Call it the Emmy Slayer. AMC's über successful Breaking Bad took home the gold in top categories Monday night at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards—Best Drama, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, practically shutting out that digital party-crasher Netflix. The awards show, hosted with grace and ease by late-night talk show host and SNL alum Seth Meyers, moved along fluidly and boasted some stand-out moments, including a double whammy win for FX's popular American Horror Story franchise—Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange took home the gold Monday in Best Actress acting categories in a mini-series (AHS: Coven).
The following are five other moments to savor.
An Emmy Heartbreak For The Normal Heart? The really good news: the moving HBO offering nabbed Best TV Movie and its passionate creative steward, Ryan Murphy, delivered a touching acceptance, calling on young viewers to become like activist Larry Kramers, "to find a cause you believe in that you will fight for, that you will die for." He mentioned amfAR and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and then dedicated the Emmy to "the hundreds of thousands of artists who have passed from HIV/AIDS since 1981—your memory and your passion burns on in us." The surprising news: The actors nominated in revered TV film—Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer and others—were ultimately overlooked by Emmy voters.
Gwen Stefani: The famous pop star pulled a John Travolta at the podium. Media had a frenzy earlier this year with Travolta's big Oscar faux—calling singer/actress Idina Menzel "Adele Dazeem"—and it will certainly have another one this week. Stefani, most likely nervous (???) to pronounce Emmy winner Stephen Colbert's name correctly—that silent T and all—gave birth to "Cole-bort." Afterward the No Doubt maven joked, "That s**t was bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!" Onward ...
Gail Mancuso Modern Family has many miracle workers within its comedic tribe, but who knew that one of its directors could be so charming and humorous? Mancuso took home the gold for Outstanding Direction for a Comedy Series. Her acceptance speech was one of the most memorable of the evening—she insisted on locking eyes with Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey, nominated for HBO's dark True Detective, all in an effort to avoid really tearing up. Talking directly to McConaughey of course cued the show's producers to zero in on the actor and "the bit" came across as organic, heartfelt and refreshing.
That Julia Louis-Dreyfus/Bryan Cranston Pairing Like fine wine with a gourmet meal, this one went down well. Individually, we all know these folks have comedic chops—Cranston spent years strutting his stuff on Malcolm in the Middle before Breaking Bad thrusted him into a new celebrity orbit and Louis-Dreyfus, who took home another Best Actress Emmy Monday for Veep, is still the beloved Elaine from Seinfeld in many TV viewers' hearts. So, onstage before introducing a new category, when Cranston reminded the actress that he played her love interest, a dentist, on a Seinfeld ep, and unsuccessfully convinced her of a potent kissing scene they shared, it was fun, but nothing to Tweet about. Flashforward to Louis-Dreyfus's win. Walking toward the stage, Cranston stole the scene and brought down the house by ambushing Louis-Dreyfus and engaging her in a long, passionate kiss. The actress went along with it. "Yeah," she eventually "remembered" on stage, "he was on Seinfeld."
Billy on the Street's Billy Eichner Let's hope Eichner continues to rise through the TV comedy ranks. The man is a breath of fresh air. In what became the evening's funniest segment, host Seth Meyers is seen tailing Eichner in a clip where the duo take on unsuspecting New Yorkers. Emmy questions are asked. Fun is poked. New Yorkers get the questions wrong. Eichner heats up and storms off. The scenes continue to heighten. It's one of the more delicious, inventive bits of comedy seen at an awards show in some time.
And two unforgettable extras:
Breaking Bad: We get it. Emmy really, really likes you. So do fans. Still, the show, which took home yet another Best Drama Emmy Monday—and grabbed three more for its top acting categories—has endured the most drawn out TV farewell in recent memory. Sometimes that's a good thing, and Breaking Bad deserves kudos, but thanks to media's persistent grip on the series since it bowed earlier this year, there's a bit of BB Overload going on in 2014.
Julia Roberts: We get it. You're Julia Roberts. But you're not Oprah. And you're becoming borderline annoying. Ms. Roberts, a suggestion. Next time you are asked to hit the stage to announce nominees and, ultimately, a winner of an award, nix the melodic Oprah voice, be graceful and please, stop making it about you.
Full list of Emmy winners here.