Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"13th" vs. "O.J.: Made in America" plus other non-fiction political programs nominated at the Primetime Emmy Awards

I told my readers to "Stay tuned for more posts of mine on the best in political television throughout the week" at the end of Part II of When did speculative fiction go 'mainstream'? When SF novels became best-sellers.  It's time to resume the series that began with Lots of politics in nonfiction television at the 2017 Television Critics Awards and continued with Religion and politics at the 2017 Television Critics Association Awards as 'The Handmaid's Tale' wins two awards and 'Love Has No Labels' and 'Women's March' among 2017 Emmy nominations for Outstanding Commercial with this bit of foreshadowing from Nature and science at the Primetime Emmy Awards.
The other nine nominations [for "Planet Earth II"] include Documentary or Nonfiction Series, two nominations for Directing for a Nonfiction Program (Fredi Devas and Elizabeth White), two nominations for Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program (one each for the teams for "Islands" and "Cities," the final episode), two nominations for Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program (Dave Pearce and Matt Meech), Outstanding Sound Editing For Non Fiction Programming, and Outstanding Sound Mixing For Nonfiction Programming.  I'm rooting for it in all categories, although it's competing with "O.J: Made in America" and "13th" in many of them.  The former won an Oscar; the latter was nominated for it.  That's a quality field.
"Bill Nye Saves The World"... earned two nominations for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming and Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Nonfiction, Reality, or Reality Competition Programming...As for it winning, I don't have much hope.  It's competing for the writing award with "13th."  In the production design, it's competing against "Saturday Night Live," one of the two most nominated shows this season.  Bill Nye and Netflix should just be happy to get the nominations.
Both of the leading nominated political non-fiction shows are about the politics of race relations in America.  They're not alone, as "United Shades of America" along with two shows about the 25th Anniversary of the L.A. Riots and another about the Obamas also appear among the nominees.  Given the racial motivation for the violence in Charlottesville, that remains an important topic.

Follow over the jump for the political nominees in non-fiction television at the Primetime Emmy Awards.

I begin with those categories in which both "O.J: Made in America" and "13th" are nominees and either or both "Planet Earth II" and “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds” are also nominated.  Here's one that has all of them and no other nominees.
Directing for a Nonfiction Program

Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens (“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds”)
Ezra Edelman (“O.J.: Made in America”)
Fredi Devas (“Planet Earth II”)
Elizabeth White (“Planet Earth II”)
Ava DuVernay (“13th”)
On two criteria, most nominations in this awards show (8 for “13th” in contrast to 6 for “O.J.: Made in America”) and track record of the nominee, I think Ava DuVernay is going to win, even though Ezra Edelman directed the actual Oscar winner for Feature Length Documentary and "Planet Earth II" has 2 more nominations overall; I think it might have its votes split in this category.
Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program

Todd Lieber & Zach Zamboni (“Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown”)
Will Basanta (“Chef’s Table”)
Nick Higgins (“O.J.: Made In America”)
Cinematography Team (“Planet Earth II: Cities”)
Cinematography Team (“Planet Earth II: Islands”)
Hans Charles & Kira Kelly (“13th”)
This is a very tough field.  Anthony Bourdain's food and travel show has been nominated multiple times and even won once.  “O.J.: Made In America” is an Oscar winner.  "13th" has more nominations.  Finally, the BBC Earth team are masters at their craft.  I personally am cheering for "Cities" to win.
Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program

Paul Crowder (“The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years”)
Bret Granato, Maya Mumma & Ben Sozanski (“O.J.: Made in America”)
Dave Pearce (“Planet Earth II”)
Matt Meech (“Planet Earth II”)
Spencer Averick (“13th”)
Joe Langford, Richard Lowe, Denny Thomas (“Vice”)
Tough competition.  I wouldn't be surprised if any one of them wins, including "Eight Days A Week."
Sound Mixing For a Nonfiction Program (Single or Multi-Camera)

