Director Ryan Murphy accepted the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie for his triumphant HBO film adaptation of Larry Kramer’s Tony Award-winning play “The Normal Heart” on Aug. 25, surrounded by his Emmy-nominated cast and the celebrated scribe himself, Larry Kramer.
Larry Kramer is a Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright and LGBT activist that has dedicated his life to raising awareness and fighting the battle against HIV/AIDS. He wrote “The Normal Heart” to express his frustration in the government’s apathy about funding research and finding a cure. He also wrote the screenplay for the film and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special.
Kramer’s passion is unparalleled for this cause and he proudly stood on the Emmy stage to celebrate the film’s big honor. In his acceptance speech Ryan Murphy implored young people “to become Larry Kramers – to find a cause you believe in, that you will fight for, that you will die for.” He also directed them to go online and look up leading HIV/AIDS organizations amfAR and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Education is key to understanding and helping to fight for the end of this lethal disease.
Murphy was also nominated for Outstanding Directing and all of the key actors in the film were nominated for Emmys as well, including Oscar winner Julia Roberts for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Mark Ruffalo for Outstanding Lead Actor, and Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Joe Montello and Alfred Molina all for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie.
With the high degree of brilliant television produced this year, none of “The Normal Heart” cast took home an individual Emmy in their category. But, the fact that the film earned top honors as Outstanding Television Movie speaks volumes about the Academy’s perception of the complete finished project.
Murphy has been honored with all sorts of prestigious awards over the course of his prolific career. He is known for utter fearlessness in his creative endeavors. As such, many of his peers deem him a creative genius and justifiably so, as his TV shows like “Glee,” “American Horror Story” and “The New Normal” have changed the television landscape in terms of their bold, original themes and subject matter. The underdog has been given a strong, distinctive voice and dreams, more than ever, seem attainable. He broaches heavy subjects like homophobia, bullying, teen suicide, teen pregnancy and domestic abuse with deeply affecting realism.
The creator-writer-director has been recognized for his amazing body of work with the inaugural Paley Icon Award by the Paley Center for the Arts and the Genius Award by the Broadcast Television Journalist Association. Of all his award-winning projects, “The Normal Heart” is perhaps his most passionate, personal labor of love.
In an interview with HBO about “The Normal Heart,” Murphy addresses his commitment to the film as an educational tool. He said, “I have always felt this movie is more than a movie-it's a movement, to a certain degree. It's a call to arms. That's how Larry wrote the stage play, and that's what the movie is. At the end of the movie, particularly, we use the statistic that 6,300 people a day are infected with HIV. I didn't know that when I went into the movie-that was staggering. It remains a staggering epidemic. Many people will be galvanized to take some action-if not in the world, maybe in their own private lives, maybe encouraging themselves or other people to get tested. So we can help eradicate this horrible plague in our lifetime. I have said it before and I'll say it again: I'm willing to go any place and speak to anybody about the message. Maybe I can help finish what Larry Kramer started-that's very important to me.”