Michael Douglas, winner of the trophy for best actor in a miniseries or movie for playing Liberace in HBO’s Behind The Candelabra, closed his speech with a reference to his son Cameron who is serving a lengthy prison term for various drug crimes.
The actor said he hoped “they allow me to see him soon”.
It came in a no-holds-barred speech, which saw Michael Douglas cover everything from smutty jokes to thanking his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones for “her support”, despite their separation.
Backstage, Michael Douglas explained it will be another year before he can visit 34 year-old Cameron.
“I’m questioning the system,” he said.
Michael Douglas won Emmy award for best actor in a miniseries or movie for playing Liberace in HBO’s Behind The Candelabra
“At first I was certainly disappointed with my son, but I’ve reached a point now where I’m disappointed with the system.”
Cameron Douglas was convicted in 2010 of selling methamphetamine.
A judge nearly doubled his sentence after he was found guilty of repeatedly breaking prison rules by arranging to get drugs.
Cameron Douglas is scheduled for release in 2018.
“If you happen to have a slip, they punish you,” Michael Douglas said.
“In my son’s case, he has spent almost two years in solitary confinement.”
Michael Douglas said he’s optimistic Attorney General Eric Holder might change laws involving non-violent drug offenders.
From the stage, Michael Douglas also thanked his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones “for your support”.
That was an attention-getter following the announcement last month that the couple was taking “some time apart to evaluate and work on their marriage”.
Catherine Zeta-Jones did not accompany her husband to the Emmys. She was in China this weekend.
Apart from his emotional moments, Michael Douglas also let a few jokes slip out.
“This is a two-hander, and Matt, you’re only as good as your other hand,” he jokes, referring to co-star Matt Damon, who was also nominated for the gong.
“So I can say you were magnificent. You really deserve half of this.
“You want the bottom or the top. The top? I figure that.”
Michael Douglas and co-star Matt Damon also took to the stage during the awards show where they paid tribute to Liberace and introduced a performance by Sir Elton John.
Behind the Candelabra has won eight awards at the Creative Arts Emmys, which celebrate artistic and technical achievement.
Among its haul were awards for casting, art direction, hairstyling, sound mixing, cinematography and costumes.
The Liberace biopic made by US cable broadcaster HBO premiered in Cannes earlier this year.
The TV movie stars Michael Douglas as the flamboyant pianist with Matt Damon playing the part of his secret partner.
The Creative Arts Emmys are a precursor to the primetime Emmys which take place next weekend.
Bob Newhart, whose career stretches back more than five decades, cried as he finally captured his first Emmy award.
Behind the Candelabra has won eight awards at the Creative Arts Emmys
He was honored for his guest role on The Big Bang Theory as Professor Proton, a former host of a children’s science show.
The 84-year-old has been nominated six times before – his first nomination came in 1961 when his variety series, The Bob Newhart Show, earned a writing bid.
“This is my seventh shot at this… I just love this very much,” he told the audience, who gave him a standing ovation.
His character will return to the series: “Yes. I think we’re doing two more…. in October we’re doing the next one, and they just handed me a great script. I keep saying, <<They kept giving me hanging curve balls and I keep swinging at them>>.”
Other winners for guest actors included Melissa Leo for the sitcom Louie, Dan Bucatinsky for Scandal and Carrie Preston for The Good Wife.
Another HBO show, Boardwalk Empire, picked up four awards, while NBC’s Saturday Night Live also won four.
CBS’s Undercover Boss won top reality programme.
Netflix’s original drama House of Cards picked up two Emmys for casting and cinematography.
Behind the Candelabra will compete for seven more awards at the primetime Emmys on Sunday.
Other winners included South Park: Raising the Bar for best animated programme.