'Sherlock' shocks Emmys with Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman wins
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - PBS' "Sherlock" pulled off a string of surprise wins at the 2014 Emmy Awards, including lead and supporting actor trophies for stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, who faced stiff competition in the crowded miniseries/movie category. At the end of the night, "Sherlock" was the series with the most awards -- seven -- having scooped an additional four at the Creative Arts Emmys. In the lead actor category, Cumberbatch -- who was absent from the ceremony -- faced off against also-absent Freeman (nominated for his role on "Fargo") along with Billy Bob Thornton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba and Mark Ruffalo. Among pundits, consensus seemed split between Thornton and Ruffalo for the victory, but Academy voters seemed high on the cerebral British drama.
In the supporting actor race, Freeman was up against "Fargo" co-star Colin Hanks, as well as "Normal Heart" stars Jim Parsons, Joe Mantello, Alfred Molina and Matt Bomer.
Series creator Steven Moffat's work on "Sherlock: His Last Vow" also won writing for a miniseries, movie or dramatic special, although the show missed out on scoring the best miniseries award, which went to Freeman's "Fargo," while "Normal Heart" scored best movie.
Backstage, Moffat told reporters, "I didn't think we'd win anything, genuinely ... very shocked and surprised." While he pointed out that the show has won plenty of awards outside America, they had almost written off any chance of an Emmy given that the series is aging. "We're delighted that we've made it here and hopefully that it will get more people watching."
As for how they plan to top last year's highly rated season, Moffat declared, "We have a plan to top it, and I do think our plan is devastating. We practically reduced our cast to tears by revealing the plan." He said he and co-creator Mark Gatiss are probably "more excited than we've ever been" about where the show is heading.
Moffat joked that Cumberbatch is now "too big to come to the Emmys," but admitted that wrangling the busy stars has always been a challenge, given that they have no ongoing deals with the cast and are required to pitch them every year. "We all know what's happening with 'Sherlock' is unusual, we know this won't happen again in our lives ... we're keen to keep making 'Sherlock' as long as it's a good show," he promised.
The seven trophies ensured that PBS tied with CBS for the second-most Emmy wins of any network (taking home 11 total), beaten only by HBO's 19 awards. "We are extremely proud of all of our programs honored by the Academy this year, especially Masterpiece's 'Sherlock'," said Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS in a statement. "This is a golden age for drama on television, and we're very pleased that public television has been recognized with the second-most awards of any network. My sincere congratulations to the team at Masterpiece, and our individual honorees for their well-deserved Emmy Awards."
"'Sherlock' delivers! Big audiences, great reviews, and now the hardware," says Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton. "We're so happy for 'the boys' and for Sue and Beryl Vertue and all our gifted colleagues at Hartswood, the BBC, and PBS."
By Laura Prudom