'Raymond,' 'Sopranos' take top Emmys
By Amy Cox
(CNN) -- "Everybody Loves Raymond" took home the top comedy prizes while "The West Wing" and "The Sopranos" shared the drama categories Sunday night at the 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
"The West Wing," NBC's much-lauded drama about life in the White House, beat out "The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," "CSI" and "24" for best dramatic series. "The West Wing" has won that honor every year of its four-year existence.
The show also won best director for Christopher Misiano.
But the top drama acting awards went to James Gandolfini and Edie Falco, who both earned their third Emmys for playing the mob husband and wife on HBO's "The Sopranos."
"We have inadvertently created the perfect working environment," Falco said of the crew and cast. "They make me want to be better than last time."
"The Sopranos," which wasn't eligible for last year's awards because no new episodes aired during the qualifying period, also took home the best drama writing Emmy.
"Everybody Loves Raymond" picked up best comedy show and writing honors and best supporting actor and actress wins for Brad Garrett and Doris Roberts.
In the night's big surprise, Tony Shalhoub -- who plays an obsessive-compulsive detective on USA Network's "Monk" -- beat out a number of comic mainstays to take the best actor in a comedy Emmy. The other nominees were Larry David of "Curb Your Enthusiasm"; Matt LeBlanc of "Friends"; Bernie Mac of "The Bernie Mac Show"; Eric McCormack of "Will and Grace"; and last year's winner, Ray Romano of "Everybody Loves Raymond."
The fourth nomination proved to be the charm for Debra Messing, who won the Emmy for best actress in a comedy series for her work as Grace Adler in NBC's "Will and Grace."
"I'm not going to be funny, I'm just going to be earnest," Messing said, accepting the award. "This is a huge honor, a dream come true."
In the drama category, Tyne Daly won the best supporting prize, for her work in "Judging Amy." A beret-wearing Joe Pantoliano got the nod for best supporting actor in a drama series for his work in "The Sopranos."
Another big winner of the night was TNT's "Door to Door," based on the life of door-to-door salesman Bill Porter, which swept the miniseries/movie categories. It won best made-for-TV movie, and Emmys for its writers, director and actor (William H. Macy). Porter, who has cerebral palsy, became a successful businessman in Portland, Oregon, and the miniseries recounts 40 years of his life.
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Comedy Central grabbed the Emmys for best show and writing in the variety, music or comedy category, but Wayne Brady won the statue for best individual performance for his work on the improvisational comedy "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
Despite having the most nominations, "Six Feet Under" was stiffed in the major drama categories this year. The same was true on the comedy side for "Friends," which was last year's top comedy.
Opening the show, comedian Gary Shandling got a big smacking kiss from "Raymond's" Garrett, a comedic nod to the overexposed kiss by Madonna and Britney Spears at the MTV Music Video Awards earlier this month.
"I want to say to CBS, he's worth every nickel," Shandling cracked, referring to Garrett's recent salary dispute with the network.
Taking a departure from the usual hosting tradition, this year several comedians took the reins of the show. They included last year's host and "Late Night" helmer Conan O'Brien; "Austin Powers" star Mike Myers; Ellen DeGeneres; Jon Stewart from "The Daily Show"; and Bernie Mac.
Henry Winkler paid tribute to actor John Ritter -- who died of an undetected heart problem September 11 -- during the ceremony. Ritter, who had been scheduled to be an award presenter, was an Emmy winner for "Three's Company" in 1984 and was starring in ABC's "Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter" when he died.
Ray Romano presented Bill Cosby with the second annual Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, honoring the social good works of the star of "I Spy" and "The Cosby Show." In his speech, Cosby paid tribute to the late Fred Rogers of the children's classic "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood."
For the first time, a category for reality TV was introduced, with "The Amazing Race" taking the honors.
Other Emmy awards went to: "Steven Spielberg Presents Taken" for best miniseries; "Cher: The Farewell Tour" for outstanding variety, music or comedy special; and Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara of "Hysterical Blindness" for best supporting actress and actor in a miniseries/movie.