This year marks the 20th anniversary of Allison Janney winning her first (of seven!) Emmy Awards. The future Oscar winner was part of “The West Wing” sweep at the 52nd Emmys, which took place September 10, 2000 in ABC’s ceremony hosted by Garry Shandling. Heading into the ceremony many awards pundits thought HBO’s “The Sopranos” would prevail after being bested the previous year by ABC’s “The Practice.” However, it was yet another victory for broadcast networks as NBC’s political drama triumphed for what would be a record-tying run of four consecutive wins. (“The Sopranos” would have to wait until 2004 to finally be named TV’s Best Drama Series.) Watch Janney’s Emmys flashback video above.
Clutching her trophy at the podium, Janney proclaimed, “I’m standing here for one reason, because of the sheer inspiration I’ve received from watching other actresses over my life, particularly in the theater. Four of them are in this category and especially the exquisite, elegant Nancy Marchand.” It was the second year in a row the winner of Best Drama Supporting Actress name-checked the late “The Sopranos” scene-stealer, following Holland Taylor (“The Practice”). Besides Janney, Taylor and Marchand, the other two nominees were Stockard Channing (“The West Wing”) and Tyne Daly (“Judging Amy”)
Over the next two decades, Janney would claim a place for herself in the Emmy history books by winning a total of seven trophies: four for “The West Wing” (two in supporting, two in lead), two for her featured role in “Mom” and one for guest turn in “Masters of Sex.” Only two people — Cloris Leachman and Julia Louis-Dreyfus — have more Primetime Emmys on their mantel for acting with eight apiece. This year Janney is hoping to add an eighth to her own collection thanks to one of her four roles: “Mom,” “Bad Education,” “Troop Zero” and “The Kominsky Method.”
But back to the 2000 Emmys. “The West Wing” dominated the ceremony with drama victories for series, supporting actor (Richard Schiff), supporting actress (Janney), writing (Aaron Sorkin & Rick Cleveland) and directing (Thomas Schlamme). The drama lead races went to James Gandolfini (“The Sopranos”) and Sela Ward (“Once and Again”).
Over in the comedy categories, “Will & Grace” claimed the series prize after being snubbed the previous year; it also swept for supporting players Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally. Michael J. Fox (“Spin City”) and Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) were the leading champions, with Linwood Boomer and Todd Holland respectively winning for writing and directing “Malcolm in the Middle.”
Best TV Movie went to “Tuesdays with Morrie” while “The Corner” won Best Miniseries. For the four longform acting prizes, Jack Lemmon (“Tuesdays with Morrie”) and Halle Berry (“Introducing Dorothy Dandridge”) prevailed in lead while Hank Azaria (“Tuesdays with Morrie”) and Vanessa Redgrave (If These Walls Could Talk 2″) triumphed in supporting. Also that year, “Late Show with David Letterman” won its fourth trophy (out of six total) for Best Variety Series.
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