The hit television series The West Wing portraying the travails of the White House shared kudos Sunday with the Mafia drama The Sopranos at a toned-down Emmy awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
West Wing snapped up the prize for best drama series, while director Thomas Schlamme, supporting actor Bradley Whitford and supporting actress Allison Janney all walked off with awards at the twice-postponed event.
Originally set for September 16, the Emmy awards -- television's equivalent of the Oscars -- were postponed to October 7 after the devastating terror attacks of September 11, then rescheduled again with the start of the US-led bombing campaign on Afghanistan.
Janney, like many of the evening's award recipients, used her moment at the podium to speak of the effects of the September 11 terror attacks in the United States.
She said she wanted to emphasize "how proud I am to be on a show that celebrates the process of freedom that makes this country great."
The Sopranos, a down-and-dirty series profiling the American Mafia, came away with the prizes for the best leading actor and actress, as well as best writing,
The show's Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess won for outstanding writing in a dramatic series, while James Gandolfini, who portrays the central character Tony, garnered laurels for best lead actor in a drama series. He was not present at the occasion because of a prior engagement.
Edie Falco of The Sopranos was cited for best lead actress in a drama series.
Winning the prize for best comedy series was Sex and the City, while best comedic lead actor went to Eric McCormack of Will and Grace.
The honor for the best lead comedic actress was bestowed on Patricia Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond.
Winning an Emmy for outstanding comedy series was the tickler Sex and the City.
Sunday's extravaganza ended with a surprise appearance by Barbra Streisand, who sang You'll Never Walk Alone.
For security reasons, the star-studded event was moved to the Shubert Theater, with a capacity of 2,000, against the 6,000 seats available at the usual venue, the Shrine Auditorium.
Manhattan resident Lainie Conklin told AFP she felt that restraint for the event was warranted. "The whole country is in mourning, and I dont think you go as gala as you could."
The terror attacks of September 11 were seldom far from the thoughts of the TV glitterati gathered for Sunday's ritual.
"To all of you watching tonight, not just as Americans but as citizens of the world, we thank you," host Ellen DeGeneres said before a video collage rolled with scenes from some 25 countries showing people commiserating with the United States.
The tape opened with a clip of British Prime Minister Tony Blair proclaiming that his country stands "shoulder to shoulder with our American friends in this hour of tragedy."
DeGeneres, wearing a simple dark-colored suit, said: "Tonight we thank them for supporting our nation."
Earlier in the program she found middle ground at a time when feelings remain raw over the September 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington.
"What could bug the Taliban more than a gay woman in a suit surrounded by a bunch of Jews?" the self-avowed lesbian asked in her opening remarks -- AFP
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