…and the Emmy goes to

By Briyah A. Paley

The Emmy Awards ceremony this year was far more upbeat than last year’s awards, which followed the events of September 11th. The show, on NBC, was hosted by Conan O’Brien and telecast live from the Shrine Auditorium in Pasadena, California. The 54th annual awards ceremony culminated the 2001 to 2002 year in television.

With a special presentation by former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, Sept. 11 was not far from everyone’s minds, but the fashion parade of arriving stars showed that glamour and skin-revealing gowns were back this year.

And if there was any doubt that our spirits were to be lifted, O’Brien made sure to take care of that with his zany stand-up, which included testing the cameramen (“Now…go to my shoe!”) and picking a love interest to add drama to the show (Jennifer Aniston, sitting next to Brad Pitt who snarled at Conan in a humorous sketch).

One of the big winners included Jennifer Aniston, who became the first of the six stars of the hit NBC comedy Friends to win a Best Acting Emmy Award in the show’s nine-season history. Friends also took the Emmy for Best Comedy.

Best Actor was Ray Romano, the star of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” He had previously gone on stage to announce he “had to win,” because his parents were in the audience.

He was the third member of the “Raymond” cast to win last Sunday night.

Brad Garrett, who plays Robert, his brother on the show, won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, while Doris Roberts, who plays Garrett and Romano’s mother, won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy.

In addition to the cast of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” another big winner was Stockard Channing, who pulled off a rare double Emmy win. Channing won for her role as the first lady in “The West Wing.” Later, she won for her portrayal in “The Laramie Project” of the mother of Matthew Shepard, the gay Wyoming college student who was murdered in a headline-making hate crime.

Michael Chiklis, the long-shot for Best Actor in a Drama Series wound up winning the award for his role as a corrupt cop on the FX cable series, “The Shield.”

“The West Wing” won for Best Drama Series, beating out the acclaimed HBO series about a funeral home, “Six Feet Under.”

Allison Janney, who plays press secretary C.J Cregg of “The West Wing” was named Best Actress in a Drama Series, making her undefeated in the category. John Spencer, who plays Chief of Staff Leo McGarry on the “West Wing,” won as Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

One of the most emotional moments of the night was the presentation of the first Bob Hope Humanitarian Award to daytime talkshow host Oprah Winfrey, who said her life’s work was propelled by a desire to help others.

“The greatest pain in life, I have found, is to be invisible,” she said. “We all just want to be heard . . . we all just want to know that we matter.”

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