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Inside the TCA Awards 2013: 'Breaking Bad' and Louis C.K. Accept "shitty piece of plastic"

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! August 4, 2013 at 4:15PM

At this year's Television Critics Association Awards, AMC's "Breaking Bad" and Louis C.K. of FX's "Louie" once again proved to be the favorites, but newcomers such as Tatiana Maslany of "Orphan Black" received prizes as well.
Tatiana Maslany in "Orphan Black"
Tatiana Maslany in "Orphan Black"

The career achievement prize went to Barbara Walters who wasn't in attendance and literally phoned it in because of a "little show called 'The View.'" In a video acceptance speech, Walters placidly remarked, "I'm smiling all over" and the audience burst into laughter because her face, frozen in Botoxed emotional limbo, wasn't moving.

The winners of the heritage award, however, were there to get their dues. Humble "All in the Family" producer Norman Lear and star Rob Reiner a.k.a. "Meathead" offered show-stopping banter upon receiving their shitty piece of plastic. Other standout winners of the night included the cast of NBC's "Parks and Recreation," a warm, earnest sitcom that struggles for ratings but is a critical darling. "After the 100th episode of 'Game of Thrones,' we're all going to kill ourselves," star Amy Poehler cracked before curtsying offstage. After the ceremony, Poehler's costar Adam Scott remarked, "We finally won something!"

In spite of some yawns like the outstanding comedy win for "The Big Bang Theory," the TCA Awards remained as classy an act as ever. The brisk under-90-minute show time prevents any lingering feelings of boredom, which is more than I can say for the bloated but ostensibly more "prestigious" Primetime Emmy Awards. It's the little award shows like the TCAs that make being a member of the press such a pleasure. When the lights went up, I made my way out of the ballroom and through the marauding gang of celebrity sightseers queued up in the Hilton lobby, all along certain that TV really is the best place to be right now -- even for a staunch movie lover.

The complete list of winners is below. See how they stack up with this year's Critics Choice and Emmy nominations here.

Individual Achievement in Drama: Tatiana Maslany, "Orphan Black" (BBC America)
Individual Achievement in Comedy: Louis C.K., "Louie" (FX)
Outstanding Achievement in News and Information: Ken Burns, "The Central Park Five" (PBS)
Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming: "Bunheads" (ABC Family)
Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming: "Shark Tank" (ABC)
Outstanding New Program: "The Americans" (FX)
Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials: "Behind the Candelabra" (HBO)
Outstanding Achievement in Drama: "Game of Thrones" (HBO)
Outstanding Achievement in Comedy: "Parks and Recreation" (NBC) tied with "The Big Bang Theory(CBS)
Career Achievement Award: Barbara Walters
Heritage Award: "All in the Family" (CBS)
Program of the Year: "Breaking Bad" (FX)

This article is related to: Awards, Television, Television Critics Association Awards, TCA Awards, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Louis C.K., The Central Park Five, Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.