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Emmys: 'Six Feet Under'-Appreciated

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Aside from the return of “The Sopranos” to TV’s big awards race, it was deja vu all over again Thursday in Los Angeles, as the 55th annual Primetime Emmy Awards nominations were practically a mirror image of last year’s list.

And once again, the critically lauded HBO drama “Six Feet Under” led the way with 16 nominations — though it’s a significant drop from last year, when the funeral family garnered a field-best 23 nominations.

“The West Wing” followed with 15 nominations, as was revealed early Thursday morning by “Malcolm in the Middle” mom Jane Kaczmarek and “The Shield” star Michael Chiklis — both of whom ended up with fresh nominations for TV’s highest honor.

The Emmy ceremony will air live on FOX from Los Angeles on Sept. 21.

“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos” (which was ineligible last year because its season started too late) followed with 13 nominations apiece, while “Door to Door,” a TNT movie starring William H. Macy as a mentally handicapped salesman, was the most-nominated of the made-for-TV movies, with 12.

In the race for best drama series, “The Sopranos,” “The West Wing,” “Six Feet Under” and “24” received nominations, as expected, leaving the fifth spot open for “CSI” — though some thought that might go to NBC’s long-running “Law & Order” or to “Alias.”

The fact that “Law” didn’t make the cut represents the first time in 12 years that the show has not appeared on the list. A 12th consecutive nomination would have allowed the popular drama to break a tie with “Cheers” and “M*A*S*H” for the most continuous nominations for best series.

In the lead drama actor competition, Chiklis on “The Shield,” Kiefer Sutherland on “24,” two-time winner James Gandolfini on “The Sopranos” and longtime favorite Martin Sheen on “West Wing” landed as expected, with the fifth spot going to Peter Krause on “Six Feet Under,” which effectively closed the door on his costar Michael C. Hall, as well as on four-time winner Dennis Franz of “NYPD Blue,” William Petersen of “CSI,” David Caruso of “CSI: Miami,” Anthony LaPaglia of “Without a Trace” and Treat Williams for “Everwood.”

In the lead drama actress category, “Sopranos” matriarch Edie Falco is all but considered a shoo-in for her third Emmy thanks to her bravura performance, telling husband Tony to clear out, in the Mob drama’s fourth season finale. She is up against three-time winner Allison Janney for “West Wing,” Jennifer Garner for “Alias,” Marg Helgenberger on “CSI” and Frances Conroy on “Six Feet Under.” (The shutouts: five-time nominee Amy Brenneman, for CBS’s “Judging Amy,” and Lorraine Bracco, for “Sopranos.”)

In the comedy division, all of last year’s nominees made it again: CBS’s “Everybody Loves Raymond” (which, remarkably, has never won before), NBC’s “Friends” and “Will & Grace,” and HBO’s “Sex and the City” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” HBO (which, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner) actually leads the networks in number of nominations, with a staggering 109, compared to NBC’s distant second place, with 77.

Ray Romano for “Raymond,” Larry David for “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Matt LeBlanc for “Friends” (his costar, Matthew Perry, was nominated as guest actor in drama for “West Wing”), Bernie Mac for “The Bernie Mac Show,” Eric McCormack for “Will & Grace” and Tony Shalhoub in “Monk” are the comedy series actor contenders, in a category that expanded from five to six — though still not big enough to give Kelsey Grammer his 10th consecutive nomination for “Frasier” (one short of the record held by Ted Danson for “Cheers”). The show, though also overlooked in the series race, is still the all-time Emmy champ with 30 awards.

In the comedy actress race: “Raymond’s” Patricia Heaton, who won in 2000 and 2001; last year’s winner, “Friends’ ” Jennifer Aniston; four-time nominee Kaczmarek of “Malcolm”; five-time nominee Sarah Jessica Parker of “Sex”; and four-time nominee Debra Messing of “Will & Grace.”

Here’s a rundown of the major categories:

Drama Series
“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
“Six Feet Under”
“The Sopranos”
“The West Wing”

Comedy Series
“Curb Your Enthusiasm”
“Everybody Loves Raymond”
“Sex and the City”
“Will & Grace”

“Hitler: The Rise of Evil”
“Steven Spielberg Presents Taken”

Made-for-TV Movie
“Door to Door”
“Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story”
“Live from Baghdad”
“My House in Umbria”

Lead Actor, Drama
James Gandolfini, “The Sopranos”
Peter Krause, “Six Feet Under”
Martin Sheen, “The West Wing”
Kiefer Sutherland, “24”
Michael Chiklis, “The Shield”

Lead Actress, Drama
Frances Conroy, “Six Feet Under”
Edie Falco, “The Sopranos”
Jennifer Garner, “Alias”
Marg Helgenberger, “CSI”
Allison Janney, “The West Wing”

Lead Actor, Comedy
Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Matt LeBlanc, “Friends”
Bernie Mac, “The Bernie Mac Show”
Eric McCormack, “Will & Grace”
Ray Romano, “Everybody Loves Raymond”
Tony Shalhoub, “Monk”

Lead Actress, Comedy
Jennifer Aniston, “Friends”
Patricia Heaton, “Everybody Loves Raymond”
Debra Messing, “Will & Grace”
Sarah Jessica Parker, “Sex and the City”
Jane Kaczmarek, “Malcolm in the Middle”