It might not have been a star turn, but Baltimore had a strong supporting role at Sunday's Emmy Awards telecast. And it extended beyond the city's well documented ties to the series named best drama and comedy, AMC's "Mad Men" and ABC's "Modern Family."
Baltimore Friends School graduate Bucky Gunts won the prestigious award for best direction in a variety, comedy or music special for his work on the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics on NBC.
Each of the nominees was featured in a short video answering the question of what they wanted to be when they were growing up.
"My first choice was a Baltimore Orioles baseball player," Gunts said in his video. His "second choice," he said, was to be in the TV business "like my dad."
His father, the late Brent Gunts, was a pioneering figure in Baltimore television as vice president and general manager of WBAL-TV. He gave Bucky his first job.
The video made for a nice moment – as did Gunts' classy acceptance speech saying what an honor it is to direct at the Olympics. He beat out directors of "The Kennedy Centers Honors" and "The 63rd annual Tony Awards" – both excellent productions – among others.
Rickey Gervais, who presented the award, had a little fun with Bucky's name, saying, "We are all Bucky Gunts."
Matthew Weiner, Baltimore native and creator of the "Mad Men," won one of the two biggest Emmys of the night for his acclaimed AMC drama about Madison Avenue in the 1960s.
"We're now in our fourth season. I didn't think we'd get through even half of one," Weiner said in accepting the award. "I just feel very honored to be here."
Weiner also took home an Emmy for best writing in a drama for the episode, "Shut the Door, Have a Seat." He shared it with Erin Levy, a staff writer on the show.
"You Don't Know Jack," an HBO docu-drama on the life of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, won two prestigious Emmys – Al Pacino for best acting in a movie or mini-series and Adam Mazer for best writing.
The film was directed by Barry Levinson, who was nominated but did not win for his work behind the camera. But Pacino's words from the stage had to soften the loss for Levinson who was in the audience at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
"I had one the greatest directors, one of the great directors of all time, Barry Levinson. I wouldn't be here without Barry," Pacino said.
Levinson and Steve Lee Jones, who grew up in Pikesville, were executive producers on the movie.
Julie Bowen, who grew up in Ruxton and is now featured in ABC's "Modern Family," lost out in the competition for best supporting actress in a comedy to the heavily favored Jane Lynch, of the Fox musical "Glee."
But Bowen was all over the place in last night's telecast. She was interviewed on the red carpet before the show, captured in reaction shots as the executive producers accepted a writing award, and featured in a short video skit with George Clooney.
"Modern Family" and "Glee," which have re-invigorated the network sitcom formula, were locked in a back and forth Emmy duel in the early going. "Modern Family" took the first two Emmys for comedy writing by executive producers Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd and best supporting actor in Eric Stonestreet.
But then, "Glee" took the next two — for Lynch as best supporting actress and best direction. In the latter, Ryan Murphy beat out Jason Winer, another Baltimore Friends School graduate, who had already won a Golden Globe and Directors Guild of America Award for his direction of the pilot for "Modern Family." Winer is also an executive producer on the show.
"Modern Family" won out in the end, though, taking home the Emmy as best comedy. The telecast closed with Bowen and Winer front and center onstage with cast and crew. A happy ending for Baltimore.