The Sopranos star Michael Imperioli reveals he threw his Emmy award in the trash. The actor, who had earned recognition from his early role as Spider in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, was a part of The Sopranos cast from 1999 until the show’s end in 2007, during which it established itself as one of the best TV series of all time. He starred in the supporting role of Christopher Moltisanti, protégé to mob leader Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) in New Jersey, as Tony struggles to balance his life as a criminal and a family patriarch. Imperioli has since continued to appear frequently on television, and has recently been cast in season 2 of Mike White’s dark comedy series The White Lotus.
Imperioli’s portrayal of Christopher Moltisanti finally earned him an Emmy win for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2004; prior to this, he had been nominated twice in the same category, in 2001 and 2003, and he has since picked up another two Emmy nominations. Imperioli is one of many to have been commended by the Emmys for their role in The Sopranos, with the show having won a total of 21 awards out of 111 nominations during its run, in a variety of categories.
Now, in a conversation with Noisey, Imperioli discusses his experience winning an Emmy. While he prefaces it by saying he doesn’t put too much stock in awards, he notes how they are a gateway to new opportunities and says realizing that he’d won was a surreal experience. It doesn’t seem that it his wife was particularly impressed with his achievement, however. See what Imperioli had to say on awards culture and his Emmy win below:
[T]he moment they say, ‘The winner is,’ and call your name, all that focus of everybody in that room is now on you. That I didn’t expect and that was weird it was like all of a sudden like a hit of acid just exploding in your brain because it becomes very surreal. That night I won, my wife and I go to bed she says ‘You know you think you’re a really big deal with this Emmy,’ and then she goes, ‘I am not impressed’ and she said ‘And if you had any balls you’d take that Emmy and throw it right in the garbage.’ The booze had been flowing, I took that Emmy threw it in the garbage. We both went to bed, wake up the next morning 11 o’clock, first thing she says, ‘Can you order coffee? And don’t forget to take your Emmy out of the garbage.’
In recent years, the significance of film and TV awards shows has come into question for a number of reasons. As Imperioli mentions, they are good for business, but many awards shows have been criticized for the lack of diverse talent recognized in their nominations. An EmmysSoWhite hashtag trended online in 2021, referencing past Oscars backlash, and a number of other awards were called out for the same reason. Actor Joaquin Phoenix was one of several high-profile names to bring attention to the issue, using his BAFTA acceptance speech to highlight it in 2020.
Now that Imperioli’s involvement in The White Lotus season 2 is confirmed, perhaps another award nomination is on the horizon for him. The satirical HBO show was critically acclaimed and earned a series of award nominations. The former Sopranos star will be acting alongside returning White Lotus fan-favorites such as Jennifer Coolidge in The White Lotus, as well as Aubrey Plaza who will be newly joining the show.