Not so much: Burrell and director Gail Mancuso won, and the show won for best series (a record-tying streak).

Sofia Vergara is put on a pedestal: The Modern Family actress was offered up as curvy eye candy to keep viewers glued while the President of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences did his annual speech. (This year’s was about TV diversity, in case you weren’t paying attention.) Twitter and the blogsphere lit up with accusations of sexism and objectification. (Vergara had a very strong opinion about the criticism backstage).

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Kathy Bates beat Julia Roberts: Call it a minor surprise, especially on a character level—the American Horror Story‘s sinister racist trumps The Normal Heart‘s crusading doctor in the movie/mini supporting actress category.

Robin Williams tribute was actually pretty perfect: Billy Crystal’s heartfelt and matter-of-fact speech struck the right note.

Game of Thrones total shut-out: This is the year’s most-nominated series, yet Thrones went home with zero primetime Emmys. Probably the biggest upset: Peter Dinklage, in his best season, losing to Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul. Also going home empty-handed after plenty of buzz: Netflix.

That kiss! At first, presenters Bryan Cranston and Julia Louis-Dreyfus engaged in what seemed like some standard-issue podium banter about the Breaking Bad star’s minor role on Seinfeld. Later, the set-up was paid off with Cranston jumping up to kiss the Veep star as she went to the stage to accept her award.

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