"The Normal Heart" won the Emmy on Monday for television movie. The HBO telepic had been widely considered the front-runner in the category.
An adaptation of Larry Kramer's groundbreaking 1985 play, the TV movie takes place between 1981 and 1984 in New York City during the early days of the AIDS crisis.
Its road from stage to screen was years in the making, ultimately finding traction under Ryan Murphy ("Glee," "American Horror Story"). The HBO film featured an all-star cast that included Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Alfred Molina, Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons — among others.
"The Normal Heart" premiered over Memorial Day weekend this year to about 1 million viewers, down from the 2.39 million generated by Liberace biopic "Behind the Candelabra" the previous year over the holiday weekend.
On the morning of Emmy nominations, Murphy praised Kramer and said he hoped the awards attention would bring in more viewers to Kramer's politically tinged work in "The Normal Heart."
"I'm just so excited for Larry," Murphy told The Times. "It was a labor of love. I fought for it. I really worked hard to get people to see it, for so long. I would just hope that any recognition you get just gets more people to watch the story and to learn about that dark chapter in our history."
Its win comes during a year in which movies and miniseries received their own categories at the Emmys (the TV Academy this year voted to undo a change made three years ago to combine the categories). It's a move that underscores the rise of telepics and event series on television.
"The Normal Heart" beat out fellow HBO nominee "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight," "Killing Kennedy" (National Geographic), "Sherlock" (PBS), and "The Trip to Bountiful" (Lifetime).
Hosted by Seth Meyers, the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards are being held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, and the show is airing live on NBC.