Mad Men, a drama series about the advertising business, and the comedy 30 Rock earned top honors at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday. The Emmys are considered the highest honors in American television.
30 Rock, an ensemble comedy that looks behind the scenes of a fictional television show, was named best comedy series for the third year in a row. Series' star Alec Baldwin was named best comic actor for the second year running.
The show had 22 nominations, but failed to live up to its promise. It won just three Emmys. Comedienne Tina Fey created the show. She is a writer on the series and stars in it. She lost out on the acting Emmy to Toni Collette, however, the Australian performer who stars in the series United States of Tara.
Actress Sigourney Weaver presented the Emmy for best drama series.
"And the Emmy goes to Mad Men," she said.
Mad Men, a show about the New York advertising business in the 1960s, won the Emmy for best drama for the second consecutive year.
Glenn Close earned the Emmy for best actress in a drama for her role as a ruthless lawyer in the series Damages. Accepting the award, she talked about the entertainment business and some of its stars who have died in the past year.
"I just think it is such a huge privilege to be in the community that we are all a part of," Close said. "Looking at who we lost this past year, you think, what a legacy we have, and what power we have."
Pop star Michael Jackson, actor Patrick Swayze and actress Farrah Fawcett are among the entertainers and personalities who were memorialized on the show.
Bryan Cranston took the Emmy for best actor in a drama series for Breaking Bad, a show about a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal cancer and embarks on a career making illegal drugs. Accepting the award, Cranston reflected on the flawed character, and his own good fortune.
"Breaking Bad is a story about a good man who makes bad decisions. And I stand before you a humbled man very grateful for the decision the academy has made to honor me with this award. Thank you so much," he said.
Iranian American actress Shoreh Aghdashloo was named best supporting actress in a miniseries or movie for her role as the wife of Saddam Hussein in House of Saddam. The miniseries, which was co-produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation and Home Box Office or HBO cable network, explored relations within the former Iraqi dictator's family and inner circle.
The actress, who was nominated for an Oscar for the 2003 feature film House of Sand and Fog, thanked her family, and the cast and crew of the four-episode series.
"I cherish this more than you can possibly imagine. Thank you," Aghdashloo said.
Irish-born Brendan Gleeson won the Emmy for best actor in a miniseries or movie for his role as former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the television film Into the Storm. Grey Gardens, a story based on two eccentric relatives of the late Jackie Kennedy Onassis, widow of President John F. Kennedy, was named best television movie. Jessica Lange won an Emmy for her starring role in the film, and Ken Howard earned one for his supporting role.
The adaptation of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit, a co-production of the BBC and U.S. Public Broadcasting System, won three awards.
The Emmys are presented by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. They are the highlight of the year in the U.S. broadcasting industry, but the telecast has suffered from poor ratings. Producers hoped this year's host, actor Neil Patrick Harris, would add some zest to the program, and several Emmy recipients had warm praise for his performance.