Tim Malcolm: Sopranos go out with a bang

TIM MALCOLM

As if there was any question.

Behind the sweet harmonies of the Jersey Boys, America’s greatest mob drama became immortalized. Gory visuals of murder, spousal abuse and evil looked eerily sweeping in front of a medley of East Coast doowop, because for one night, “The Sopranos” ruled.

The HBO drama — which ended its six-season run in June — took home three awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, Sunday night at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards. The awards show at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles was broadcast live on Fox.

The Jersey Boys’ singalong proceeded a presentation of the full cast, who promptly received a standing ovation. After winning Outstanding Drama, the cast received another large ovation.

“If the world and this nation was run by gangsters,” pondered series creator David Chase after winning, “maybe it is.”

Though it was their night, “The Sopranos” barely whacked their competition. In fact, the show’s actors were upstaged in their major categories by surprising victors.

James Spader won Best Lead Actor in a Drama for his role as Alan Shore in “Boston Legal.” James Gandolfini was expected by many experts to win the award.

“I just feel like I stole a pile of money from the mob,” Spader quipped nervously.

Sally Field took Outstanding Actress in a Drama for her work in “Brothers and Sisters,” beating out “The Sopranos’” Edie Falco in the most difficult category to predict. Her long-winded speech about mothers was cut off periodically when saying, “If there were no mothers in the world, there would probably be no g—.”

And though “Extras”’ Ricky Gervais swiped Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy, Steve Carell accepted for him by hugging and chest bumping presenters Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Carell was once a correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” with Colbert.

That wasn’t the only time “The Office” made its presence felt. Carell also was the subject of mockery in an “Office”-style video featuring his “disgruntled” co-stars.

“The Office” wasn’t the big comedy winner, however, as “30 Rock” stunned “The Office” and competitors “Entourage,” “Two and a Half Men” and “Ugly Betty” to take Outstanding Comedy Series. The NBC show mocking the backstage politics of variety show “Saturday Night Live” almost didn’t make it to a second season despite high critical praise.

Still, another favorite managed to win. To the crowd’s delight, America Ferrera grabbed Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy for her work in “Ugly Betty,” a standout rookie comedy of the 2006 season.

“It is truly an amazing and wonderful thing when your dreams come true,” said Ferrera, tearing as she accepted her first Emmy.

Pregnancy and poignancy set the early tone for the awards show.

Christina Aguilera, showing her budding baby through a long white dress, accompanied Tony Bennett in a fantastic rendition of “Steppin’ Out With My Baby.” Aguilera’s pregnancy has recently been reported after the executive producer of the Emmys let the “secret” slip.

Later, emerging from a cage, the cast of “Roots” presented Outstanding Miniseries or Movie. The 1977 miniseries is widely recognized as the top miniseries in the history of television.

“Roots changed all of our lives, and it changed mine too,” said “Roots” cast member Levar Burton. The cast received a standing ovation.

Also receiving a standing ovation was former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Strange or not, a Gore project has won an Oscar and an Emmy, and in the same year. He won an Oustanding Acheivement in Interactive Television for his work with Current TV, a viewer-created Web broadcasting service. His documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” won an Academy Award in February.

“Grey’s Anatomy”s Katherine Heigl took home Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama, while Jaime Pressly won Oustanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy.

“Here’s to our little engine that could, that finally did,” said Pressly, who was nominated in 2006 for her work on “My Name is Earl.”

Jeremy Piven won Oustanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy for “Entourage,” and in a bit of an upset, Terry O’Quinn of “Lost” won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama.

To begin the show, Stewie and Peter Griffin of “Family Guy” opened with a number about network television, keeping the comedy off host Ryan Seacrest. Lewis Black also brought the funny, railing on televison executives in his trademark ranting style.

More Fox characters creeped their way into the ceremony, with “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” host Wayne Brady hosting a sing-off of Kanye West songs between West and “The Office” star Rainn Wilson. “’Til Death” stars Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher presented and jabbed back and forth about the presence of Fisher’s cleavage. Obviously, Fox wanted to show us what’s in store for the 2007 season.

Winners List

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Comedy: Jeremy Piven, Entourage

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Comedy: Jamie Presley, My Name is Earl

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Drama: Terry O’Quinn, Lost

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Drama: Katherine Heigl, Grey’s Anatomy

Outstanding Miniseries: Broken Trail

Outstanding Variety, Musical, Comedy Series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Outstanding Variety, Musical, Comedy Special: Tony Bennett: An American Classic

Outstanding Made for TV Movie: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Ousttanding Reality Competition: The Amazing Race

Outstanding Actor, Comedy: Ricky Gervais, Extras

Outstanding Actress, Drama: Sally Field, Brothers and Sisters

Outstanding Actress, Comedy: America Ferrera, Ugly Betty

Outstanding Actor, Drama: James Spader, Boston Legal

Outstanding Comedy Series: 30 Rock

Outstanding Drama Series: The Sopranos