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'Saddest Emmys of all time' delivers sniffles, surprises and big 'Breaking Bad' win

Sunday night's 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards show was marked by some surprises and brightened by a few familiar and favorite faces, but tinged with sadness.

Heavy moments weighed down the night, as individual tributes to actors Jean Stapleton, Cory Monteith, James Gandolfini, Jonathan Winters and writer Gary David Goldberg were delivered by co-stars and friends. 

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Actors Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Jonathan Banks celebrate "Breaking Bad's" outstanding drama win at the Emmys.

The broadcast also focused on the 50th anniversary of historic television events of 1963, which included the grim announcement of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

"This may be the saddest Emmys of all time, but we could not be happier," said "Modern Family" co-creator Steven Levitan, accepting the outstanding comedy award.

AMC drama "Breaking Bad" has been riding high on headlines about its dramatic final episodes, and that exposure paid off when the show claimed the outstanding drama Emmy and actress Anna Gunn won her first Emmy for best supporting actress in a drama. 

"Holy crap!" said show creator Vince Gilligan as he accepted the drama award. "I did not see this coming." The show's finale airs next week, while its second-to-last episode aired Sunday to mostly positive reviews.

While actors Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have won Emmys before, this was the first such honor for Gunn, who plays the wife of teacher-turned-meth-maker Walter White. Her character, Skyler, is so disliked that Gunn was moved to write an editorial for the New York Times about the audience's vitriolic reaction to her role.

"Bryan Cranston just told me to breathe," Gunn said as she began her acceptance speech.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus lightened a somber night's mood when she picked up her fourth lead actress Emmy, this time for her role as Vice-President Selina Meyer on "Veep," and stayed charmingly in character while delivering her acceptance speech.

While Louis-Dreyfus spoke, Tony Hale, who plays her obsequious aide Gary Walsh on "Veep" and had himself just won the award for best supporting actor in a comedy, stood behind her in character, holding her purse, nodding and gesturing. When Louis-Dreyfus thanked her two sons, Hale stage-whispered loudly, "you love them so much," leading Louis-Dreyfus to parrot, "I love them so much!" When she finished the speech, Hale gave his TV boss an encouraging thumbs-up.

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    Image: 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Press Room

    2013 Emmy Awards show

    Stars gather to celebrate and honor the best and the brightest in television.

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    From left, the cast of "Breaking Bad," RJ Mitte, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks, winners of the best drama series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards held in Los Angeles on Sept. 22.

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  • Image: Steven Levitan, executive producer, accepts the award for Outstanding Comedy Series for "Modern Family"

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    "Modern Family" executive producer Steven Levitan accepts the award for outstanding comedy series, with the cast behind him.

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    Will Farrell takes a more a casual approach to the awards show, dressing down and bringing his children onstage to present the outstanding comedy and drama series awards.

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    Michael Douglas examines his Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie for HBO's "Behind the Candelabra," in which he played Liberace.

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    "Dancing With the Stars" pro and choreographer Derek Hough celebrates with his trophy in the press room.

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    James Cromwell accepts his award for best supporting actor in a miniseries or movie for his portrayal of Dr. Arthur Arden/Hans Gruber on "American Horror Story: Asylum."

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  • Image: Actresses Anna Faris and Allison Janney present the award for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    Anna Faris, left, and Allison Janney present the award for outstanding writing for a miniseries, movie or a dramatic secial, which went to Abi Morgan for BBC America's, "The Hour."

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    Stephen Colbert celebrates winning best writing for a variety series and outstanding variety series for "The Colbert Report." This is the first time since 2003 that "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" did not win best variety show.

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    Stephen Colbert, center, accepts the award for outstanding variety series for "The Colbert Report." Backstage, the comedian said of his victory, "I’m really proud of the show, but no one’s a bigger fan of Jon Stewart than I am."

