Steven Soderbergh's Liberace biopic Behind The Candelabra was the big winner at the 65th annual Emmy Awards, picking up major honours for the director, his leading man Michael Douglas, and landing the night's Outstanding Miniseries or Movie prize.
The TV film was also honoured by Sir Elton John during the ceremony - he dedicated his new song Home Again to Liberace as part of a tribute to the flamboyant pianist.
He said, "This year a television film about a musician scored 50 Emmy nominations... That musician was Liberace and this guy played a mean piano. His programme aired in England and I was keenly aware of his enormous talent and his impact on the musical world and my dress sense, of course."
Douglas played the gay entertainer in the film and Matt Damon his lover, Scott Thorson. Both stars were nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie, and Douglas heaped praise on his co-star as he accepted the honour.
He said, "This was a two-hander and Matt, you're only as good as your other hand... You were magnificent and the only reason I'm standing here is because of you, so you really deserve half of this, so do you want the bottom or the top?"
Otherwise, the 2013 Emmys were full of surprises - Merritt Wever and Tony Hale beat a host of favourites to claim the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series trophies for Nurse Jackie and Veep, respectively, at the start of the ceremony, and Claire Danes and Bonny Cannavale were shock winners in the Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series (Homeland) and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Boardwalk Empire) categories.
Double winners on the night included The Big Bang Theory, Veep, Homeland and Breaking Bad, which was named the Best Drama Series. The big snubs included Mad Men, Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey, which failed to pick up a single award.
Highlights included Carrie Underwood's Beatles tribute to 1963 and the impact the news from that year had on America, host Neil Patrick Harris' mid-show song-and-dance number with actor Nathan Fillion and comedienne Sarah Silverman and Will Ferrell's comic climax - he ambled onto the stage at the Nokia Theatre in shorts, sandals and a T-shirt with three kids to present the night's Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Comedy Series awards and joked, "Unfortunately Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith dropped out at the last second and they (Emmy producers) called me, literally, 45 minutes ago, and I couldn't find childcare.
"We had a soccer game, there was a neighbour's birthday party, a nut allergy, I didn't have time to do my hair."
Ferrell kept a straight face as he bickered with the three kids about their use of electronics and the need to use the restroom while onstage.
The winners list is:
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Merritt Wever - Nurse Jackie
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Tina Fey & Tracey Wigfield - 30 Rock
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Tony Hale - Veep
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Melissa Leo - Louie
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Bob Newhart - The Big Bang Theory
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
Gail Mancuso - Modern Family
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons - The Big Bang Theory
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries Or A Movie
Laura Linney - The Big C: Hereafter
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Henry Bromell - Homeland
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn - Breaking Bad
Outstanding Reality - Competition Program
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Bobby Cannavale - Boardwalk Empire
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Jeff Daniels - The Newsroom
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes - Homeland
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Carrie Preston - The Good Wife
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Dan Bucatinsky - Scandal
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
David Fincher - House of Cards
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
The Colbert Report
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series
Don Roy King - Saturday Night Live
Dancing With The Stars - Derek Hough
Outstanding Host For A Reality or Reality-Competition Program
Heidi Klum & Tim Gunn - Project Runway
Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Abi Morgan - The Hour
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries Or A Movie
James Cromwell - American Horror Story: Asylum
Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Steven Soderbergh - Behind the Candelabra
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Ellen Burstyn - Political Animals
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries or a Movie
Michael Douglas - Behind the Candelabra
Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
Behind the Candelabra
Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Comedy Series