Emmys 2013: Upsets galore on an emotional night

The 65th Emmy Awards took so many of its winners by surprise Sunday night that several were, quite literally, speechless.

True, TV's biggest night had its share of repeat winners, notably ABC's "Modern Family" and actresses Claire Danes ("Homeland") and Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("Veep").

But the winners in several of the major acting categories proved the prognosticators wrong.

In fact, the first award of the night went to first-time winner Merritt Wever of Showtime's "Nurse Jackie" for supporting actress in a comedy series. She seemed flummoxed, almost as if she were channeling her on-screen role as a quirky young nurse trying to find her way in the world — and to the stage of the Nokia Theatre.

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Clearly shocked by the win, she said simply: "Thank you so much.... I gotta go, bye."

On the dramatic series side, the so-called experts were widely predicting wins for Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul of AMC's "Breaking Bad" for lead and supporting actor. Neither won. Much to his amazement, Bobby Cannavale was clutching the supporting actor's trophy for HBO's period mobster drama "Boardwalk Empire" and Jeff Daniels took the top honor for "The Newsroom."

"I didn't expect this," Daniels said, joking that he rarely wins anything besides "best actor over 50" from AARP, so he didn't have any prepared remarks.

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It wasn't only the acting categories that defied expectations.

NBC's singing competition series "The Voice" took top honor in reality competition, besting CBS' "Amazing Race," which had won this award nine times.

Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" won for variety series, ending the seeming lock on the category that was held by "The Daily Show With

Jon Stewart" and its 10 consecutive wins.

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Another winner who appeared stunned to be holding his first Emmy was Tony Hale, named supporting actor in a comedy series for "Veep," beating out three actors from "Modern Family" (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ed O'Neill and Ty Burrell) as well as the popular Bill Hader for his final season on "Saturday Night Live."

Though not entirely a surprise, "Breaking Bad" — which ends its series run Sept. 29 — picked up its first win in the drama category, topping last year's winner, "Homeland."

And Anna Gunn, who plays Walter White's nagging and widely despised wife, won for supporting actress in a drama, beating out the likes of "Downton Abbey's" Maggie Smith and "Mad Men's" Christina Hendricks. It was a four-peat for ABC's "Modern Family" for comedy series, and the show also won a director's trophy for Gail Mancuso, marking only the second time that a woman has won in that category.

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It was no surprise, however, that HBO's "Behind the Candelabra" proved to be the biggest winner, with 11 trophies.

The biopic about the flamboyant and closeted gay pianist Liberace and his love affair with a younger man started the night with eight wins from last week's Creative Arts ceremony.