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    Bobby Cannavale of "Boardwalk Empire" speaks after a surprise win in the very tough best supporting actor in a drama series category. He beat out Jonathan Banks and Aaron Paul from "Breaking Bad," Jim Carter from "Downton Abbey," Peter Dinklage from "Game of Thrones" and Mandy Patinkin from "Homeland."

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  • Image: Actress Danes accepts the award for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series for her role in "Homeland" from presenter Fallon at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    Claire Danes wins lead actress in a drama series for the second year in a row for her portrayal of Carrie Mathison on Showtime's "Homeland."

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  • Image: Daniels poses with his award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    Jeff Daniels celebrates backstage after winning outstanding lead actor in a drama series for his portrayal of Will McAvoy on HBO's "The Newsroom."

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    "Breaking Bad" star Anna Gunn puckers up after nabbing the best supporting actress in a drama trophy.

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    Michael J. Fox honored "Family Ties" writer Gary David Goldberg during one of the evening's special In Memoriam tributes.

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  • Image: Actor Robin Williams pays tribute to the late Jonathan Winters at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    Robin Williams pays tribute to the late Jonathan Winters at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, calling the comedy icon his mentor. James Gandolfini, Jean Stapleton, Gary David Goldberg and Cory Monteith also received their own tributes.

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  • Image: Jim Parsons accepts the award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series for his role in "The Big Bang Theory" at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    "Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parsons accepts the award for outstanding lead actor in a comedy for his portrayal of Sheldon Cooper. "It is silly to be emotional about it, isn't it," the actor said, sounding a lot like his character.

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    "The Voice" host Carson Daly and executive producer Mark Burnett pose with their trophies for outstanding reality competition program. The singing competition's victory marks only the second time that "The Amazing Race" has lost in this category.

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    Elton John performed "Home Again" in honor of Liberace. The HBO film "Behind the Candelabra," based on the flambouyant pianist's life, took the top honor for best miniseries or movie.

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    Actress Melissa Leo posed for the press after winning the award for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for her part on "Louie."

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  • Image: Louis-Dreyfuss accepts the award for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series for her role in HBO's "Veep" as co-star Hale looks on at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus accepts the Emmy for lead comedy actress while in character as Selina Meyer on "Veep." Co-star Tony Hale, who plays her aide Gary Walsh, was also in character as he stood by his TV boss.

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    Tina Fey joked that Tracey Wigfield didn't have permission to speak after the two women won for outstanding writing for a comedy series for their work on "30 Rock."

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  • Image: Actor Kevin Spacey peforms a cutaway scene during the opening act at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    Kevin Spacey channeled his "House of Cards" character, politician Francis Underwood, during Neil Patrick Harris' opening bit.

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    Amy Poehler, left, and Tina Fey, in blue, present Merritt Wever with the trophy for outstanding actress in a comedy series for her portrayal of Zoey Barkow on "Nurse Jackie." The champ delivered one of the more memorable acceptance speeches in recent memory, offering a quick "thank you" before saying, "I gotta go, bye!"

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    Former Emmys hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Jane Lynch offer this year's host, Neil Patrick Harris, some advice during the opening bit.

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    Many expected Neil Patrick Harris to kick off the Emmys with a song-and-dance number, but instead, he opened with a taped bit wherein he attempted to watch a year's worth of programming all at once.

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  • Image: Actor and host Neil Patrick Harris opens the show at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    Actor and host Neil Patrick Harris opens the show at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 22.

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Louis-Dreyfus has also claimed the lead actress Emmy for playing Elaine Benes on "Seinfeld" in 1996, and for playing Christine Campbell on "The New Adventures of Old Christine" in 2006. She previously won for "Veep" in 2012.

Louis-Dreyfus was a favorite to win in her category, but a few other winners blew apart office pools. The Emmy for best supporting actress in a comedy was expected to go to one of the two "Modern Family" nominees, but instead was presented to Merritt Wever, who plays Zoey Barkow on Showtime's "Nurse Jackie." 

