The Normal Heart, Jim Parsons & Modern Family Take Home Emmys

8.26.2014

By Jerry Portwood

It was a big night for Ryan Murphy, one of the most powerful gay men in Hollywood

The Emmy Awards are always a mixed bag, with armchair critics looking for trends and plenty of people making wild predictions on who will win based on personal proclivities. This year was no different. While it seemed like it could be a historic year for LGBT actors, directors, writers, and gay-themed material, it turned out that a lot of the same people won the same awards. Some of those were still quite exciting for us watching from the cheap seats. Despite all the chatter about whether this was a win for paid cable channels vs. network TV vs. streaming services (especially since Netflix was snubbed), one man who has projects across all three formats, won: Ryan Murphy, who solidified his stature as one of the most powerful gay men in Hollywood.

Jim Parsons won Best Actor in a Comedy Series once again for his role in ABC's The Big Bang Theory. Now the highest paid openly gay TV actor, with four wins in the category, he is now tied with Kelsey Grammar, Carroll O'Connor, and Michael J. Fox. Parsons was also up for Best Supporting Actor in a miniseries or movie for his role in HBO's The Normal Heart, but he, along with the rest of his co-stars on the Ryan Murphy adapted-movie and were shut out of the acting categories, including Matt Bomer, a fan favorite. In a surprising upset to many, Sherlock took two acting awards, including for Benedict

Cumberbatch, who will be playing gay hero Alan Turing in the feature film The Imitation Game this fall.
The Normal Heart did take home the award for Best Movie on TV, and the cast took the stage, along with Larry Kramer, who received a standing ovation and joined the rest on stage, wearing a scarf and ACT-UP hat, but did not speak. Murphy did give a heartwarming invocation encouraging activism and stating:

"We're going to use the rest of our time to ask young people watching to become Larry Kramers -- to find a cause you believe in, that you will fight for, that you will die for. Go online. Look up amfAR. Look up the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. This is for all of the hundreds of thousands of artists that have passed from HIV/AIDS since 1981. Your memory and your passion burns on in us and this is for them."

Although he didn't take home any awards for it, Murphy's FX anthology series, American Horror Story, did earn statues for two of its most revered actresses: Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates. The latter Oscar-winner seemed just as surprised by her win over Julia Roberts (who was also nominated for The Normal Heart). 

Top drama honors went to AMC's Breaking Bad, which has now ended its reign. ABC's Modern Family won once again for Best Comedy. The series tied Frasier for a record five consecutive wins. Jesse Tyler Ferguson told fans before the show that he thought it was unlikely that the series would win again.

"But should we win again I feel like there will be a collective groan in the audience. And you go up there with your tail between your legs to accept this prize that no one in the room wants you to have. [But] I think we’ve won every year because our show is very good. I don’t think we’re lucky. I think we’ve had one of our strongest seasons, and if we’re lucky enough to win this year I would hold up my head."

It's a triumph for a comedy that brings so many topics to the table with humor continues to receive plaudits (and big audiences) on a family-centered network.

We know one actor who wished he could have been there. Zachary Quinto shared an Instagram photo from the Long Island set where he's filming Michael with James Franco. Glued to the TV, he didn't even have time to get his pants on, he was so excited to see what was happening out with his pals in L.A. 

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