By Dean Goodman
BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - In what amounts to a reflection of last year's Emmys and a bold prediction of this year's ceremony. "Mad Men" and "Modern Family" won the top prizes at a new event organized by television critics.
The two shows, both critical darlings, took the respective best drama and comedy prizes at the Critics' Choice Television Awards during a luncheon in Beverly Hills on Monday.
The event is organized by the nascent Broadcast Television Journalists Association, a spinoff of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, a group with an impressive Oscar forecasting pedigree.
Organizers hope their fortune-telling prowess for movies will carry over to the small screen. Their ceremony took place four days before ballots are due in for the Emmy Awards, television's top honors. Emmy nominees will be announced on July 14, and the winners on September 18.
"Mad Men," a low-rated Madison Avenue drama set in the 1960s, ended up with three Critics' Choice awards in all. Series star Jon Hamm won for best actor in a drama. Christina Hendricks was named best supporting drama actress in a tie with Margo Martindale of "Justified."
While "Mad Men" has won the top drama Emmy for the past three years, its actors have never been honored.
"Modern Family," which led the Critics' Choice field with six nominations, ended up with just the top comedy award. Co-star Eric Stonestreet who won an Emmy last year for his supporting role, was overshadowed at the Critics' Choice by Neil Patrick Harris of "How I Met Your Mother."
On the comedy side, the winners were rounded out by reigning Emmys champion Jim Parsons for his lead role in "The Big Bang Theory," "30 Rock" star Tina Fey, and Busy Philipps for her supporting role in "Cougar Town."
Philipps, who plays a ditzy blond on show, said critical support was important, and even more so "when you feel like people aren't really watching."
Other Critics' Choice drama winners included "The Good Wife" star Julianna Margulies as best actress and John Noble for his supporting role in "Fringe."
The ceremony, which eschewed the Emmys' extensive miniseries categories, was webcast live. Highlights will air on niche cable network ReelzChannel, beginning Wednesday.
(Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Bob Tourtellotte)