Primetime Emmys 2012: 5 Memorable Moments

Jimmy Kimmel brought the jokes while Modern Family, Homeland and Breaking Bad won big.

'Modern Family' cast (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

(The Root) — The 64th-annual Emmy Awards complemented the new fall television season while celebrating the medium’s greatest actors, directors and more on Sunday at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

Late-night talk show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel helmed the show and had promised an unexpected prank during the ceremonies. Unfortunately, that twist turned out simply to be actor Tracy Morgan pretending to have passed out onstage, and the audience at home was instructed to tweet, “OMG Tracy Morgan just passed out onstage at the #emmys tune in to ABC now!” Needless to say, the joke fell as flat as Morgan’s back on the stage floor.

However, Kimmel’s opening monologue zingers were chuckle-worthy, including jabs at Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. “Downton Abbey is an amazing show … it really gives you a sense of what it must have been like to grow up in Mitt Romney’s house,” Kimmel said, before further cracking on the Republicans in the audience brave enough to clap. “Forty Republicans and the rest are godless liberal homosexuals. See, that’s why Kelsey Grammer didn’t come tonight … Being a Republican in Hollywood is like being a Chick-Fil-A sandwich on the snack table at Glee.”

Ultimately, Kimmel was a safe host choice for ABC, the network airing the Emmys, and it showed. Where’s Kevin Hart or Chris Rock when you need them? And none of the black Emmy nominees took home any accolades. Still, Sunday night’s collection of winners did give entertainment enthusiasts a clue about what to consider as must-see TV versus what one should catch up on later, during, say, a boob tube-watching marathon on a chilly winter night (the complete list of Emmy winners is here). Many of the shows that garnered awards, like Modern Family, which nabbed a number of awards including outstanding comedy series, begin their new seasons this week, so the presentation may just provide a ratings bump.

Here are a few memorable moments from the 2012 Emmys, including the best hug ever shared by two actors (see below).

Aaron Paul Wins for Breaking Bad

If you haven’t been watching AMC’s Breaking Bad, the story of a chemistry teacher-turned-crystal meth cook, you’re truly missing out. Giancarlo Esposito, of Spike Lee’s School Daze and the new NBC show Revolution, also happens to have given arguably a career-defining performance on the series as the calculating meth czar Gustavo “Gus” Fring. Nominated alongside co-star Aaron Paul for supporting actor in a drama series, when Paul won the award — which many viewers assumed would go to Esposito — the veteran actor gave the young man a strong hug and kiss of encouragement. Paul thanked and acknowledged Esposito from the stage and seemed genuinely surprised that he’d won.