Twenty years ago, the world of television — and celebrity — was a very different beast than it is today. We hadn't started streaming, cable original programming was just starting to be taken seriously, and Brad Pitt was still on his first marriage, to Jennifer Aniston!
So ahead of Sunday's annual Primetime Emmy Awards, we decided to take a look back two decades at the 52nd Primetime Emmy Awards, held on Sept. 10, 2000 and hosted by Garry Shandling. If that date tweaks you at all, it should: because just one year and a day later, the world turned upside-down. But for these glittering celebrities, treading the red carpet to award glory, none of that had happened ... yet.
"Will & Grace"
"Will & Grace" was at the top of the heap for all comedy series, picking up three big wins: supporting actor and actress awards for Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes (seen here with co-stars Debra Messing and Eric McCormack), plus the big one — outstanding comedy series.
"The West Wing"
In its first year, "The West Wing" totally dominated the drama categories, winning five big awards (including supporting actress and actor, for Richard Schiff and Allison Janney) and outstanding drama series. In addition it won four more technical awards, which set a record for most wins in one year until "Game of Thrones" surpassed it in 2015.
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston strutted the red carpet as newlyweds following their July 2000 wedding. They'd been together since 1998, but would split in 2005. She was nominated as a supporting actress that year for "Friends," but went home empty-handed.
Michael J. Fox
In 2000, Michael J. Fox decided to finish his role on "Spin City," and the show gave him a big farewell for its 100th episode — which earned him a fourth Emmy (he had three from "Family Ties" already). He semiretired from acting after that due to his Parkinson's disease diagnosis, but he still shows up on TV shows and is a regular Emmy favorite.
Heaton won the first of two Emmys out of seven nominations for "Everybody Loves Raymond." She was the first member of the show's cast to take home the award.
James Gandolfini became the first HBO actor to win the lead actor, drama Emmy that night for playing Tony Soprano on "The Sopranos." The win began the slow turn of audiences, critics and award voters toward prestige television ... and away from broadcast, leading us to the wildly diverse and different sort of storytelling we still watch today.
"Tuesdays with Morrie" was a big success as a book, and an Emmy-winning success as a TV movie; Lemmon won his second Emmy for playing Morrie (which also won for best TV movie).
Halle Berry began her run on big awards starting at the Emmys; she earned outstanding lead actress in a limited series or TV movie for "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," and those paying attention were hardly surprised when she set a new milestone at the 2002 Oscars a little over a year later, picking up the first best actress Academy Award given to a Black actress, for "Monster's Ball."
Hank Azaria also won that night for "Tuesdays with Morrie," taking a supporting actor prize. He came to the awards with his sister Elise rather than his wife, Helen Hunt — the two were on the verge of a divorce that would finalize in December of 2000.
Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and John Stamos
Neither Romijn-Stamos nor her husband were up for any awards that night, but they were quite a lovely couple to behold. Their marriage lasted from 1998 to 2005.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick
"Sex and the City" fever was in full swing by 2000, earning Sarah Jessica Parker a nomination for lead actress; none of the stars would win an Emmy that year, though the show would be declared outstanding comedy in 2001. She attended with longtime husband Matthew Broderick.