The Emmys, not unlike the Grammys, usually have a healthy helping of smug involved – and that’s why it was nice to see a looser, more improvised feel at this year’s show.
The Sopranos, as expected, swept the major categories in drama, winning Best Series, Writing and Directing. Along with those wins, The Sopranos secured a spot in history as the only drama in the past 30 years to win Best Series in its final season.
As for dramatic acting: James Spader won Best Actor in a Dramatic Series (with his dry, sly, nonchalant wit in tow, natch) and the always-overdramatic Sally Field ranted about moms and war and stuff during her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress. Terry O’ Quinn scored gold for Supporting Actor in Lost and Katherine Heigl won Best Actress for her role on Grey’s Anatomy.
Taking home the win for Best Comedy Series was the viewer-depraved 30 Rock, sharing the same cult/critic love that the prematurely-axed Arrested Development garnered in its first season. Only time will tell if 30 Rock suffers the same fate.
The biggest surprise of the night came in the Best Actor/Actress in a Comedy category. First-year nominee America Ferrera stunned many a watcher (and the Emmy nominees) by taking home the Emmy for her role as Betty in Ugly Betty.
Not to be outdone, comedic genius Ricky Gervais won a deserved-but-not-expected Emmy for Best Actor in his show, Extras, edging out serious competish from Steve Carrell (The Office), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) and three-time winner Tony Shalhoub (Monk). In a funny, classy move Carrell accepted the award on behalf of Gervais (he was not present), high-fiving and huddling with the presenters of the award, none other than Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
All in all, it was a fine night of television, which can’t be said too often these days.