He had no expectation of taking the supporting drama actor trophy for "Boardwalk Empire" against such high-wattage competition as Aaron Paul of "Breaking Bad" and Mandy Patinkin of "Homeland."
Cannavale segued from "Boardwalk" to a regular role on Showtime's "Nurse Jackie." Like so many thesps, he noted that cable TV is the place for adult fare these days.
"I lucked out I hit it at the right time," he said. "I could be doing another season of Actors Theater in Louisville."
It took what felt like a long time for him to process the fact that his name was called in his category. It felt like slow motion, until he caught sight of his card-playing buddy, Jon Hamm, giving him a big thumbs up.
"I was really just shocked," he said.
© 2013 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC