It was a big night for actors with Texas ties as Jim Parsons and Kyle Chandler took home top honors at the 63rd annual Emmy Awards.
To the surprise of just about everyone, including the winner, Parsons won the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. It was widely assumed that Steve Carrell would win, since he is leaving The Office and has never won an Emmy.
"This is so odd for so many reasons," an almost sheepish Parsons said with an odd laugh upon receiving the award from Charlie Sheen.
"I was assured by many people in my life that this wasn't happening, it doesn't mean I'm not very grateful that this is happening," he continued.
Parsons sent a special shout to his co-star, Johnny Galecki, who was also nominated in the category. "It's been a pure pleasure taking this ride with you," he said.
"I've been so proud from episode one of to be a part of Big Bang Theory and I thank you," he said, ending the short speech.
It was the second year in a row that Parsons took home the top Emmy for acting in a comedy for his portrayal of eccentric genius Sheldon Cooper on the CBS comedy.
Parsons has strong ties to the Houston acting community. He was a founding member of Houston's Infernal Bridegroom Productions (IBP), performing in 18 plays with the group. (The founders of the group now operate Catastrophic Theatre.) Parsons also graduated from Klein Oak High School and the University of Houston.
While the announcement of the men's category was sedate, the women's category was a laugh riot as each nominated actress ran to the stage when her name was called, like contestants in a beauty pageant. Another surprise winner, Mike & Molly's Melissa McCarthy, was awarded the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, along with a tiara and roses.
A hour or later, a clearly shocked Kyle Chandler was named Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role as a principled coach in Friday Night Lights. The show, which recently ended a five-year run, was filmed in and around Austin.
"I didn't write anything and now I'm starting to worry," a clearly stunned Chandler said in a rambling speech.
He thanked the people of Austin "who welcomed us into their homes and filled those stadiums and brought the show to life when we were there."
He wrapped up his speech without remembering to thank co-star Connie Britton, who portrayed his wife in the series and was nominated for Best Lead Actress in a Drama. Realizing his mistake, he attempted to speak above the music, but the moment had passed.
A CultureMap reader pointed out that Parsons and Chandler weren't the only two winners with Texas ties. Margo Martindale won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama for her role as a hard-hearted mother in the FX series, Justified. Martindale, the daughter of iconic game show host Wink Martindale, was born and raised in Jacksonville, Texas, graduating from Jacksonville High School and Lon Morris College in 1971.
"Sometimes things just take time. But with time comes appreciation," the 60-year-old actress told the Emmy audience in her acceptance speech.