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‘Sopranos’ wins best drama at Emmys

By Lynn Elber
AP Television Writer

LOS ANGELES — “The Sopranos” turned its fade-to-black final season into Emmy gold Sunday, winning the best drama series award, and newcomer “30 Rock” was named best comedy series.

The mob saga’s victory was nearly unprecedented, with only one other drama series, 1977’s “Upstairs, Downstairs,” having claimed the top trophy after leaving the air.

“In essence, this is a story about a gangster,” said “The Sopranos” creator David Chase. “And gangsters are out there taking their kids to college, and taking their kids to school, and putting food on their table.

“And, hell, let’s face it, if the world and this nation was run by gangsters” — Chase paused and shrugged, as everyone laughed — “maybe it is.”

“Sopranos” stars James Gandolfini and Edie Falco didn’t fare as well.

James Spader was named best drama series actor for “Boston Legal,” stealing the thunder of fellow nominee Gandolfini.

“Oh my goodness, I feel like I just stole a pile of money from the mob. And they’re all sitting over there,” Spader said, acknowledging him and the rest of “The Sopranos” cast in the Shrine Auditorium audience.

Sally Field was honored as best actress in a drama for “Brothers & Sisters.” Falco was among her competitors.

“How can that be? These wonderful actors,” Field said. Cleary flustered, she lost her train of thought at one point, shouting at the audience to stop applauding while she struggled to finish her acceptance speech.

America Fererra of the campy “Ugly Betty” was named best actress in a comedy series.

“This is such an amazing, wonderful achievement. The award is to be able to get up and go to work tomorrow,” Ferrera said.

The biggest laugh of the night was earned by presenters Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, after they announced that Ricky Gervais of “Extras” had won the award for best comedy series actor.

“Ricky Gervais could not be here tonight. Instead we’re going to give this to our friend, Steve Carell,” Stewart said. Carell, a nominee for “The Office,” bounded on stage, sharing shared a group hug with Stewart and Colbert.

Supporting actor honors went to stars of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Lost,” “Entourage” and “My Name is Earl.”

“My own mother told me I didn’t have a shot in hell at winning tonight,” said Katherine Heigl of “Grey’s Anatomy.” “This is my dream come true. I’ve been doing this for 17 years.”

A mob family, a former vice president and the cast of “Roots” brought the audience to its feet at the ceremony.

Al Gore received a standing ovation as his Current TV channel, which features viewer-created videos, was honored for achievement in interactive television.

‘Television medium’

“We are trying to open up the television medium so that viewers can help to make television, and join the conversation of democracy, and reclaim American democracy by talking about the choices we have to make,” said Gore, whose global-warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” received an Oscar earlier this year.

Another standing ovation greeted the sprawling cast of “The Sopranos,” which gathered on stage after the drama had claimed honors for best writing and directing. Actor Joe Mantegna paid tribute to the show as “having changed the face of television.”

Queen Latifah helped salute the groundbreaking miniseries “Roots” on its 30th anniversary. The saga about a black American family’s history “brought great honor to the art form that we celebrate tonight,” she said.

“Let us all work to ensure that we all honor the legacy of ‘Roots’ not just tonight but in everything we do,” added “Roots” star John Amos, reunited onstage with his castmates to yet another standing ovation.

The usually staid awards needed attention from the censors from the start, with first presenter Ray Romano. He joked about his former “Everybody Loves Raymond” wife, Patricia Heaton, sleeping with her new “Back to You” co-star Kelsey Grammer.

But he used a stronger word, which prompted Fox to black out the show for a few seconds. Heigl mouthed another expletive, which Fox unsuccessfully tried to evade with a different camera shot.

Terry O’Quinn, who plays the mysterious John Locke on “Lost,” was named best supporting actor in a drama.

“Sometimes when we’re rolling around in the jungle in the mud, hitting each other and stabbing each other, I wonder what it would be like to bake up a sheet of cookies on Wisteria Lane and get one of their checks,” O’Quinn said, referring to “Desperate Housewives.”

“Then I think about my castmates and crewmates, and I realize why I have the best job in the world,” said O’Quinn, whose award came in a resurgent creative season for the series.

List of winners at the 59th Annual Prime-time Emmy Awards

Winners at Sunday’s 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences:

Drama Series: “The Sopranos,” HBO.

Comedy Series: “30 Rock,” NBC.

Miniseries: “Broken Trail,” AMC.

Variety, Music or Comedy Series: “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” Comedy Central.

Variety, Music or Comedy Special: “Tony Bennett: An American Classic,” NBC.

Made-for-TV Movie: “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” HBO.

Reality-Competition Program: “The Amazing Race,” CBS.

Creative Achievement in Interactive TV: Current.

Actor, Drama Series: James Spader, “Boston Legal,” ABC.

Actor, Comedy Series: Ricky Gervais, “Extras,” HBO.

Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Robert Duvall, “Broken Trail,” AMC.

Actress, Drama Series: Sally Field, “Brothers & Sisters,” ABC.

Actress, Comedy Series: America Ferrera, “Ugly Betty,” ABC.

Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Helen Mirren, “Prime Suspect: The Final Act (Masterpiece Theatre),” PBS.

Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Terry O’Quinn, “Lost,” ABC.

Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Jeremy Piven, “Entourage,” HBO.

Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Thomas Haden Church, “Broken Trail,” AMC.

Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Katherine Heigl, “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC.

Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Jaime Pressly, “My Name Is Earl,” NBC.

Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Judy Davis, “The Starter Wife,” USA.

Individual Performance, Variety or Music Program: Tony Bennett, “Tony Bennett: An American Classic,” NBC.

Directing, Drama Series: “The Sopranos: Kennedy and Heidi,” HBO.

Directing, Comedy Series: “Ugly Betty: Pilot,” ABC.

Directing, Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special: “Prime Suspect: The Final Act (Masterpiece Theatre),” PBS.

Directing, Variety, Music or Comedy Program: “Tony Bennett: An American Classic,” NBC.

Writing for a Drama Series: “The Sopranos: Made in America,” HBO.

Writing, Comedy Series: “The Office: Gay Witch Hunt,” NBC.

Writing, Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special: “Prime Suspect: The Final Act,” PBS.

Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” NBC.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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