The HBO movie, “Temple Grandin,” which illustrates the life story of Temple Grandin, Colorado State University animal scientist and renowned animal behaviorist, received a total of seven Emmy Awards – five of which were handed out last night during a primetime broadcast on NBC.
The film swept the major awards including Outstanding Made for Television Movie, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (Claire Danes), Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie (David Strathairn), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (Julia Ormond) and Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special (Mick Jackson).
Grandin appeared on stage last night at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles as the award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie was handed out.
“It makes me very happy. The movie serves as a tool to educate people about autism and shows that autistic children can become something,” Grandin said.
Grandin marveled at how Claire Danes transformed herself into the title character. “She deserves the award for Outstanding Lead Actress. Claire became me. She went way beyond the normal role,” Grandin said.
The awards and recognition were an added birthday present for Grandin, who turned 63 on Sunday. “It was just sort of luck,” Grandin said.
The movie depicts Grandin’s life as a child, during her high school years, and follows her during the 1970s as she began her career in her chosen field of food-animal welfare and as an equipment designer determined to help reduce stress on animals. The film delivers messages about autism and treating animals humanely.
Grandin’s ability to see pictures in her head and her understanding that cows experience their world mainly as visual stimuli has enabled her to design livestock facilities that treat cattle more humanely.
A professor in Colorado State’s Department of Animal Sciences, Grandin teaches courses on livestock behavior and facility design. She regularly consults with the livestock industry on design, livestock handling and animal welfare. Facilities she has designed are located in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and other countries around the world. In North America, almost half of the cattle are handled in a center track restrainer system that she designed for meat plants. Curved chute and race systems she has designed for cattle are used extensively throughout the livestock industry.
Grandin has published several books on the humane treatment of animals and on a better understanding of autism. Her 1995 autobiography, “Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism,” is the basis for the HBO movie. She’s also the author of “Animals in Translation: Understanding the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior,” a New York Times best seller published in 2005, and last year’s “Animals Make Us Human.”
The film also captured two additional Emmys: Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special – (Original Dramatic Score) and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or a Movie.
The movie, “Temple Grandin,” is now available on DVD through local stores and online retailers.