Brian Bracken (“Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” — “Rome”)
Chris Jenkins, Cameron Frankley, Nathan Evans, Sam O’Kell (“The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years”)
Keith Hodne, Eric Di Stefano (“O.J.: Made In America” — “Part 2”)
Graham Wild (“Planet Earth II” — “Cities”)
Jeffrey Perkins (“13th”)
This is the last category in which "13th" and "O.J.: Made in America" compete head-to-head and "Planet Earth II" and "Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown" are right there with them.  I'd give a slight advantage to "Eight Days A Week," which is a music documentary, but any one of them could win.  Again, I'm rooting for "Planet Earth II."
Sound Editing for a Nonfiction Program (Single Camera)

Benny Mouthon (“Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown”)
Jon Michaels, Harrison Meyle, Dan Kenyon, Will Digby & Melissa Muik (“The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years”)
David Crocco & Rolando Nadal (“Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath”)
Kate Hopkins & Tim Owens (“Planet Earth II”)
Tim Boggs, Alex Lee, Julie Pierce & Lise Richardson (“13th”)
"O.J.: Made in America" isn't here, but it was replaced by another worthy show, "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath," which won Outstanding Achievement In Reality Programming at the Television Critics Association Awards.  I think "13th" has a good shot and "Eight Days A Week" a better one, but I'm still rooting for "Planet Earth II."
Writing for a Nonfiction Program

Matthew Hamachek and Brian McGinn (“Amanda Knox”)
Anthony Bourdain (“Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown”)
Mark Monroe (“The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years”)
Prashanth Venkataramanujam, CeCe Pleasants, Sanden Totten, Mike Drucker & Flora Lichtman (“Bill Nye Saves the World”)
Ava DuVernay & Spencer Averick (“13th”)
Without "Planet Earth II" in the mix, I think "13th" is the favorite, even though I'm rooting for "Bill Nye Saves the World," even though I don't think it deserves it.
Documentary or Nonfiction Special

“Amanda Knox” (Netflix)
“The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years” (Hulu)
“A House Divided (Vice Special Report)” (HBO)
“L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later” (A&E)
“13th” (Netflix)
"13th" is the clear favorite, given the reputation and quality of the director and the urgency of the movie's topic, but any of these shows could win.
Original Music and Lyrics

Adam Schlesinger, Rachel Bloom, Jack Dolgen (“Crazy Ex Girlfriend” — “We Tapped That Ass”)
Christopher Willis, Darrick Bachman, Paul Rudish (“Duck the Halls: A Mickey Mouse Christmas Special” — “Jing-A-Ling-A-Ling”)
Jonathan Kimmel, Gary Greenberg (“Jimmy Kimmel Live” — “The Ballad of Claus Jorstad (Devil Stool)”) Eli Brueggemann, Chancelor Johnathan Bennett, Kenan Thompson, Will Stephen (“Saturday Night Live” — “Last Christmas”)
Common, Robert Glasper, Karriem Riggins (“13th” — “Letter to the Free”)
Jeff Richmond, Tina Fey, Sam Means (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” — “Hell No”)
In its final nominated category, "13th" would be the winner of a game of "One of these things is not like the other" in this field.  All the rest are for comedies.  At least as the most serious, it would stand out.  That written, I'd actually have to listen to all of them to give an informed opinion.
Documentary Filmmaking

Alexis Bloom, Fisher Stevens, Sheila Nevins, Brett Ratner & Nancy Abraham (“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds”)
TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay, Jonathan Chinn & Simon Chinn (“LA 92”)
Ezra Edelman, Caroline Waterlow, Connor Schell, Libby Geist, Tamara Rosenberg & Nina Krstic (“O.J.: Made In America”)
Barak Goodman, Emily Singer Chapman, Mark Samels & Susan Bellows (“Oklahoma City (American Experience)”)
Joanna Natasegara (“The White Helmets”)
"O.J.: Made In America" is the favorite as it won the Oscar for feature length documentary, but it has worthy competition in "The White Helmets," which is also an Oscar winner for Best Documentary Short Subject.  However, I wouldn't be surprised if "Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds" pulled off an upset.  It's a Hollywood story that Hollywood people like and so they might vote for it.  I hope not.  I'd rather see "LA 92" pull off the upset.
Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special (Original Dramatic Score)

