French drama “Les Revenants” and British comedy “Moone Boy” were among the top winners Monday at the 41st annual International Emmy Awards.
Host John Oliver warmed up the multi-lingual crowd at the New York Hilton with the kind of wry cultural observances that made him a star on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and landed him his own topical series on HBO starting next year.
“Welcome to the Emmys’ most prestigious television awards show that television can’t be bothered to televise,” he joked, noting how many British and Israeli formats are hits on U.S. nets these days.
Oliver continued to play to the crowd: “This had been the single most pathetic time in American history. The American political system has given us so much amazing TV that I’m surprised that they are not they are not nominated tonight,” he said.
Thesp Sean Bean was the night’s first winner, taking the lead actor trophy for role as a transsexual in the BBC drama series “Accused.”
“I’ve never actually won anything,” Bean said. “Thank you. I really am so happy.”
The top actress award went to Fernanda Montenegro for Brazil’s “Sweet Mother” from TV Globo.
In the comedy series race, “Moone Boy” writers Chris O’Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy were genuinely surprised to win.
“We’ve been focused on drinking tonight,” Murphy said.
The documentary award went to the Oscar nominated feature “5 Broken Cameras.” Co-director Emad Burnat noted that he is the first Palestinian to win an Emmy. Palestinians “need your support and help,” he said.
Before he started his acceptance speech for the Founders kudo, J.J. Abrams (pictured right) gave his presenter Zachary Quinto (left), who plays Spock in Abrams’ “Star Trek” pics, a shout-out for his current work on Broadway in “The Glass Menagerie.”
“Go see it!” Abrams instructed the crowd.
The Founders trophy recognizes an individual who has crossed cultural boundaries to touch auds’ common humanity.
“I feel unworthy, ” Abrams said. ” Why would the Academy make this choice? Then it hit me. Back in 1993 my dad was in Cannes with the (future Intl. Emmy prexy and CEO) Bruce Paisner. I was suspicious about this connection. They were at a lunch and Bruce’s chair got caught and he fell into the sea.”
Exec went on to joke that his father threatened a sea-soaked Paisner because he “desperately wanted to see his son up here tonight.”
Abrams went on to thank Paisner, his father, producer and former Hearst Entertainment exec Gerald Abrams, and his mother ( Carol Ann Abrams) who died last year.
“I feel genuinely grateful (for this honor). It’s a privilege to work in the television medium,” Abrams said.
RTL Group co-CEO Anke Schaeferkordt received the Intl. Acad’s Directorate tribute.
“Initially I was really stunned, and then I had time to think about it. I’ve been really lucky to the last 22 years working with incredibly talented colleagues,” Schaferkordt said. “This award is as much theirs as it is mine.”
Among the night’s other winners were a tie in arts programming between the U.K.’s “Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender” and South Korea’s “Hello?! Orchestra.”
Australia’s “Go Back to Where You Came From” claimed the non-scripted entertainment award. Telenovela trophy went to Brazil’s “Side by Side,” while Germany’s “A Day for a Miracle” won in the mini/movie category.