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Roslyn school scandal film nominated at next week’s Emmys

Rose Weldon
"Bad Education," the film based off the 2004 embezzlement scandal in the Roslyn School District, has received nominations at the Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor for Hugh Jackman, center, and Outstanding Television Movie, with writer, producer and Roslyn native Mike Makowsky listed among the nominees in that category. (Photo courtesy of HBO)

Results of the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, which recognize excellence in television, will be announced next Sunday, with “Bad Education,” the film based on the embezzlement scandal that plagued the Roslyn school district in the early 2000s, nominated for two such awards.

“Logan” star Hugh Jackman, who portrayed former Roslyn School Superintendent Frank Tassone, is nominated for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie, while the film as a whole is nominated for outstanding television movie, with writer, producer and Roslyn alumnus Mike Makowsky listed as a nominee in that area.

In a statement to Blank Slate Media upon the announcement of the nominations in July, Makowsky expressed excitement at the news, calling it “surreal.”

“The film was intended in part as a love letter to Roslyn and my upbringing there,” Makowsky said. “I’m beyond thrilled to share this recognition with the town, and with the teachers who first encouraged me to pursue a career in creative writing.”

The film, which premiered on pay-cable network HBO on April 25 following a successful run at the Toronto International Film Festival, is based on Tassone, who headed the Roslyn school district for 12 years, beginning in 1990, and took it to a ranking of No. 4 in the country.

After the quiet dismissal of Assistant Superintendent Pamela Gluckin, played in the movie by Allison Janney, a story on the dismissal was written by then-senior Rebekah Rombom and published in the school newspaper The Hilltop Beacon, leading to parents finding out and Tassone’s subsequent resignation in June 2002. Rombom was thanked in the film’s credits, and the role inspired by her was played by actress Geraldine Viswanathan.

Both Tassone and Gluckin pleaded guilty to larceny charges and served prison sentences. Tassone said after the film premiered on TV that he had repaid the $2.2 million he owed. HBO later said that Gluckin died in 2017.

Tassone was critical of the film when it premiered, contending that “about 40 to 50 percent” of the movie was accurate but praising Jackman for his performance, saying he did “a very good job portraying me.”

Jackman is the only person in his category nominated for a movie, and will be competing against Jeremy Pope from Netflix’s “Hollywood,” Paul Mescall from Hulu’s “Normal People,” Jeremy Irons from HBO’s “Watchmen,” and Mark Ruffalo from HBO’s “I Know This Much Is True.”

In the outstanding television movie category, “Bad Education” will go up against four Netflix productions: “American Son,” “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings: These Old Bones,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend,” and “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.”

The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by late-night personality Jimmy Kimmel, will take place in a socially distant fashion on Sunday, Sept. 20 and will be broadcast on ABC at 8 p.m.

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Rose Weldon

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