Broadcast from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, the ceremony, hosted by Glee actress Jane Lynch, began with a small clip that glorified television.
The winner of the evening was once again the series Mad Men, nominated for the fourth consecutive year for Best Drama Series.
Created by Matthew Weiner, the series takes place in the world of advertising in 1960s New York.
On top of the winner list there was also the series Modern Family that went home with four awards for Best Supporting Comedy Actress, Best Supporting Comedy Actor, Best Writing for a Comedy and Best Direction for a Comedy Series.
Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell, who play husband and wife on the series, won best supporting actors for a comedy series.
“Oh, my God, I don’t know what I’m going to talk about in therapy next week,” said Bowen. “I won something.”
Julianna Margulies and Kyle Chandler won the statuettes for Best Actress and Best Actor in a Drama Series.
This is the second time Margulies is rewarded with an Emmy. In 1995, she won the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role in ER.
Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese additionally took an Emmy for directing.
HBO’s drama series Boardwalk Empire took an Emmy for directing by Martin Scorsese.
One of the surprises of the evening was Charlie Sheen’s appearance on stage to introduce the winner for best comedy actor.
“I want to take a moment to get something off my chest, to say a few words to everyone here from Two and a Half Men,” he said in apologetically. “From the bottom of my heart, I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season. We spent eight wonderful years together and I know you will continue to make great television.”
As Jim Parsons came up to collect his Emmy for his work on The Big Bang Theory, which is also run by Two and a Half Men‘s producer Chuck Lorre, he quipped, “This is odd for so many reasons.”
Ashton Kutcher, Sheen’s successor in the series, appeared later in the evening, accompanied by his Two and a Half Men co-star Jon Cryer, whom Sheen had called a “troll” some time ago. Kutcher jokingly said, “I am not Charlie Sheen. Jon, I want to tell you something. I do not think that you are a troll.”