Among the celebrities were two of the 135 candidates in California's recall race for governor, actor Gary Coleman and adult film star Mary Carey, who wore a powder blue satin halter dress.
"I woke up at 11:30, went and got some black socks - it only takes me 20 minutes to get ready," said Coleman.
"The Sopranos" took aim at its first best drama trophy, competing with other top nominees "Six Feet Under" and "The West Wing."
HBO's mob drama, which received 13 nominations for the 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, had the chance to become the only cable series ever named best drama.
The funeral home drama "Six Feet Under," another HBO series, was the top nominee with 16 bids, followed by NBC's "The West Wing" with 15 nominations.
The top comedy nominees, with 13 bids each, were CBS' "Everybody Loves Raymond" and HBO's "Sex and the City."
HBO led the nominations with its highest-ever total, 109. NBC was second with 77, followed by CBS with 59, Fox with 37 and ABC with 33. PBS earned 16 nominations. The awards are given by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
The second Bob Hope Humanitarian Award was to be presented to Bill Cosby. Oprah Winfrey was the inaugural recipient last year.
Winners in creative arts categories were announced at a Sept. 13 ceremony, including one award for "Six Feet Under" and one each for "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Sex and the City."
Among networks, NBC received a leading 11 creative arts awards, followed by HBO with 10, CBS with nine, ABC with eight and Fox and PBS with seven each.
In the creative arts ceremony held earlier this month, awards were announced in craft categories including outstanding choreography, editing and makeup.
Four acting awards for guest roles also were given out. Emmys for best guest actress and actor in a drama series went to Alfre Woodard for "The Practice" and Charles S. Dutton for "Without a Trace."
For guest actor and actress in a comedy series, the winners were Gene Wilder for "Will & Grace" and Christina Applegate for "Friends."