HBO, Shandling dominate cable's ACE awards


HBO once again blew the competition out of the water at the National Academy of Cable Programming's 15th Anniversary CableACE Awards over the weekend, winning 34 trophies and dwarfing its nearest rival, Showtime, which took away 10 awards.

HBO won movie or miniseries honors for "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom," which also gained a best actress award for Holly Hunter.

The network also had the two biggest winners of the evening -- taking four awards each for its comedy series "The Larry Sanders Show" and its comedy special "HBO Comedy Hour: John Leguizamo's 'Spic-o-Rama.' "

In addition to best comedy series, Garry Shandling's "Larry Sanders Show" took best direction, best writing and best actor in a comedy series.

The latter award went to Rip Torn, who beat fellow nominee Shandling. Mr. Shandling himself picked up two awards for the series in the writing and producing categories -- a comeback for the series after it won only one award last year.

The Leguizamo special came out of the blue, scooping up prizes in all the categories for which it was nominated: comedy special, directing in a comedy special, writing and performance (Mr. Leguizamo).

HBO was also a multiple winner with other programs, taking three awards for the miniseries "Stalin," three for its documentary special "The Broadcast Tapes of Dr. Peter: America Undercover" and two each for "Barbarians at the Gate," "Dream On," "Educating Peter" and "Cheerleader-Murdering Mom."

Among the other major awards, the Disney Channel's "Avonlea" won the award for dramatic series.

Ms. Hunter rebounded from last year, when she lost an acting ACE to Patricia Arquette. This year's ACE was her second major award for "Cheerleader" following an Emmy and perhaps a good-luck prelude to what may prove another victory, as she is widely considered a front-runner in the Oscar race for her work in Jane Campion's "The Piano."

Gary Oldman was named best actor in a dramatic series for the anthology "Fallen Angels," beating two other "Fallen Angels" performers --Gary Busey and James Woods -- among others.

Mariangela Pino won in the actress in a dramatic series category for "The Showtime 30-Minute Movie."

In addition to the actor award, "Fallen Angels" took prizes for direction and photography. But that outcome must have been something of a disappointment for the Mirage/Propaganda Films show, which received the highest number of nominations -- 12 in all, one more than "Larry Sanders."

Among the other cable networks, CNN and ESPN won six awards each (out of 21 and 26 nominations, respectively) -- a boost for CNN, which won only one award last year out of 16 nominations. A&E;, the Discovery Channel and the Disney Channel took five awards each.

MTV received four awards out of 20 nominations, with its most visible contender, "Beavis & Butt-head" -- the first animated show to compete in the comedy series category -- losing to "Sanders."

The music television service picked up awards for its political-awareness "Free Your Mind Campaign," for photography on a comedy/music special (Allen Branton for "The 1992 MTV Video Music Awards"), for news special ("Hate Rock: An MTV News Special Report") and variety special ("Seven Deadly Sins: An MTV News Special Report").

Among the other cable networks, the Learning Channel pulled three awards; Bravo, Lifetime and TNT took two each; and Comedy Central, MSG Network, Nickelodeon and TBS Superstation each took one award.

Veteran CNN schmooze-master Larry King's daily program won in the talk show category, its fourth trophy in as many years. But Mr. King himself lost in the interviewer category to Walter Cronkite for "The Holocaust: In Memory of Millions."

Even Michael Jackson had some good news: He won for performance in a music special or series, HBO's "Michael Jackson in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour."

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