NEW YORK — British television productions picked up a leading seven International Emmy nominations Monday, including acting nods for Christopher Eccleston in "Accused" and Julie Walters in "Mo."
Brazil had six nominations, all for TV Globo productions, including best actor and actress nominations for Fabio Assuncao and Adriana Esteves in the TV movie "Songs of Betrayal" about the intense and passionate relationship between two music stars.
Sweden's three nominations all went to "Millennium," a mini-series based on the late Stieg Larsson's best-selling crime novel trilogy. "Millennium" is up for best TV Movie/Mini-Series, with its stars, Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace recognized for their portrayal of investigative reporter Mikael Blomkvist and eccentric computer hacker Lisbeth Salander.
"Millennium" will be competing in the TV Movie/Mini-Series category against "Mo." Walters, who earlier won a British BAFTA TV award for the same role, shaved her head to play Mo Mowlam, the late Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who battled a brain tumor which she concealed from Prime Minister Tony Blair while working to forge the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement that led to a power-sharing Catholic-Protestant government.
Eccleston, the former "Doctor Who" star, was nominated for his role in "Accused," an anthology series written and created by Jimmy McGovern, in which each episode tells the story of how an individual came to be on trial for a crime. Eccleston played a financially struggling, lapsed Catholic plumber in an adulterous relationship who finds a packet of 20,000 pounds in the back of a taxi, but ends up accused of money laundering when the prayed for windfall turns out to be forged notes.
A total of 40 nominees from a record 20 countries will compete in 10 categories for International Emmys, which honor excellence in TV programming outside the U.S. They were selected from more than 1,000 entries from 61 countries. The winners will be announced Nov. 21 at a ceremony at the Hilton New York Hotel.
Japan had four nominations, followed by Germany and Sweden with three each, and Argentina and South Korea with two apiece. Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Portugal, Singapore and Spain each had a single nomination.
"The number and range of countries represented by this year's nominees is astonishing and a testament to the growing strength and skill of television production around the world," said Bruce L. Paisner, president and CEO of The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, in a statement accompanying the nominees' announcement.
The remaining acting nominations went to Athena Chu Yan for the Hong Kong TV production "A Wall-less World" and South Korea's Jang Hyuk for "The Slave Hunters."
The contenders for best drama series include Britain's "Sherlock ," Brazil's "Under the Law," France's "Engrenages (Spiral)," and Japan's Sakanoue no Kumo (Cloud Above the Slope)."
The best comedy nominees were "Benidorm Bastards" (Belgium), "Breaking Up" (Brazil), "Facejacker" (Britain), and "The Noose Season 3" (Singapore).
The other British nominees were "Gareth Malone Goes to Glyndebourne" for arts programming and "The World's Strictest Parents" for non-scripted entertainment.
Veteran British producer Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance," will receive the honorary International Emmy Founders Award at the November gala. The honorary International Emmy Directorate Award will be presented to Subhash Chandra, chairman of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., which launched India's first privately owned TV channel.