Jeff Russo (“Fargo” — “Aporia”)
Mac Quayle (“FEUD: Bette and Joan” — “Pilot”)
Jeremy Turner (“Five Came Back” — “The Price of Victory”)
Gary Lionelli (“OJ: Made in America” — “Part 3”)
Rael Jones (“Suite Fran├žaise”)
Patrick Jonsson (“The White Helmets”)
"O.J.: Made in America" and "The White Helmets" face off again.  While I'm rooting for "O.J.: Made in America," I'd have to listen to all the scores to determine which really deserves the statue.
Unstructured Reality Program

“Born This Way” (A&E)
“Deadliest Catch” (Discovery Channel)
“Gaycation With Ellen Page” (Viceland)
“Intervention” (A&E)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked” (YouTube)
“United Shades Of America: With W. Kamau Bell” (CNN)
The political show here is "United Shades of America," which examines race relations in America with a light touch.  However, I doubt it will win.  "Deadliest Catch" has won twice and "Born This Way" is the returning winner.  I watch "Deadliest Catch" occasionally, as it has a nature aspect, but "Born This Way" makes its own subtle political point, so I would be O.K. with it repeating.
Host for a Reality/Reality-Competition Program

Alec Baldwin (“Match Game”)
W. Kamau Bell (“United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell)
RuPaul Charles (“RuPaul’s Drag Race)
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (“Project Runway)
Gordon Ramsay (“MasterChef Junior)
Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg (“Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party”)
RuPaul Charles is the defending winner and I think he's the favorite.  W. Kamau Bell should just be happy to be nominated.  If Alec Baldwin wins this category, it would be an injustice.  He can earn his Emmy for portraying Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live; that shouldn't bleed over here.

I also foreshadowed today's post in More nature and science at the Primetime Emmy Awards.
I'll have more to say about the rest of the nominees in the final category [Outstanding Original Interactive Program, a new category] in a future entry, as two of them are nonfiction political shows.  Until then, stay tuned.
Thank you for staying tuned.
Original Interactive Program

Disney/ ABC Television Group & Kids Digital Media (“Amigo to the Rescue: Disney Junior Interactive Show”)
Oculus Story Studio (“Dear Angelica”)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jared Geller, ACLU & Hitrecord (“Hitrecord x ACLU: Are You There Democracy? It’s Me, The Internet”)
Ben Grossmann, Adrian Sciutto, Amaresh Kollipara, David Swift & Oculus (“Mission: ISS”)
Felix & Paul Studios (“The People’s House – Inside the White House With Barack and Michelle Obama”)
The political shows are “Hitrecord x ACLU: Are You There Democracy? It’s Me, The Internet” and “The People’s House – Inside the White House With Barack and Michelle Obama.”  Between the two, I'd root for the Obamas, but I suspect "Dear Angelica" will win instead.
Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Within an Unscripted Program

John Najarian & Darren Hand (“E! Live 360”)
Meghan de Boer, Rich Preuss, Teeny Stillings, Augie Vargas & Shelby Sundling Lathrop (“The Oscars: All Access”)
Eric Gurian, Evan Jonigkeit, Jerry Kupfer, Jack Burditt & Nick Bernardone (“Stand For Rights: A Benefit for the ACLU with Tom Hanks”)
Stand Up To Cancer: A Program of the Entratainment Industry Foundation, Done + Dusted Inc., Telescope Inc., Blue State Digital & ID-PR (“Stand Up to Cancer: #Reasons2StandUp”)
The political show is “Stand For Rights: A Benefit for the ACLU with Tom Hanks,” but I think either "The Oscars: All Access" or "Stand Up to Cancer" will win, the first because it is a show about Hollywood and the second because it's about a cause that Hollywood likes.  Yes, I'm cynical, but I grew up around Hollywood people.  I might have more to say about that later.
Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series

“Creating Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“Feud: Bette and Joan: Inside Look” (
“Jay Leno’s Garage” (
“National Endowment for the Arts: United States of Arts” (
“Viceland at the Women’s March” (Viceland)
"Viceland at the Women's March" is the political program, but "United States of Arts" also fits the theme, as it was produced by the government.  I'm also counting "Creating Saturday Night Live," as the parent program can be very political and I'm examining it in a future entry.  Speaking of which, stay tuned for a post about the scripted comedies and dramas about politics, including shows starring two fictional presidents, Selina Meyer and Frank Underwood.


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