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2013 Emmys: Breaking Bad Wins Outstanding Drama, Modern Family Is Top Comedy Yet Again

Breaking Bad Cast, Emmy Awards Show, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Jonathan Banks, Anna Gunn Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The bang that Breaking Bad is going out on just got louder.

The critically beloved AMC series was named Outstanding Drama Series at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards tonight, a slightly unexpected first-time win after Bryan Cranston failed to bring home his fourth statue for playing chemistry teacher-turned-meth kingpin Walter White.

Breaking Bad Cast, Emmy Awards Show, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Jonathan Banks, Anna Gunn Kevin Winter/Getty Images

"Holy crap! I did not see this coming," were the first words out of series creator Vince Gilligan's mouth when he hit the stage to accept, revealing that he expected any of the other shows to win before his.

Complete list of winners

On the totally expected flipside, meanwhile, Modern Family took home its fourth straight Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.

"Well, this may be the saddest Emmys of all time but we could not be happier," executive producer Steve Levitan cracked, a nod at the disconcertingly high number of in memoriam tributes and the segment marking 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the ascension of television as a deliverer of news and a means of informing the world's reaction to historic events.

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Jeff Daniels, Emmy Awards Show Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Jeff Daniels pulled off what could be considered the first major upset of the night by winning outstanding lead actor in a drama series for The Newsroom—meaning, you know, that Cranston did not win (though at least he'll have another shot next year to be rewarded for Walter White's more diabolical-than-ever treachery on Breaking Bad's final eight episodes).

"Well, crap," Daniels began his acceptance speech, a harbinger of other Emmy winners to come.

In terms of hype, Bobby Cannavale pulled off a big upset as well over Aaron Paul, but the veteran character actor's sadistic gangster Gyp Rosetti on Boardwalk Empire was worth every vote.

Cannavale capped his speech with a shout-out to newly blond girlfriend Rose Byrne, calling her "the love of my life." 

Anna Gunn, meanwhile, deservedly won her first supporting actress in a drama Emmy for playing the beyond-put-upon Skyler White in Breaking Bad.

A temporarily bobbed Claire Danes repeated for lead actress in a drama for Homeland, meaning it wasn't yet the year for social-media favorite Kerry Washington.

Claire Danes, Emmy Awards Show Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Netflix didn't make as much history as it could have, but it made some: An absentee David Fincher won for directing a drama series for House of Cards.

Gail Mancuso won for outstanding directing for a comedy series, only the second time a woman has won the award.

Saturday Night Live, meanwhile, has now surpassed Frasier as the most winning show of all time with 40 Emmys to the sitcom's 37, including tonight's trophy for Don Roy King's direction of a variety series.

Alec Baldwin was denied his third Emmy for lead actor in a comedy series for playing Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock by now three-time winner Jim Parsons, who notched his third consecutive win for his role as the brilliant but insufferable Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory

Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her second straight Emmy for lead actress in a comedy series as the star of Veep—and fourth Emmy overall, meaning she has won an Emmy for every series she has starred on, including The New Adventures of Old Christine and Seinfeld, the latter being for a supporting role.

The veteran star accepted with the help of costar and winner for supporting actor in a comedy Tony Hale, who helpfully held his boss, er, colleague's purse and fed her the appropriate lines. "I'd like to thank my family...and I love them so much," Selina added, with Gary's assistance.

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Emmy Awards Show, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale Kevin Winter/Getty Images

And at that point we had already assumed that nothing would top the best speech of the nightMerritt Wever saying nothing but, "Thank you so much. I gotta go, bye," after winning best supporting actress in a comedy series for Nurse Jackie.

Elton John performed a musical tribute to Liberace, warming up the crowd for Behind the Candelabra's expectant triumph in the best miniseries or movie category, as well as Steven Soderbergh's win for directing and Michael Douglas' win for lead actor in a miniseries or movie for playing the flamboyant entertainer.

In his acceptance speech, he dedicated half of his award to costar and category competitor Matt Damon, who played Liberace's onetime lover Scott Thorson.

HBO's seven Emmys were the most of any network tonight, followed by Showtime's four. The absentee Laura Linney won for lead actress in a miniseries or movie for The Big C, a transfer from the comedy category due to its four-episode final (and fatal) season.

Similarly, the "miniseries" American Horror Story: Asylum—the most nominated show heading into the Emmys with 17—picked up one tonight, supporting actor for James Cromwell.

Another momentous moment came when The Colbert Report ended the uninterrupted reign of The Daily Show in the outstanding variety series department, not long after Colbert & Co. picked up the win for writing for a variety series.

"I personally have to thank my friend and my brother, Jon Stewart, who said 'We should do a show together where you're a professional idiot,'" Colbert said onstage, surrounded by his pretty brilliant staff. "Jon never told me how good this feels, actually."

The Voice topped perennial winner The Amazing Race to snag its first Emmy for outstanding reality competition program.

(Originally published Sept. 22, 2013 at 8:19 p.m. PT)

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