'West Wing' wins best drama award at delayed Emmys

Monday, November 5, 2001

LOS ANGELES -- "The West Wing," which celebrates the inner workings of a fictional White House, dominated Sunday in an Emmy Awards ceremony twice postponed by the real-world terrorism drama. The NBC series captured best drama series and seven other awards.

"Sex and the City," a frisky comedy about single women in New York, scored an Emmy breakthrough by becoming the first cable program to win a best series trophy.

The telecast tried to walk a line between celebrating television and respecting the difficulties facing the nation. It opened with a rendition of "America the Beautiful" and a soothing address from Walter Cronkite, and closed with a rare appearance by Barbra Streisand, singing "You'll Never Walk Alone."

Acting like a Soprano

The stars of the hit HBO series "The Sopranos" claimed the top dramatic acting awards. James Gandolfini won his second consecutive Emmy for his portrayal of tough, neurotic mob boss Tony Soprano, and Edie Falco, who plays his wife, won her second.

"Thank you to the people in the city of New York where I live. ... If you haven't been there you can't imagine what it's been like," Falco said. The show won four awards, including best drama series writing Sunday night.

Patricia Heaton of "Everybody Loves Raymond" claimed her second consecutive Emmy as best comedy actress and dedicated her performances to men and women serving in the armed forces. Eric McCormack of "Will & Grace" was named best lead actor in a comedy series.

NBC's "The West Wing" won the first three awards announced, including supporting actress for Allison Janney and supporting actor for Bradley Whitford. Thomas Schlamme won for directing.

"It occurs to me at this time how proud I am to be on a show that celebrates the process of freedom that makes this country great," said Janney of the White House drama.

After Cronkite set a serious tone, host Ellen DeGeneres -- dressed in black with a red, white and blue ribbon -- lightened the mood when she took the stage.

"What would bug the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews?" she said, drawing huge laughs.

Moments of reflection

The night, however, ranged from slapstick humor -- DeGeneres and Martin Short as faux celebrity interviewer Jiminy Glick rolling onstage -- to moments of reflection.

Following a video segment of people around the world expressing sorrow over America's tragedy, DeGeneres spoke for the Hollywood community: "To all of you around the globe watching tonight, from the bottom of our hearts, not just as Americans but as citizens of the world, thank you."

Peter MacNicol was named best supporting actor in a comedy series for his role on "Ally McBeal."

A triumphant Doris Roberts accepted the comedy series supporting actress trophy for CBS' "Everybody Loves Raymond."

"Today's my birthday. What a gift. ... I'm 71 tonight and I'm kickin', honey," Roberts said.

"Malcolm in the Middle" garnered honors for director Todd Holland and for writing. In presenting the latter award, actress Jean Smart took a moment to pay tribute to producer David Angell who was among the airliner victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Smart called the "Cheers" and "Frasier" producer "an incredibly talented, incredibly kind person." His picture was displayed on a video monitor.

"Anne Frank" was named best miniseries and the award for best TV movie went to "Wit."

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