- Associated Press - Sunday, September 23, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The annual Emmy Awards has opened with Eric Stonestreet of “Modern Family” earning the trophy for best supporting actor in a comedy.

Stonestreet has won two of the past three years, losing to fellow cast member Ty Burrell last year. He plays the gay stay-at-home dad in ABC’s ensemble comedy, which has become televison’s most popular sitcom.

He had to beat three of his fellow cast members for the Emmy. Burrell, Ed O’Neill and Jesse Tyler Ferguson of “Modern Family” were also nominated. Max Greenfield of Fox’s “New Girl” and Bill Hader of “Saturday Night Live” rounded out the list of nominees.

The 64th Primetime Emmys are airing live Sunday from the Nokia Theatre L.A., with Jimmy Kimmel as host.

The show started with bathroom humor: A filmed bit with Kathy Bates, Zooey Deschanel and other nominees prepping in the restroom, then discovering a weeping Kimmel lamenting a Botox reaction he said would keep him off stage.

“You look beatiful,” he was reassured. “You look like a `Real Housewife.’”

Viewers of the skit may have been puzzled by a nude Lena Dunham, the creator-star of “Girls,” unless they’re aware she’s routinely brave about showing skin on the HBO comedy.

The red carpet saw plenty of red _ including on Kat Dennings in J. Mendel and Padma Lakshmi in a red strapless gown and Ginnifer Goodwin in red flame over champagne.

Padma Lakshmi looked gorgeous in a strapless, orange, mermaid-style Monique Lhullier gown, which helped her become a trending topic on Twitter. Another hot item: Zooey Deschanel, who had a manicure with little TV sets on her thumbnails.

Jon Cryer, a nominee for lead actor in a comedy series for “Two and a Half Men” didn’t anticipate winning.

“This year I’m in the lead actor category, which is Alec Baldwin, Larry David, Don Cheadle, Jim Parsons,” he said. “I’m not gonna win.”

Sofia Vergara, a nominee for best supporting actress in a comedy for “Modern Family,” waved away the tension. “Some people dread these events, I enjoy them. I love them,” she said.

“Breaking Bad” and “Homeland” are among the series that could prove spoilers for AMC’s sophisticated saga about 1960s America.

Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad” has a shot at his fourth best drama actor victory, which would tie Dennis Franz’s record set in 1999 for “NYPD Blue.”

If Cranston wins, that would leave “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm and Michael C. Hall of “Dexter” out in the cold for the fifth time.

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