HBO skein is Emmy's most decorated miniseries
Oscar would have had a field day.
Studio execs who originally passed on “Angels in America” should note HBO’s risk-taking move landed them 11 Emmy wins and countless accolades.
Director Mike Nichols thanked exec producer Cary Brokaw, who bought the rights to Tony Kushner’s play more than a decade ago and shopped it to several movie studios before the project landed at HBO.
“This couldn’t have happened without HBO,” Nichols said. “And we’re very happy.”
Pay cabler ponied up $60 million and spent two years to complete production on the project, which mustered only a modest aud of 4 million for the first two-hour installment of the mini. Still, HBO pumped up repeat airings, concocting an elaborate viewing schedule hoping the project would take flight with viewers.
And though it took 14 years total for “Angels in America” to make its smallscreen debut and become Emmy’s most decorated miniseries — surpassing the 1977 epic multiparter “Roots” — the star-powered evening was well worth the wait.
Al Pacino was the first to come sign on for the role of ruthless attorney Roy Cohn and soon after, top-tier thesps came calling to participate in the provocative, sprawling story of the onset of AIDS in 80s-era New York.
Being part of an A-List ensemble has worked miracles for the entire cast: Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Jeffrey Wright and Mary-Louise Parker won acting awards for the six-hour saga though all the leads were nominated.
Parker, who played the pill-popping abandoned wife Harper, thanked Tony Kushner for winning her supporting actress Emmy for her.
“There are some roles that are so well-written, you win the award as soon as you get the part. So I want to thank Tony Kushner for winning this award for me,” she said in her acceptance speech.
Streep also thanked Kushner for being a writer, which she called the “bravest thing in the world.”
Several in the “Angels” company said they hoped the piece would draw additional attention to the ongoing AIDS crisis.
Backstage Wright, the only cast member from the original Tony-winning Broadway production to reprise his role, noted it was important “particularly now when there is so little dissent and positive dialogue in the country,” he said.
“The fight against AIDS isn’t over yet. Let’s see what we can do,” Nichols said.