At the 2013 Emmy Awards, Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas heard his name called as the winner for Lead Actor in a Mini-Series or Movie for his portrayal of the flamboyant Liberace in the HBO original movie, "Behind The Candelabra." In his acceptance speech, as Yahoo Screen reported Sept. 22, he wasted little time in sharing the glory with his co-star (and fellow nominee) Matt Damon, who portrayed Liberace's gay love interest, Scott Thorson. Douglas went on to make a couple of unintended jokes, actual praise that became double entendres, bringing the live audience to laughter and Damon to hiding behind his hand.
Speaking of which...
"Obviously, there is one nominee in particular I have to thank. This is a two-hander and Matt, you're only as good... you're only as your other hand," Douglas said, while holding the gold Emmy statuette and pointing to his co-star in the audience. Complimenting Damon on his "magnificent" work in the film as a smiling Damon was seen holding up a hand in protest, "Matt, you deserve half of this. You want the bottom or the top?"
"Behind The Candelabra" also won for Directing, Miniseries or Movie (Steven Soderbergh) and for Movie or Miniseries at the 65th Emmy Awards, which were held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif., and broadcast on CBS Television. The biographical film won the most Emmy Awards of the night, taking three in all.
Michael Douglas later would say that the gay double entendres had been unintended. He hadn't actually prepared the first couple of lines (the "top half/bottom half" line he had planned) and, after saying them, was quite surprised by the crowd's reaction -- laughter and applause, which is another form of two-hander altogether.
He told The Hollywood Reporter backstage that "two-hander" was actually an acting term that was "all about two people together, and you're only as good as the other partner. We relied on each other through this whole experience. And I wouldn't be up onstage without Matt and his performance and his commitment."
Michael Douglas' portrayal of the legendary Las Vegas showman Liberace garnered him his first Emmy win. He had been previously nominated four times, according to the Internet Movie Database, once as Guest Actor on "Will and Grace" (2002) and three times for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his work on "The Streets of San Francisco" (1974, 1975, 1976).
Nothing like unintended consequences...