(CNN) — In a wild night of upsets at the Emmy Awards, the final honors were anything but unexpected.
“Breaking Bad” took home the Emmy for outstanding drama, despite a night in which other categories didn’t pan out the show’s way.
“Modern Family,” which won the last three years for outstanding comedy, did it for the fourth year in a row.
“This may be the saddest Emmys of all time, but we could not be happier,” said creator Steven Levitan, remarking on the upsets.
Jeff Daniels of “The Newsroom” won lead actor in a drama, beating out “Bad’s” Bryan Cranston and “House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey, among others.
“Well, crap. Didn’t expect this,” he said.
“You’re glad to be invited to the party, there are six of us nominated. There easily could have been 10 other guys,” he added backstage. “I felt the work stood up to what the other guys were doing, but we’re all doing different things, so it’s anybody’s game to win. I was happy to win, but surprised.”
Bobby Cannavale of “Boardwalk Empire” won supporting actor in a drama, beating out two “Breaking Bad” actors — as well as Mandy Patinkin of “Homeland.”
The honor for best writing in a drama series went to the late Henry Bromell, who wrote the “Q&A” episode of “Homeland.” The show’s Claire Danes won the Emmy for actress in a drama series.
David Fincher of “House of Cards” won the Emmy for directing for a drama series.
“Bad” did get on the board for supporting actress in a drama, with Anna Gunn winning the Emmy.
She dedicated her win to her daughters.
“Behind the Candelabra” won three Emmys, including honors for director Steven Soderbergh, star Michael Douglas and outstanding miniseries/movie. The HBO film also won eight Emmys at last week’s Creative Arts Emmys, giving it wins in 11 out of its 15 nominations.
Douglas, who played Liberace in the biopic, joked with co-star Matt Damon, who played Liberace lover Scott Thorsen.
“You deserve half of this,” he said. “Do you want the bottom or the top?”
“Veep” took an early lead at the TV awards show, winning acting honors for star Julia Louis-Dreyfus and co-star Tony Hale.
Louis-Dreyfus won lead actress in a comedy series for her portrayal of a sidelined U.S. vice president on the HBO comedy.
Hale, who joined Louis-Dreyfus in a joking addition as she accepted her award, won best supporting actor in a comedy. He plays her assistant on the show.
The Emmys surprised right out of the gate, giving best supporting actress in a comedy series to “Nurse Jackie’s” Merritt Wever.
“Thank you so much. Um, I gotta go. Bye,” said Wever in her abrupt acceptance speech.
Wever beat out such contenders as “30 Rock’s” Jane Krakowski and “Glee’s” Jane Lynch.
Backstage, Wever was only slightly less stunned.
“I’m scared, honestly,” she said about holding the Emmy. “I’m scared because it was unexpected, so I don’t know how to feel yet. I have therapy next week.”
“The Voice” pulled an upset, beating perennial winner “Amazing Race” for reality-competition program. It’s only the second time in 11 years “Amazing Race” hasn’t won.
“The Colbert Report” won outstanding variety series and for variety series writing — also beating a perennial winner, “The Daily Show.”
“It’s an honor to be nominated, but it’s more than that — it’s also a lie,” said “Colbert” host Stephen Colbert in accepting the variety series Emmy. He thanked “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, who gave Colbert the opportunity to host his own show.
“Saturday Night Live” won for variety series directing.
Jim Parsons won the Emmy for lead actor in a comedy series for “The Big Bang Theory.” It’s his third Emmy win.
At the Creative Arts Emmys last week, Bob Newhart — who has been nominated seven times over a more than five-decade career — finally won, for a guest role on “The Big Bang Theory.”
“They wrote an awful good script,” Newhart said of his “Big Bang Theory” colleagues. “They gave me a lot of hanging curveballs, and I kept swinging at them.”
At Sunday’s night’s broadcast, he earned a standing ovation when introduced by co-star Parsons.
By Todd Leopold
Alan Duke and David Daniel contributed to this story.