Last Updated Sep 20, 2015 11:07 PM EDT
The 67th annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony was a night full of TV glitz and firsts as Jon Hamm, Viola Davis, "Game of Thrones" and "Veep" took home honors at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Some of the biggest awards went to HBO shows: "Game of Thrones" nabbed Outstanding Drama Series, and "Veep" scooped up the Comedy Series win, breaking the "Modern Family" streak at the Emmys. The producers for "Game of Thrones, who accepted the night's final prize, thanked HBO for "believing in dragons."
HBO's "Veep" scored two awards early on in the show -- including one for writing and a Supporting Actor win for Tony Hale. Later, Julia Louis-Dreyfus took home an acting honor for the political comedy series.
"This is just mind-blowing," said the former "Seinfeld" star about her fourth straight win. She also managed to toss in a joke, claiming to quote the "Veep" script when she said, "What a great honor it must be for you to honor me tonight," before adding that Donald Trump actually said that. "It's getting trickier and trickier to satirize this stuff," she quipped.
"Veep" and "Game of Thrones" weren't the only big winners Sunday night. Amazon's "Transparent" won a couple of awards, too. Jill Soloway walked away with a directing trophy, and series star Jeffrey Tambor took home an actor honor, dedicating his win to the transgender community: "Thank you for your patience, thank you for your courage, thank you for your stories, thank you for your inspiration, thank you for letting us be part of the change. God bless you."
HBO's "Olive Kitteridge" took several honors, including the Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series. Frances McDormand won an acting statuette for her work on the series. "We're all here because of the power of the stories that need to be told. Sometimes that's enough. Thank you," she said.
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" snagged multiple awards, too, including directing and writing honors. Stewart, who recently stepped down as host of the Comedy Central show, hit the stage to accept the trophy, saying, "To everyone on television, cling to it as long as you can ... I've been off of television for six weeks ... this is the first applause I've heard." Guess it's safe to say he misses "The Daily Show"?
Jon Hamm of "Mad Men" broke his losing streak, walking away Sunday with the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series. This marked his eight nomination in the category. The actor, who recently split from longtime girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt, said goodbye to the hit AMC show earlier this year -- so this really was his last chance to win for the series. Hamm, who played ad man Don Draper on "Mad Men," told the audience, "There's been a mistake, clearly. It's impossible to be named with all of those extraordinary gentlemen. It's impossible to have done this show with this incredible cast, these incredible people, our incredible writers, our incredible crew. And it's incredible and impossible for me, personally, to be standing up here."
"How to Get Away with Murder" star Viola Davis became the first African-American to win Outstanding Actress In A Drama Series. In a powerful acceptance speech Davis quoted Harriet Tubman, noting, "In my dreams and visions, I seemed to see a line, and on the other side of that line were green fields, and lovely flowers, and beautiful white ladies, who stretched out their arms to me over the line, but I couldn't reach them no-how."
She added, " Let me tell you something: the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there." She then acknowledged fellow black actresses Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson and Gabrielle Union.
Other winners included Regina King, who scored the honor for Outstanding Actress In A Limited Series or Movie for "American Crime," and Allison Janney, star of the CBS show "Mom," who took home the night's first prize: Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series.
"There were eight of us in this category. I feel like I won the lottery," said Janney, who also gave a shout-out to the sitcom's producer Chuck Lorre for "thinking of me to play" her character on the hit show.
Another highlight in the evening came when former "30 Rock" star Tracy Morgan walked onstage, marking one of his first public appearances since last year's highway accident, which left him with brain damage. After receiving a standing ovation from the crowd, Morgan gave a touching, yet humorous speech. "I'm standing on my own two feet ... God bless you all for your love and prayers and positive thoughts over the past 15 months. I'm honored to be here at the Emmys. It's been a long road back. I suffered a traumatic brain injury that put me in a coma for eight days, and when I regained consciousness I was ecstatic to learn I wasn't the one who messed up," he joked. Morgan, who recently got married, added, "Only recently have I started to feel like myself again, which means a whole lot of women are going to get pregnant at the after party." Clearly, he -- and his sense of humor -- are back.
Actor/comedian Andy Samberg -- this year's host -- kicked things off with a video that poked fun at the massive number of shows available -- how can one possibly keep up? Then as soon as he took the stage, Samberg said, "Justin Timberlake is not coming," referencing the duo's beloved "Saturday Night Live" sketches.
Next came a monologue that addressed politics, diversity and the state of TV.
"Sure, Donald Trump seems racist," the "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" star said at one point as he paused. "What else?"
When it came to diversity, Samberg called out nominees like Davis and Henson. He said, "The big story this year is diversity," he said, but then added, "So congratulations, Hollywood, you did it. Racism is over! Don't fact-check that."
Samberg continued to entertain throughout the night in between awards and speeches. He gave out a password to HBO's streaming service HBO Now, pointing out how the cable network recently noted how it wasn't worried about the sharing of HBO Now passwords. His username referenced a character on HBO's "Game of Thrones," and his password? Password1. Apparently, it worked!
Going into the show, temperatures in downtown Los Angeles were rising, reaching nearly 100 degrees as stars hit the red carpet in bright hues, including yellow, plenty of cutouts and even sunglasses.
Samberg had high expectations for the gala, saying ahead of his Emmy debut that he knew "it [would] be a funny show."
The star-studded list of presenters included Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Kerry Washington, Lady Gaga, Mindy Kaling, Seth Meyers, John Stamos, Colin Hanks, LL Cool J, Ben McKenzie, Amy Poehler and Gina Rodriguez.
The Emmys buzz had been going since last weekend, when the Creative Arts Emmys honored Jimmy Fallon, Taylor Swift, "Robot Chicken" and "Drunk History" and others.
Tell us: What did you think about the 2015 Emmys?