Winner 1997

George Wallace

TNT, A Mark Carliner Production

The skillful and accomplished direction of John Frankenheimer has never been more apparent than in this masterful miniseries, the Faustian saga of the rise, fall, and ultimate redemption of one of our most controversial political figures. The power of this program resonates in every stirring scene, superbly written by Paul Monash and Marshall Frady, and acted with chilling realism by Gary Sinise in the title role. Mare Winningham, Angelina Jolie, Joe Don Baker and Clarence Williams III are outstanding in critical supporting roles. The life of George Wallace presents in microcosm the swirl of events simmering in the South and the nation from the 1960s to the 1980s. Issues of race and racism, power and powerlessness, political integrity and political expediency, are laid bare with intelligence and insight. In a film driven by Mr. Sinise’s multilayered performance, we witness Wallace’s passage from populist to provocateur, and from a fierce and furious demagogue, to a soft-spoken, broken, but repentant man. The film ends with a brilliant recreation of a gaunt Wallace being wheeled into the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Martin Luther King Jr.‘s old congregation. There, he seeks forgiveness for the pain he caused African Americans through the years. As the choir begins “Amazing Grace,” and the worshipers reach out to the crippled Wallace, it is a real moment of redemption, and a reminder that entertainment television can elevate to the highest level of the dramatic and performing arts. For creating television of substance, a Peabody Award is presented to TNT, a Mark Carliner Production for George Wallace.