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Offbeat, Off-Camera Winners


Presenters at Sunday's 52nd annual Emmy Awards handed out winged statuettes in all the traditional categories . . . but that was just the tip of the iceberg. A spin through the post-Emmy party scene along the Beverly Hills/Hollywood axis revealed award-winning performances not covered in the telecast.

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck wins the Concrete Evidence of Human Cloning award for his seeming ability to appear simultaneously outside the "Entertainment Tonight" party at the Beverly Hills specialty store Barneys, dessert plate in hand, while working the crowd at HBO's bash at Spago Beverly Hills a few blocks away.

(Puck failed, however, to wrest the Serious Double Take award from Cher, whose abrupt switch from the jet-black, Angelina Jolie-style tresses on the red carpet to a platinum blond mane on the stage had many people scratching their heads.)

The award for Best Tangential Connection Between Two Emmy Winners went to Patricia Heaton of "Everybody Loves Raymond" and Richard Schiff of "The West Wing." While Heaton's co-star Ray Romano tried lightheartedly to pass her Emmy off as his own to passersby at Spago, she noted that she was especially happy for Schiff, who won for outstanding supporting actor. "Richard encouraged me to move to L.A. and, when I did, he picked me up at the airport. So I got really choked up when he won." Heaton also took honorable mention for the Best Answer to an Obvious Question. When asked how it felt to win an Emmy, she responded: "It was exciting. Has Cher ever called your name?"

The Best Place for Hugh Hefner to Go Unnoticed award went to Spago Beverly Hills, where, despite lapping the crowd with his ever-present troika of blonds and his mustachioed bunny-pin-wearing security guard, the Playboy founder didn't appear to be turning as many heads as celebrity attendees such as David Schwimmer, Liev Schreiber, Lorraine Bracco, and Camryn Manheim.

The You Can't Swing a Dead Cat Without Hitting a Survivor award went to the "ET" party at Barneys, which boasted "Survivor" alumni Rudy Boesch, Gervase Peterson and Stacey Stillman. Stillman won the evening's Best Opening Line award when she introduced herself to "NYPD Blue" star Dennis Franz with: "No one remembers me; I'm the one who ate the bugs."

The lapel was once again prime territory for those with a cause. The Random Ribbon award went not to the gold ribbons supporting the striking members of SAG-AFTRA nor the traditional red AIDS ribbons, but to a smattering of Kelly green ribbons. Were they advocating Celtic pride? Vegan pride? Environmental awareness? Nope. they were a showing of support for the cast of "Frasier," according to actors David Hedison (the captain on the 1960s series "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea") and Anita Gillette, who were among the "Friends of Frasier" sporting the ribbons.

The Alanis Morissette Isn't It Ironic award had to be given to the table of waif thin and white party-goers at Spago, clustered under a "Chris Rock Bigger and Blacker" table sign.

Fox, which commandeered Morton's on Melrose Avenue for its bash, feted "Malcolm in the Middle's" dual wins by director Todd Holland and writer Linwood Boomer. Some of the series' young co-stars--Justin Berfield, 14, Craig Lamar Traylor, 11, and Erik Per Sullivan, 9--were on hand, giving the bash the Generation Y Up-and-Comers title.

"I didn't go to the ceremony, just the party," said Erik. "But I'm excited to congratulate them when I go to work on Monday."

They may not have hauled in any winged statues at the Shrine, but the "Sex and the City" stars definitely got honors for Best Retro Seating Trend. At HBO's party, best comedy actress nominee Sarah Jessica Parker chatted with table mates while poised pixie-like on the lap of "Sex and the City" writer and co-executive producer Michael Patrick King. Several hours later and two rooms away, Parker's co-star Kristin Davis was spotted sitting similarly lap side with her date.

Kate Forte, executive producer of "Oprah Winfrey Presents: Tuesdays With Morrie," which won three Emmys on Sunday and a technical award earlier, won the night's technical prize by combining the Honorable Mention and the Casual Name Drop. Lamenting the fact that Winfrey couldn't attend, she noted it was because "she needed to stay and prepare for Al Gore. She's interviewing him on the show tomorrow."

The night's Best Unfettered Disdain award went to Ben Stein, who appeared at the "ET" party with his new "Win Ben Stein's Money" co-host, Nancy Pimental. "Watching 'Survivor,' " said Stein, "is like being stuck on the inside seat on an airplane next to someone who is really boring and talks nonstop and is really stupid--I didn't find any of those people on 'Survivor' or 'Big Brother' worth knowing." The awards ceremony, said Stein, "went pretty much the way I thought it would. 'West Wing' is every liberal cliche in the book, but then, so is Hollywood." Stein, who has also been a law professor and political commentator, sees an eventual guest shot on NBC's hot political drama as "inevitable."

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