Behind the Candelabra, the film about iconic gay pianist Liberace, has won eight awards at the Creative Arts Emmys.

Steven Soderbergh’s directorial project took home best art direction, casting, picture editing, costumes and other major awards after leading the pack with nine nominations.

In January Soderburgh said Behind the Candelabra was turned down by the big Hollywood studios for being “too gay.”

It didn’t get a screen run in the US but was shown at cinemas across the UK and in other countries.

When the film debuted on HBO in May, it achieved the highest ratings for a TV film in the US since 2004.

Executive producer Jerry Weintraub said in June: “We had three and a half million homes just on Sunday night (when the film was broadcast on HBO in America) and that’s without the TEVO-ing. When we’re finished, God knows how many millions of people will see this film and that’s what we wanted. That’s why we made it.”

The Creative Arts Emmys are a precursor to the primetime Emmys which are taking place this weekend.

Behind the Candelabra stars Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his secret partner, Scott Thorson.

Michael Douglas has earned critical praise for his portrayal of Liberace. Douglas and Damon are both nominated against each other in the ‘Lead Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie’ category.

Sir Elton John will pay homage to Liberace at the Primetime Emmy Awards in a special performance at the NOKIA Theatre in LA on Sunday 22 September.

Liberace’s final stage performance was at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on 2 November 1986 – his 18th show in 21 days

He died from an HIV-related illness on 4 February 1987, at his winter home in Palm Springs, California, aged 67.

This video of him performing on The Muppet Show in 1978 shows why he is rightly considered one of the greatest pianists and entertainers of all time.