Emmys Watch: ‘Carlos’ is top contender in TV Movie/Miniseries categories

Following citations from both the LA and Gotham movie critics as the top foreign-language film of 2010 and a Golden Globe victory as Best TV Movie/Mini, “Carlos” enters the Emmys race as a frontrunner. This five-and-a-half-hour film about the notorious international assassin is eligible for TV’s top honors because it is a co-production with the Sundance Channel.

That cablecaster confirmed to Gold Derby that it will be submitting the show in various categories, including the top one at this year’s awards. To qualify, Emmy rules require “the result of a co-production (both financially and creatively) between U.S. and foreign partners, which precedes the start of production, and has a commitment to be shown on U.S. television prior to the start of production.”

“Carlos” was first screened out of competition at the Cannes filmfest last May 19. It then aired on the French television network Canal Plus in late May and on Sundance beginning October 11 as a three-part miniseries. Then, both the complete 280 minute version as well as a 180 minute edit were released theatrically, earning plaudits from the film critics. Nick James (Sight and Sound) called “Carlos” “a breathtaking political epic” and it topped the Film Comment annual critics poll.

Edgar Ramirez delivered a stunning and audacious portrayal of one of the most wanted international fugitives — Carlos the Jackal, the notorious Venezuelan terrorist and murderer. Todd McCarthy (IndieWIRE) said he had an “arrogant charisma” in inhabiting the role like a “Brando in his prime.” He lost his bids with both the Golden Globes and SAG for Best Movie/Mini Actor to Al Pacino who had already won at last year’s Emmys for “You Don’t Know Jack.”

As “Carlos” aired on television before its theatrical release, it was ineligible at the Oscars. There has been a degree of confusion as to whether it should be characterized as a TV project or a feature film. The Emmys, fortunately, are not as strict in determining a program’s medium, and specifically allow for foreign television productions that otherwise qualify as eligible co-productions to not be disqualified because of a prior limited theatrical release.

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