Wever delivered a memorable short speech in a program that started a few minutes late due to NFL football, quickly saying thank you and then blurting out, "I gotta go, bye!" and leaving the stage.

Host Neil Patrick Harris later remarked, "Merritt Wever, best speech ever."

More surprising wins came in both supporting and lead actor categories for dramatic programs. Bobby Cannavale won the supporting award for "Boardwalk Empire" and Jeff Daniels the lead actor honor for "The Newsroom," both against stiff competition from more headline-friendly shows. Many Emmy-watchers expected that award to go to Cranston for "Breaking Bad" or Kevin Spacey for "House of Cards."

"The last thing I won was for (2005 movie) 'The Squid and the Whale,' best actor over 50 from the AARP," said Daniels. "With all due respect to the AARP, this is better."

Jim Parsons won for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for his role as geeky physicist Sheldon Cooper on "The Big Bang Theory." He also won the award in 2011 and 2010. "It is silly to be emotional about it, isn't it?" he said in a typical-of-his-character aside.

Claire Danes, who was first nominated for an Emmy at age 16, for "My So-Called Life," won the lead actress in a drama series award for her role in "Homeland," her second straight win for that part. Danes made special mention of "Homeland" writer Henry Bromell, who earlier in the night won a posthumous award for outstanding writing in a drama. Bromell died in March at age 65 after suffering a torn aorta; his widow, Sarah, tearfully accepted his award.

"We just love him so much," Danes said of Bromell. "We think of him every day as we work on the show he helped define."

Tina Fey and Tracy Wigfield shared the Emmy for outstanding writing in a comedy for their work on "30 Rock."

"The Colbert Report" won for outstanding writing for a variety series, and also won the outstanding variety series award.

Don Roy King won for outstanding directing for a variety series for the Justin Timberlake-hosted episode of "Saturday Night Live."

David Fincher claimed the outstanding directing Emmy for the pilot for Netflix's "House of Cards," a notable honor because it was given to a program that didn't air on traditional television, but was made specifically to be streamed online. "House of Cards" also claimed awards for casting and cinematography at the Creative Arts Emmys held on Sept. 15. But some had expected the program to walk away with more honors, thus cementing the viability of online streaming programs such as "Cards," "Orange is the New Black," and the new episodes of "Arrested Development."

Singing program "The Voice" took home the Emmy for outstanding reality competition program. 

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    Image: Actress Anna Gunn waves as she arrives at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    From bold gowns to classic tuxes, see which Hollywood celebrities wore what for the big night.

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    Which Hollywood stars shined on the red carpet? From Tina Fey to January Jones, take a look at what celebrities wore for the big night.

    "Breaking Bad" actress Anna Gunn arrives at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sept. 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

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    E! host Giuliana Rancic, in Tadashi Shoji, arrives at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.

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  • Image: Actor Alec Baldwin arrives with his daughter Ireland at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    "30 Rock" actor Alec Baldwin and his daughter Ireland pose together.

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  • Image: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus from HBO's series "Veep" arrives at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    "Veep" actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, in a Monique Lhuillier gown, waves on the red carpet.

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    "Breaking Bad" actress Anna Gunn wears a bold design by Romona Keveza on the red carpet.

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    Christine Baranski of "The Good Wife" arrives at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.

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    Elisabeth Moss of "Mad Men" and "Top of the Lake" arrives wearing a dress by Andrew Gn.

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    Alyson Hannigan of "How I Met Your Mother" arrives at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre in a violet Marchesa.

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  • Image: Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson (R) from the ABC sitcom "Modern Family" poses with his husband Justin Mikita as they arrive at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson from "Modern Family" poses with his husband Justin Mikita as they arrive at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.

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    Kelly Osbourne wears a red gown by British designer Jenny Packham.

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    Kevin Spacey arrives at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A.

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    "Modern Family" star Sofia Vergara stuns in red Vera Wang.

