Douglas, who played Liberace in the biopic, joked with co-star Matt Damon, who played the pianist's lover, Scott Thorson.
"You deserve half of this," Douglas said, holding up the award. "Do you want the bottom or the top?"
Upsets all around
But, mostly, it was a night for upsets.
"The Voice" beat perennial winner "Amazing Race" for reality-competition program. It's only the second time in 11 years "Amazing Race" hasn't won.
"The Colbert Report" won outstanding variety series and for variety series writing, also beating a perennial winner, "The Daily Show."
"It's an honor to be nominated, but it's more than that -- it's also a lie," said "Colbert" host Stephen Colbert in accepting the variety series Emmy. He thanked "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, who gave Colbert the opportunity to host his own show.
"Veep" took an early lead on Emmy night, winning acting honors for star Julia Louis-Dreyfus and co-star Tony Hale. Louis-Dreyfus beat "30 Rock's" Tina Fey and "Parks and Recreation's" Amy Poehler, among others.
But it wasn't quite enough to unseat "Modern Family" for comedy series. "Family" also won an Emmy for its directing, which went to Gail Mancuso.
Jokes and tributes
Host Neil Patrick Harris kept things moving, despite uneven material.
"Tonight we celebrate the best in television," he said in his opening monologue. "For younger audiences, that's the thing you watch on your phones."
He also cracked a Paula Deen joke to a groan. "Not soon enough?" he asked.
But Harris rebounded thanks to some winning song-and-dance moves, including a song at the halfway mark called "The Number in the Middle of the Show."
Other Emmy segments went for the heartstrings. Michael J. Fox gave a moving tribute to producer Gary David Goldberg, who hired the actor for "Family Ties." Edie Falco got emotional paying homage to her "Sopranos" co-star, James Gandolfini.
And Bob Newhart, who showed up gnomishly at one point alongside Ernst & Young accountants, received a standing ovation when he was introduced by "Big Bang Theory's" Parsons. Last week at the Creative Arts Emmys, Newhart finally won an Emmy for his guest spot on the show. It was his first Emmy in seven nominations.
"They wrote an awful good script," Newhart said of his "Big Bang Theory" colleagues. "They gave me a lot of hanging curveballs, and I kept swinging at them."
On this night, Emmy mostly threw knuckleballs. But in the end, "Modern Family" and 'Breaking Bad" connected -- and scored.