The groundbreaking series, which ended in June after an eight-year run, took home the awards for outstanding drama and best writing and directing, but unexpectedly failed to score any prizes in the acting categories.
In the comedy awards, NBC’s 30 Rock, set in the offices of a New York television studio, picked up the top prize, while acting awards were shared by Ricky Gervais for his series Extras and America Ferrera for Ugly Betty.
“This is really great,” Sopranos creator David Chase said, accepting the best drama award.
“I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again, but maybe the best thing about this has been working with this cast. They are great.”
James Spader took the outstanding lead actor in a drama award for his role as a quirky attorney in Boston Legal, edging out James Gandolfini, who had been tipped for his portrayal of Tony Soprano.
The Sopranos had missed the top prize five times in the past, winning the most sought-after winged statuette of the evening just once before, in 2004.
Cable channel HBO won the station contest with 21 Emmys, followed by NBC, which had a total of 19, well ahead of CBS’s 10, ABC’s nine and Fox’s seven.
Two-time Oscar winner Sally Field took home outstanding lead actress in a drama and her third Emmy for the series Brothers and Sisters.
But it was 30 Rock that took home the best comedy series award.
As for the style, the carpet was red, but white, black and strong jewel tones proved to be the colours of choice for Hollywood’s stars at the awards, with a bevy of tanned and sparkling women wearing strapless gowns.