TV hit-maker Shonda Rhimes vowed to be a voice for those who feel scared about being marginalized following Donald Trump's election victory as she accepted an honorary International Emmy award on Monday night.
British and German TV productions each won three International Emmys, including acting honors for Dustin Hoffman and Christiane Paul. But the usually festive atmosphere at the gathering of international broadcasters was tempered by anxiety over where the United States might be headed once Trump takes office in January.
Host Alan Cumming opened the ceremony by wryly noting that the Hilton New York ballroom was the same site used for Trump's election night victory party.
“I feel it's my moral obligation to inform you that on Nov. 8 this hall was the venue for one of the darkest, most negative and utterly destructive moments in the history of this country, “The Good Wife” star observed. He went on to say that the awards ceremony honoring excellence “is about extinguishing the bad energy and bigotry.”
Tony Goldwyn, who stars as President Fitzgerald Grant in “Scandal,” presented the honorary International Emmy Founders Award to Rhimes, whom he described as a “groundbreaker” for diversity on television by creating, writing and producing such shows as “Scandal,” ''Grey's Anatomy,” and “How to Get Away with Murder.”
“With our political dialogue sadly exclusively focused on what divides us, the world of Shondaland is a constant reminder of Maya Angelou's oft-quoted phrase: 'We are more alike my friends than we are unalike.'“
Rhimes herself acknowledged the changed political climate as she spoke about the many people who feel scared about their future â?? people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, Muslims and people with disabilities.
“They are afraid that their voices will no longer be heard and they believe that they are going to be silenced,” she said. But television “is the most powerful source of communication in the world. ... Words have power. TV has power. My pen has power. I have been thinking about that.”
Hoffman received the award for best performance by an actor for the BBC One TV movie “Roald Dahl's Esio Trot,” in which he portrayed a lonely retired bachelor who hatches an audacious plan to woo the widow in the flat below who is overly fond of her pet tortoise. Hoffman was not present to accept the award.
Germany's Paul garnered the best actress award for her performance in “Untern Radar” (“Under the Radar”) as a judge whose life is upended when her daughter is suspected of being responsible for a bombing in Berlin.
“We have to remember what we are â?? that we're human beings and please don't have fear and don't be afraid from terrorism attacks,” she said. “You must remember that we all belong together and have to fight against the real problems of the world.”
A total of 40 nominees from 15 countries competed in 10 categories for International Emmys, which honor excellence in TV programming outside the U.S.
Britain's “Hoff the Record,” with former “Baywatch” star David Hasselhoff playing a fictionalized, over-the-top version of himself, won in the comedy category. “Capital,” about residents of a South London suburb whose lives are impacted when their homes become valued at several million pounds in a soaring property market, won the award for TV movie/mini-series.
Germany's “Deutschland 83,” the story of an East German spy who infiltrates the West German army, received the award for best drama series.
“Our show is about a divided nation which eventually tore down the wall and reunited peacefully. It shows that even the most immense differences can be overcome,” said the show's creator and executive producer Jorg Winger.
The award in the documentary category went to Germany's “Krieg der Lugen” (“War of Lies”), about an Iraqi refugee whose information about weapons of mass destruction passed through Western intelligence agencies and ultimately was used by the U.S. to help justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The award for arts programming went to Japan's “The Man Who Shot Hiroshima,” which looks at Hollywood cinematographer Harry Mimura who returned to his native Japan before World War II and later was hired by the U.S. military to shoot footage of life in the Japanese city months after it was destroyed by an atomic bomb.
Sweden's “Allt for Sverige” (“The Great Swedish Adventure”) received the award for non-scripted entertainment. The reality TV show featured Swedish-Americans returning to the land of their roots for the first time to compete in events connected to Swedish traditions.
Other awards went to Brazil's “Verdades Secretas” (“Hidden Truths”) for best telenovela, and to “Francisco, El Jesuita” (“Francis, the Jesuit”), the story of the man who became the first Latin American pope, for non-English language, U.S. primetime program.
Danish actress Birgitte Hjort Sorensen presented the honorary International Emmy Directorate Award to Maria Rorbye Ronn, chief executive officer and director general of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, who successfully exported Nordic Noir drama around the world.