J.J. Abrams may be immersed in a galaxy far, far away these days, but he's taking a break from preproduction work on the new "Star Wars" film to accept a special honor at the 41st International Emmy Awards Gala.
Zachary Quinto, who recently reprised his role of Spock in Abrams' successful reboot of the "Star Trek" franchise, will present the honorary International Emmy Founders Award to the director-producer at Monday night's awards ceremony at the Hilton New York.
"J.J. Abrams is probably the most interesting creative talent in the industry right now. He's a great writer, producer, director and an amazing creator," said Bruce L. Paisner, president and CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. "He already at age 47 has a number of classic television shows like 'Felicity' and 'Lost' that have set a model for all kinds of shows that came afterward."
Abrams is executive producer of three currently running TV shows — the science-fiction series "Revolution" and "Almost Human" and "Person of Interest," the crime drama revolving around an omnipresent government-sponsored surveillance network that premiered well before the recent revelations about the National Security Agency.
"J.J. is very good at anticipating what's going to be in the headlines, and he also creates new ways of looking at people and situations like he did in reinventing the 'Star Trek' franchise," Paisner said.
The presentation to Abrams will highlight the awards ceremony, hosted by British comedian John Oliver of "The Daily Show," in which 36 nominees from 19 countries will be competing for International Emmys in nine categories. The awards honor excellence in TV programming outside the U.S.
Britain and Brazil shared the lead for nominations with six apiece, followed by France with three. South Korea, Mexico, Germany and South Africa each had two nominations. Angola and Uruguay received their first nominations.
BBC One's "Accused," a crime anthology series created by writer-producer Jimmy McGovern, is looking to repeat its 2011 win for best drama series. Sean Bean, recently seen in "Game of Thrones," is up for best actor for an episode of "Accused," in which he shed his tough-guy image to portray a schoolteacher by day who becomes a transvestite by night and gets involved in an affair with a married man that leads to a brutal crime of passion.
Sheridan Smith, known for her comedic roles on stage and TV, received a best actress nomination for playing the title character in the ITV drama series "Mrs. Biggs," based on the true story of the wife of Ronnie Biggs, who was involved in the 1963 Great Train Robbery, in which 2.6 million pounds was stolen from a mail train.
Brazil's Marcos Palmeira received a best actor nomination for his role in the HBO Latin America original series "Mandrake Especial" in which he portrays a Rio de Janeiro criminal lawyer who helps his wealthy clients deal with the local underworld, while Fernanda Montenegro, a best actress Oscar nominee for the 1998 film "Central Station," got a nod for her role in TV Globo's "Sweet Mother."
The other actor nominees include Japan's Shinichi Tsutsumi" for "A Single Father's Love Story" and Germany's Heino Ferch for "Anatomy of Revenge." China's Li Sun for "The Back Palace: Legend of Zhen Huan" and Sweden's Lotta Tejle for "30 Degrees in February" rounded out the actress nominees.
World heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko will present the honorary International Emmy Directorate Award to Germany's Anke Schaferkordt, co-CEO of the RTL Group, the leading European entertainment network.
Ahead of the awards ceremony, the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced a new International Emmy category for 2014 for non-English language U.S. primetime programs. It's expected that this category will include programs on the Spanish-language Univision and Telemundo networks, which, though eligible, get overlooked for U.S. primetime Emmy nominations.