Skip to main content

Emmy nomination for former St John’s student

"The tragic events dramatized by this show were a part of history that had been largely overlooked"

St John’s writer Tom Rob Smith has been nominated for an Emmy for the smash hit TV mini-series The Murder of Gianni Versace.

The programme received a staggering 18 Emmy nominations in total including an Outstanding Writing one for Smith and one for Penelope Cruz for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her role playing Donatella Versace.

The series was described in the Guardian as “an astonishing, bold piece of television”, and many viewers praised the show’s complexity and realism – Smith not only wrote the series, he was also an executive producer.

It examines the events leading up to murder of Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace who was shot on the steps of his Miami mansion by serial killer Andrew Cunanan in 1997.

Gianni and Donatella Versace

Donatella and Gianni Versace photographed together in 1990. Photo credit: Wikipedia

"I'm thrilled with my nomination for Outstanding Writing. It was a privilege working on this show.”

The series won critical acclaim when it was first aired in the US in 2017, and became the most watched show on iPlayer shortly after its appearance on BBC2 in May earlier this year.

The Los Angeles–based Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, known as the Television Academy, established the Emmy Awards to recognise excellence in the television industry.

Speaking about his nomination Smith, who studied English at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, from 1998 to 2001 and graduated with a First, praised the cast and crew of the show.

He said: “I’m honoured that the Television Academy has recognised the team effort behind The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story with eighteen nominations and I'm thrilled with my nomination for Outstanding Writing. It was a privilege working on this show.”

The nominations for The Assassination of Gianni Versace include a nod for Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, and six of the show’s actors scored nominations for leading or supporting roles.

Tom Rob Smith headshot

Writer and Executive Producer of The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Tom Rob Smith

The TV series explores how homophobia affected the lives of the victims and the wider gay community in the 1990s

The series was based on the bestselling book Vulgar Favours: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History by investigative journalist Maureen Orth. The book is a revealing account of Cunanan’s killing spree. Cunanan committed suicide eight days after Versace was murdered.

Smith adapted the story of Vulgar Favours into nine episodes to form the second season of American Crime Story - the first story in the anthology was the award-winning The People v. O.J. Simpson.

Cunanan killed five openly gay men in total. The TV series explores how homophobia affected the lives of the victims and the wider gay community in the 1990s and its role in the FBI manhunt for Cunanan.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace won praise from critics and viewers for its writing, in part because it drew attention to the non-celebrity victims of Cunanan who were murdered in a killing spree which ended with the high profile murder of Versace.

Smith said shining a light on the untold stories of Cunanan’s other victims was a driving factor behind his narrative of the series.

He explained: “The tragic events dramatized by this show were a part of history that had been largely overlooked. The ambition was to bring into focus the extraordinary men who were lost and celebrate how they fought to contribute to society even as society stigmatised them.”

Now that the nominations for the 2018 Emmy Awards have been announced, the members of the Television Academy will start to cast their votes, and the winners will be announced at the live televised ceremony on September 17.

An interview with Smith about his career will be in the next edition of The Eagle which will be available to read online later this year.

Published: 23/07/18

Back to College News