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When Jessica Lange stepped out onstage at the 40th annual International Emmy Awards, there was an audible gasp among audience members at the iconic actress in their midst: she was there to bestow the Founders Award to American Horror Story mastermind Ryan Murphy.
“He has an uncanny intuition,” the star, sporting a purple gown, told the room at the Hilton Hotel in New York City on Monday night. “He has an instinctive understanding … for the zeitgeist.”
Lange, who snagged an Emmy for best actress in a mini-series for her role in the FX horror-drama, said Murphy — its co-creator and executive producer — seems to genuinely care when he asks, “Oh, Lange-y, why aren’t you happier?” and “What haven’t you played? What would you like to do?”
Continuing the kudos, she gushed: “He is generous, he is inventive, he has a wicked sense of humor.” Oh, and he “changed the face of television.”
Murphy, who also created Fox’s Glee and The New Normal, was honored with the trophy for promoting tolerance through his TV work.
“The amazing thing about my career is I went into it thinking that writing about social issues would be very, very difficult,” he said while accepting his award.
He also paid homage to Norman Lear, a special recipient of the Founders Award along with Alan Alda. “I’m in the presence of my idol,” Murphy said of Lear, adding that he didn’t think he possesses the legendary All in the Family writer-producer’s “brilliance.”
As for Lear, 90 years old and still spry, all eyes were fixed on the pioneering producer of other classic comedies such as Maude and Sanford and Son as he regaled the crowd with a speech praising Alda (his talent “is so deep, it’s so profound”) and a long list of TV shows such as Homeland, Mad Men, Downton Abbey and Glee. “This is the golden age of television,” said Lear.
In his acceptance speech, fellow Founder honoree Alda reminisced about his MASH days, saying: “That was a time where the door had been opened to us by Norman Lear” because the series could be funny and tackle serious subject matter at the same time.
Dr. Kim In-Kyu, President and CEO of Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), accepted the Directorate Award, giving a shout-out to “Gangnam Style” sensation Psy. The singer “is another great example of this phenomenon” of Korean pop culture reaching a global audience, he said.
Below, a full list of winners:
Songs of War (Germany)
The Invisible Woman (Brazil)
Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die (UK)
The Illusionist (Brazil)
Black Mirror (UK)
The Amazing Race Australia
Best Performance by an Actress
Christina Banegas, Television x la Inclusion – Sin Cobertura (Argentina)
Best Performance by an Actor
Dario Grandinetti, Television x la Inclusion – Suelo Argentino (Argentina)
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