Tony nominees Jeff Daniels (God of Carnage) and Bobby Cannavale (The Motherf**ker With the Hat) were surprise winners at the 2013 Emmy Awards, held on September 22 in Los Angeles. Neil Patrick Harris, Broadway-bound later this season in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, hosted the ceremony at the Nokia Theatre.
Daniels won Best Actor in a Drama Series for playing Will McAvoy in HBO’s The Newsroom, edging out a field that included Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and House of Cards’ Kevin Spacey. In his acceptance speech, Daniels, who got his start off-Broadway at Circle Repertory Company, cited advice from playwright Lanford Wilson on the importance of choosing meaningful projects.
Cannavale won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Emmy for playing psychotic mobster Gyp Rosetti in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. A previous winner for his guest stint on Will & Grace, Cannavale paid tribute to fellow nominee Mandy Patinkin in his acceptance speech, noting that the Tony-winning Homeland star was in the first play Cannavale ever saw.
A third surprise winner was off-Broadway vet and Nurse Jackie cast member Merritt Wever, who gave the shortest speech of the night, “I gotta go, bye,” after winning Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy.
Breaking Bad star Anna Gunn, a theater star in Los Angeles who created the role of photojournalist Sarah Goodwin in Time Stands Still and made a brief Broadway debut in 1996 opposite Roger Rees in The Rehearsal, won Best Supporting Actress in a Drama. (Coincidentally, Laura Linney, who played the same role in Time Stands Still on Broadway, won an Emmy for The Big C: Hereafter.)
Other stage vets honored included Claire Danes (Best Actress in a Drama series for Homeland and Ellen Burstyn (Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for Political Animals). Breaking Bad won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series, Modern Family won for Outstanding Comedy Series, and Behind the Candelabra won for Best Miniseries or Movie.