Old favorites and veteran performers won many of the top honors at TV's 57th Annual Emmy Awards on Sunday, although voters still found room to reward "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives," the two new hit series that helped rescue ABC from the ratings cellar last season.
Television viewers heard the ring of familiar names throughout the evening, as members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences dispensed awards to the likes of Jane Alexander, Blythe Danner, William Shatner and Paul Newman as well as repeat winners such as Doris Roberts and James Spader.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday September 20, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 29 words Type of Material: Correction
Emmy Awards -- In some editions Monday, a Section A caption for a photo of the "Everybody Loves Raymond" cast misidentified best supporting actor Brad Garrett as Brad Roberts.
"Lost," the ensemble drama about a group of plane-crash survivors on a mysterious Pacific island, won for best drama series as well as direction. Felicity Huffman won for best actress in a comedy for her role in "Desperate Housewives," but the show, a viewer favorite, was upset in the best comedy category by CBS' "Everybody Loves Raymond," which ended its nine-year run in May.
After winning the award, "Raymond" creator Phil Rosenthal joked: "It's nice to remember the elderly. Thanks. We're grateful and shocked." "Raymond" cast members Roberts and Brad Garrett picked up their fourth and third Emmys, respectively, for their supporting work.
ABC's performance was astonishing, given that the network was considered creatively moribund only one year ago, with "Monday Night Football" its highest-rated program. Including last week's Creative Arts awards, ABC earned 16 Emmys, second only to perennial Emmy leader HBO, which won 27. In perhaps the most closely watched race, Huffman of "Housewives" vaulted past her more glamorous co-stars Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross.
The Emmy telecast contained a few references to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war. But often the show stressed the silly, including a send-up of "American Idol" that featured some unlikely singers belting out renditions of classic TV tunes, including an overalls-clad Donald Trump and "Will & Grace's" Megan Mullally performing the theme from the 1960s sitcom "Green Acres." And Shatner joined mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade to sing the theme from "Star Trek," the '60s sci-fi series that made Shatner a household name.
But the few political references did stand out. Veteran actress Danner, winning her first Emmy, for a supporting role in Showtime's drama "Huff," paid tribute to her late husband, producer-director Bruce Paltrow, saying, "I know Bruce would want me to pay tribute to New Orleans, his favorite city, and all the Gulf Coast and our kids in Iraq. Let's get the heck out of there."
Several presenters and winners also wore magnolias in support of the victims of the hurricane.
Jon Stewart -- whose "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" on Comedy Central won for writing and for best variety, music or comedy program -- got one of the biggest crowd reactions with a bit that criticized government officials for their response to Hurricane Katrina but jokingly censored out many presumed expletives and insults.
Later, referring to his all-male "Daily Show" writing staff, Stewart joked: "When I first said that I wanted to put together a late-night comedy writing team that would only be 80% Ivy League-educated Jews, people thought I was crazy. They said you need 90%, 95%, but we proved them wrong."
The ceremony often took a somber turn, as when a surprisingly subdued David Letterman turned up to pay tribute to his longtime idol Johnny Carson, the former "Tonight Show" host who died in January.
Tom Brokaw, former anchor of "NBC Nightly News," and Dan Rather, who retired this year as anchor of "CBS Evening News," received a standing ovation from the crowd and offered a tribute to "ABC World News Tonight" anchor Peter Jennings, who died Aug. 7.
HBO took an early lead at the ceremony, telecast from the Shrine Auditorium on CBS and emceed by daytime TV host Ellen DeGeneres, her first time since the twice-delayed post-9/11 broadcast in 2001. The premium cable network's original biopics "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" and "Warm Springs," about President Franklin D. Roosevelt's battle with polio, each won multiple prizes.
But with critical favorite "The Sopranos" on hiatus this year and therefore ineligible for Emmy consideration, HBO found itself in a weaker position than years past. The network's best series performance was provided by its dark, revisionist western, "Deadwood," which netted five technical awards.
But "Deadwood" did not win in the major categories. Actor Ian McShane, who won a Golden Globe award for his critically acclaimed performance as the foul-mouthed, ruthless saloon keeper Al Swearengen, lost out to Spader, who plays the ethically challenged attorney Alan Shore on ABC's "Boston Legal." Spader won last year for playing the same character on the network's series "The Practice." Spader's costar Shatner also won his second Emmy in a row for his role as the eccentric attorney Denny Crane.