Listen to Austin 360 Radio

‘Friday Night Lights' brings home pair of statues for final season

Staff Writer
Austin 360

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences finally gave some love to "Friday Night Lights" on Sunday, awarding Emmys to Kyle Chandler for lead actor and Jason Katims for writing in a drama series.

"Friday Night Lights," however, lost the big prize — best drama series — to the heavily favored "Mad Men."

Still, the two major awards for "Friday Night Lights" on Sunday night helped validate the critically acclaimed, Austin-shot series for its fifth and final season, which aired on DirecTV and NBC.

In his acceptance speech, Chandler, who played high school football coach Eric Taylor, thanked the cast and crew of "Friday Night Lights" as well as the people of Austin.

His victory was an upset over the more heavily favored nominees Jon Hamm of "Mad Men" and Steve Buscemi of "Boardwalk Empire."

Connie Britton, who played Coach Taylor's wife on "Friday Night Lights," was nominated for best actress in a drama series but lost to Julianna Marguiles of "The Good Wife."

Peter Dinklage won best supporting actor in a drama series for "Game of Thrones," while Margo Martindale, a Jacksonville, Texas, native, won supporting actress for "Justified."

Martin Scorsese won best drama series director for HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."

"Modern Family" dominated the comedy categories, winning best series as well as supporting actor (Ty Burrell), supporting actress (Julie Bowen) plus awards for best directing and writing.

Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory" won best actor, and Melissa McCarthy won best actress for "Mike & Molly."

The biggest surprise of the evening came in the race for best miniseries or made-for-TV movie. The category was won by PBS' "Downtown Abbey," which showed as part of Masterpiece Theater.

It beat HBO's heavily favored "Mildred Pierce," which garned a best actress Emmy for Kate Winslet and a best actor Emmy for Guy Pearce.

"Downton Abbey" also picked up awards for best supporting actres (Maggie Smith); best directing (Brian Percival); and best writing (Julian Fellowes).

In the reality-competition category, perennial winner "The Amazing Race" returned to triumph Sunday after losing last year to "Top Chef." "American Idol" lost its ninth shot at winning, this time for a season in which it successfully navigated the loss of key judge Simon Cowell.

Don Roy King won for directing a variety, music or comedy series for "Saturday Night Live" on NBC.

And "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" on Comedy Central picked up two awards, for the best variety, music or comedy series and for its writing.

The ceremony aired by Fox opened with a pre-taped comedy sketch that generated controversy because Alec Baldwin's part was cut after he included a joke about the News Corp. phone hacking scandal. Fox is a unit of News Corp.

Baldwin tweeted that Fox killed the joke about the hacking scandal in Britain involving the now-closed News of the World tabloid. Fox said it believed it was inappropriate to make light of an issue being taken very seriously by the company.

Leonard Nimoy stepped in and the bit was retaped. It featured host Jane Lynch celebrating television in a musical number, singing about TV as "a vast wonderland, a kingdom of joy in a box."

In another memorable moment, Charlie Sheen continued his bury-the-hatchet tour, announcing the lead actor in a comedy series award. Or as Sheen called it, "My old category."

But before he did, he took time to mend some fences.

"I want to take a moment to get something off my chest and say a few words to everybody here from 'Two and a Half Men," Sheen said as a silence fell over the awards show audience.

"From the bottom of my heart, I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season. We spent eight wonderful years together, and I know you will continue to make great television."

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the name of the television series "Downton Abbey."