- Surprise winners all around! Tony Hale and Merritt Wever broke up the Modern Family monopoly on the Supporting categories in comedy, and Jeff Daniels came out of nowhere to claim Best Actor in a Drama Series over Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston, Damian Lewis (last year's winner), and Hugh Bonneville. These are the things that make Emmywatching fun.
- Winning streaks broken! In particular, The Voice took home Best Reality Competition Series, becoming only the third program to win and interrupting The Amazing Race's continued dominance. And The Colbert Report (deservedly) won Best Variety Series, bringing an end to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's 10-year reign at the top.
- The network formally known as American Movie Classics - that's AMC - became the first cable network to have two individual programs win Best Drama Series, with Breaking Bad joining Mad Men in that winner's circle this year. Yes, that even includes HBO, which, despite multiple nominations, only ever won this category for The Sopranos.
- 30 Rock says goodbye with one last win for Writing for a Comedy Series, going to Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield. Plus, Gail Mancuso won Directing for a Comedy Series, so it was a great night for women behind-the-scenes in comedy.
- Though the opening bit with previous hosts was kind of a drag, it was worth it for the cutaway to Kevin Spacey, in character as House of Cards' Frank Underwood, explaining to the camera that all was going according to his plan.
- Merritt Wever's acceptance speech: "Thanks so much! Thank you so much. Um, I gotta go, bye."
- Tony Hale accompanying Julia Louis-Dreyfus to the stage for her Best Actress in a Comedy win, whispering in her ear just as his character does on Veep.
- Edie Falco's tribute to James Gandolfini and Rob Reiner's to Jean Stapleton: completely justifying the decision to do such tributes throughout the show.
- Bob Newhart's standing ovation.
- The random dance number in the middle of the show, as well as the even-more-random presentation of the Best Choreography nominees. The only thing saving the former was Neil Patrick Harris' energy and Nathan Fillion singing.
- Some things remain inevitable: Modern Family won a fourth consecutive Comedy Series Emmy, despite being up against much-better shows. Look, I still enjoy watching Modern Family, but I wouldn't call it the best comedy on television. I'm not even sure it would make my top 20.
- No love for the beautiful Top of the Lake.
- There were several great selections for Best Actress in a Miniseries/Movie, and they went with...Laura Linney for The Big C: Hereafter, which I didn't even know was a thing until the nominations were announced in July? Was this to make up for not giving her the Actress in a Comedy prize back when the show debuted (she was considered the frontrunner, but Melissa McCarthy of Mike & Molly won)?
- CBS' shameless plugging of their fall schedule, which was to be expected, but they really hammered it hard this time.
- Look, I acknowledge that Cory Monteith's passing was tragic. He had a lot left to live for, and his career was only just beginning. But was it really necessary to have a special tribute for him and not, say, Jack Klugman, Larry Hagman, or Annette Funicello?
- How awkward everyone looked standing in the green room next to Shemar Moore, who seemed to get increasingly intoxicated as the night went on.
- For the second year in a row, Mad Men went home with absolutely nothing.
BEST COMEDY SERIES
BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Veep
BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Tony Hale, Veep
BEST DIRECTOR OF A COMEDY SERIES
Modern Family, "Arrested"; directed by Gail Mancuso
BEST WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
30 Rock, "Last Lunch"; written by Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield
BEST DRAMA SERIES
BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Claire Danes, Homeland
BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire
BEST DIRECTOR FOR A DRAMA SERIES
House of Cards, "Chapter One"; directed by David Fincher
BEST WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
Homeland, "Q&A"; written by Henry Bromell
BEST MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE
Behind the Candelabra
BEST ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Laura Linney, The Big C: Hereafter
BEST ACTOR IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Ellen Burstyn, Political Animals
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
James Cromwell, American Horror Story: Asylum
BEST DIRECTOR FOR A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Behind the Candelabra; directed by Steven Soderbergh
BEST WRITING FOR A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
The Hour; written by Abi Morgan