Sep. 23, 2012 at 6:22 PM ET
The Emmy Awards offered up a number of surprises Sunday night (no "Mad Men"?), but the success of "Modern Family," which claimed four awards, should surprise no one.
In addition to winning the award for outstanding comedy for the third year in a row, "Modern Family" swept both supporting acting awards for comedies and picked up another for directing.
Eric Stonestreet claimed the first Emmy Award Sunday night, honored with the trophy for best supporting actor in a comedy series for his "Modern Family" role as Cameron Tucker.
"I never knew I'd be on TV as a gay man, but I love the pictures of hairy chests you guys are sending me," Stonestreet joked in his acceptance speech.
Stonestreet's win was followed by castmate Julie Bowen taking the best supporting actress award for her "Modern Family" role as Claire Dunphy.
"Modern Family" won yet another award when Steve Levitan won for best comedy direction. "I want to thank me for hiring me as a director when no one else would," he said in his acceptance speech. "I wouldn't be standing here tonight without my faith in me."
On the drama side, the critically acclaimed 1960s ad-man series "Mad Men" was shut out, with the psychological thriller "Homeland" capturing the Emmy for outstanding drama as well as awards for lead actor and actress, and the dramatic writing award.
"Mad Men" had claimed the dramatic series Emmy for four years in a row before losing to "Homeland" Sunday, and for many, its shut-out was the story of the night.
Damian Lewis won the Emmy for lead actor in a drama for his work on "Homeland." Joked Lewis, "I don't really believe in judging art, but I thought I'd show up just in case. It turned out all right."
Lewis was later followed to the stage by pregnant co-star Claire Danes, who claimed the award for lead actress in a drama. Danes thanked husband Hugh Dancy, calling the British actor "my husband, my love, my life, my baby daddy."
Jon Cryer seemed genuinely shocked to win the Emmy for lead actor in a comedy for his role as chiropractor Alan Harper in "Two and a Half Men." Cryer has won for best supporting actor in the days when Charlie Sheen was the show's lead actor.
"I did not just win this," Cryer stammered in his acceptance speech. "This is crazy."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus claimed the best actress in a comedy award for her role as a politician in "Veep," and pulled a gag with pal Amy Poehler where she pretended to accidentally read Poehler's own acceptance speech before trading with her mid-talk.
"People say that this show is a comedy, yet I don't see anything funny about me being vice president of the United States," Louis-Dreyfus said.
Tom Bergeron won his first Emmy ever as outstanding reality show host for his work on "Dancing With the Stars."
"I want to thank Jeff Probst for not being nominated, that helped," Bergeron joked. Probst, who hosts "Survivor," had won the honor every year since it was introduced in 2008.
"The Amazing Race" won the Emmy for outstanding reality competition series.
Louis C.K. took the award for writing in a comedy series for "Louie." He also won the Emmy for outstanding writing of a variety special for "Louis C.K. Live at the Beacon Theatre." "I wanted two, so this is nice," he joked.
Aaron Paul of "Breaking Bad" claimed the Emmy for best supporting actor in a drama, and thanked show creator Vince Gilligan "for not killing me off."
Dame Maggie Smith, who's won legions of fans for her role as the sharp-tongued Dowager Countess on "Downton Abbey," claimed the Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a drama. The actress, 77, was not present to accept.
Tim Van Patten won the Emmy for outstanding direction of a drama series for HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."
Glenn Weiss, who was busy directing the Emmys, won one himself for outstanding directing of a variety special for his work on the Tony Awards. Instead of coming to the stage, cameras cut to him backstage, where he was handed the trophy. "On awards shows, people get played off all the time by people like me," he noted. "So Tommy, play me off!"
"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" won the award for outstanding variety series, entertaining the audience with a bit in which Stewart was tackled by the other nominees, including Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon, all but crawling away from them down the aisle to accept the award with his staff.
"I'm not in the kind of shape I should be in to do a bit like that with Jimmy Fallon," confessed Stewart, breathing hard.
Kevin Costner won the Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie for his starring role in "Hatfields & McCoys," and Tom Berenger won for best supporting actor in a miniseries or movie for that same miniseries.
Jessica Lange took home the Emmy for best supporting actress in a miniseries or movie for her work on "American Horror Story."
Political miniseries "Game Change" was honored with the Emmy for outstanding miniseries or movie. It also won Emmys for writing for Danny Strong, directing for Jay Roach, and outstanding lead actress for Julianne Moore.
"I feel so validated because Sarah Palin gave me a big thumbs down," said Moore, who played the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential candidate.
Talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel opened the show with a sketch where he appears in the ladies' restroom and ends up borrowing a pair of pants from Ellen DeGeneres. DeGeneres later appeared on stage, still pantsless.
Kimmel later enlisted comedian Tracy Morgan to participate in a skit where Morgan pretended to have passed out onstage, with Kimmel encouraging viewers to tweet and Facebook the news as if it were real.
Kimmel also had his parents thrown out of the theater by security, claiming that they lied to him by telling him he could achieve anything he wanted in life, and noting that he had not, in fact, won an Emmy that night. (Kimmel did win a Daytime Emmy in 1999 for his work on "Win Ben Stein's Money.")
Were you happy with the winners? Tell us on Facebook.
More in The Clicker: