- Associated Press - Sunday, September 23, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The terrorism thriller “Homeland” and “Modern Family” were the top winners at Sunday’s Emmy Awards in a ceremony that veered between daring and predictability in honors and Jimmy Kimmel’s turn as host.

The four awards for “Modern Family” included a three-peat as best comedy series, although there was a minor backlash online as some Emmy watchers questioned whether the show had a deserving season. “Mad Men” walked away without a single statuette.

“Homeland,” whose four trophies included honors for stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, stopped “Mad Men” in its tracks, denying the show a record-setting fifth best drama trophy. Turns out the TV academy wasn’t ready to crown the Madison Avenue saga as best ever.

Showtime’s “Homeland,” the cable channel’s first best drama winner, also kept Bryan Cranston from his fourth consecutive best acting award for “Breaking Bad” and made “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm an also-ran once more.

“I’m one of those pesky Brits, I apologize,” said Lewis, who plays an American. “I don’t really believe in judging art, but I thought I’d show up just in case.”

Danes, eye-catching in a bright yellow dress that gracefully draped the pregnant actress, was effusive.

“My husband, my love, my life, my baby daddy, this doesn’t mean anything without you,” she said to her spouse, actor Hugh Dancy.

Backstage, Danes said she particularly appreciated one fan: President Barack Obama has said he’s a fan of “Homeland,” about a Marine and former POW who’s suspected of working for al Qaeda.

“No pressure,” the actress said. “It’s way cool that he is a fan. It speaks to the relevancy of the show and it’s hugely validating.”

The acting trophies, along with a best writing award for the show, gave “Homeland” momentum as it headed toward the best drama award.

Kimmel, in his first turn as Emmy host, fielded some clever videos (no surprise given the famed Matt Damon-Sarah Silverman romp he inspired) but wasn’t memorable on stage as the three-hour ceremony unfolded.

Aaron Paul won best supporting drama actor for “Breaking Bad” and “Homeland” won the best writing award.

“Thank you so much for not killing me off,” Paul said of his drug-dealing character’s lucky survival. “Thank you Hollywood for allowing me to be part of your group,” he added, noting he’d moved from Idaho to pursue his dreams.

In a surprise on the comedy side, Emmy voters decided that “Two and a Half Men” with Jon Cryer and without Charlie Sheen is really good, as Cryer claimed the best comedy actor trophy.

“Don’t panic, people. Something has clearly gone terribly wrong. I’m stunned,” said Cryer, who on the red carpet before the show has expressed confidence he wouldn’t win. Among others, he beat out two-time winner Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory.”

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