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    Claire Danes, an Emmy winner for "Homeland," sported a bob hairdo on the red carpet Sunday night.

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    Zooey Deschanel arrives at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in a blue J. Mendel gown.

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    Sarah Silverman wore a stunningly simple black dress that only cost her $60.

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    Michelle Dockery arrives at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in a Prada dress.

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    HBO "Girls" actress Zosia Mamet, in Honor, arrives at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

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    Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, and director Jonathan Krisel arrive at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

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    Mayim Bialik and Aubrey Plaza are photographed together on the red carpet.

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  • Image: Actress Tina Fey arrives at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    Tina Fey of "30 Rock" paired chic, understated jewelry with a Narciso Rodriguez dress.

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    "The Big Bang Theory" star Kunal Nayyar arrives at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Google Glass.

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    Allison Williams wore a Ralph Lauren dress in bold cobalt blue.

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    Amy Poehler arrives at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A.

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    "Orange Is the New Black" star Taylor Schilling wore a custom Thakoon silk crepe gown.

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    Kiernan Shipka and Robert Morse of "Mad Men" share a hug.

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    Laura Dern shows off a Monique Lhuillile coral gown.

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    "Homeland" actress Morgan Saylor wears Honor in sophisticated black and white.

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    Tracy Morgan is all smiles for the photographers.

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    Padma Lakshmi, wearing KaufmanFranco, accessorized with a bold gold cuff.

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  • Image: Actor Mandy Patinkin from Showtime's "Homeland" arrives with his father Lester Patinkin at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

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    Mandy Patinkin from Showtime's "Homeland" arrives with his father Lester Patinkin at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.

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    "Modern Family" actress Ariel Winter poses in pink at the Emmy Awards.

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    TV personality Mario Lopez arrives at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

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    Too cute: "Modern Family" star Aubrey Anderson-Emmons arrives at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.

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    "Game of Thrones" actor Peter Dinklage and Erica Schmidt arrive at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

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    Actors Michael J. Fox and wife Tracy Pollan pose together on the red carpet.

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    Singer Carrie Underwood wears a regal purple gown by Romona Keveza.

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    "SNL" star Seth Meyers and wife Alexi Ashe flash their bling.

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    "Breaking Bad" actors Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston take a photo together.

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    Actress Kate Mara, in chic white, arrives at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

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    Michael Douglas poses on the red carpet at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.

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    Actor Jon Hamm and partner Jennifer Westfeldt pose together on the red carpet.

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    Actress Lena Dunham from HBO's series "Girls" shows off her bold floral Prada gown.

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    "Mad Men" actress January Jones, in Givenchy, poses for photographers.

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    Actress Julianne Hough and brother Derek Hough arrive at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

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"Considering everyone comes up to me weekly and says, 'I love your show 'Amazing Race,' ' it feels good to win for a show that I do produce," "Voice" producer Mark Burnett said backstage. "The Amazing Race" has dominated the reality competition Emmy category, winning nine out of 11 times.

Dancer and choreographer Derek Hough won the choreography Emmy for his work on "Dancing with the Stars."

Awards for miniseries and TV movie work were divided among numerous productions, but "Behind the Candelabra," the biopic about pianist Liberace that was originally intended for theatrical release, was the night's big winner after already claiming eight awards at the Creative Arts Emmys.

"Behind the Candelabra" won the best movie or miniseries Emmy, Stephen Soderbergh took home the directing honor, and Michael Douglas won the lead actor award for playing Liberace.

Laura Linney claimed the Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie for "The Big C: Hereafter."

James Cromwell won for outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie for his role in "American Horror Story: Asylum." Ellen Burstyn won for outstanding supporting actress for "Political Animals."

Abi Morgan won for outstanding writing for a miniseries, movie or dramatic special for "The Hour."

Melissa Leo and Bob Newhart won Emmys for guest actress and guest actor on comedy shows, while Gail Mancuso won for outstanding directing of a comedy series for "Modern Family."


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