Claire Danes, Damian Lewis Take Home Lead Actor Emmys for Showtime's 'Homeland'

President Obama is a fan. Now Showtime's freshman hit that revolves around America's ongoing war on terror can boast a shelf full of Emmys.  Claire Danes and Damian Lewis took home awards for lead actress and actor in a drama for Homeland, while series co-creators  Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon earned the Emmy for outstanding writing. 

Accepting the Emmy for lead actor, Lewis, who plays a Marine sergeant who was held for eight years by Al-Qaeda, said: "I don’t really believe in judging art, but I thought I’d show up just in case."

 

He then asked for a round of applause for his fellow nominees which included Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, who has now been nominated in the category five times without winning.

Danes, who was considered a shoo-in for the Emmy for her searing portrayal of an emotionally unstable CIA officer, complimented Lewis for achieving the "magic trick of turning a villain into someone human, and someone we feel so deeply about." And she called co-star Mandy Patinkin the most "beautiful, generous, loving, imaginative actors I’ve ever come across."

Modern Family kicked off the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards with three statues; for supporting actor and actress for Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen and directing for series co-creator and executive producer Steve Levitan.

They were the second consecutive Emmys for the Modern Family stars.

The Emmys for lead actor and actress in a comedy series were something of a surprise with Jon Cryer ("This is crazy," he said) snagging only his second Emmy for CBS' long-runing Two And a Half Men. Cryer won his first Emmy for Men in 2009 when he was playing Charlie Sheen's foil. 

LIVE BLOG: Emmys 2012

Julia Louis-Dreyfus took home the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy for her portrayal of a bungling vice president of the United States in HBO's Veep. She teamed with oft-nominated Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler to poke a little fun at the Television Academy's track record of snubbing Poehler by pretending to mix up her acceptance speech with Poehler's.

"I would like to thank NBC, Parks and Rec...," said Louis-Drefuss. As she trailed off, Poehler got up from her seat to switch speeches with Louis-Dreyfus.

"It really is in fact tremendous to be in the same category with these women who are so powerful and wonderful and know what they’re doing," said Louis-Dreyfus, before adding, "Lastly, isn't it a shame that Amy Poehler didn't win."

PHOTOS: Emmys Red Carpet Arrivals

Stonestreet beat out three of his co-stars - Ed O'Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ty Burrell - as well as Saturday Night Live's Bill Hader and New Girl's Max Greenfield

He thanked his fellow nominees and noted that he "wouldn't be here without Jesse Tyler Ferguson," who plays his husband on the ABC comedy.

"There is no Mitch without Cam," he said from the podium, adding that he's honored to "show America and the world what a loving couple can be."

And he added that he never thought his breakthrough role would come playing a gay but, "but i love the pictures or hairy chests you guys are sending me."

Bowen also beat our her co-star Sofia Vergara, as well as the late Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives), Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory), Merritt Wever, (Nurse Jackie) and Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live).

STORY: Complete Emmys Winners List

Bowen thanked Modern Family co-creators Levitan and Chris Lloyd and self-depricaitngly suggested that her performance amounts to "me falling down while making faces and wearing nipple covers."

Levitan also struck a modest tone noting that one of the show's guest directors once said to him: "With your cast and your crew and your writers, a complete idiot could direct an episode of Modern Family."

Louis CK took home the Emmy for writing for his FX comedy Louis

The reality competition category saw yet another win for CBS' Amazing Race. But Tom Bergeron snagged the Emmy for best reality host for his work on Dancing with the Stars. A satisfied Bergeron thanked Survivor host Jeff Probst "for not being nominated. That helped," he said. 

Aaron Paul won his second supporting actor Emmy for AMC's Breaking Bad beating out multiple actors for PBS' Downton Abbey, competing in the drama series category for the first time this year. But Maggie Smith - who was not in attendance - earned the supporting actress Emmy for her tart portrayal of Downton's dowager countess.  

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart won its tenth consecutive Emmy for outstanding variety show. Announcing the award, Ricky Gervais sighed, "not again." And Jimmy Fallon tried to physically restrain Stewart from reaching the stage. 

"We make topical comedy which has the shelf life of egg salad," said Stewart.

 

 

 

 

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