Wednesday, September 13, 2017

'13th' leads non-fiction programs with four Emmy Awards

Yesterday, I wrote "I'll have more about the other winners of non-fiction programs later this week."  I decided today would be that day, especially as it would mean I'd write about "13th" on the 13th.  I couldn't let that apt coincidence pass.

"13th" won more awards than any other nonfiction program with statues given out for four categories.  Variety lists them and quotes Ava DuVernay's acceptance speech.
“13th” won for documentary special as well as writing, motion design and original music and lyrics for “The Letter to the Free” by Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins. The Netflix documentary, which also collected a Peabody Award and an Oscar nomination this year, led the winners field with four trophies.
I was rooting for or predicted most of these wins.
Documentary or Nonfiction Special..."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.
Writing for a Nonfiction Program...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.
That's two.  Now for the third from 'Saturday Night Live' tied for most Emmy nominations with 22, 24 counting its web series and interactive program, here's what I had to say about the odds of Common's song winning.
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.
I will say that Common wrote "Glory," the Academy Award winning song for "Selma."  That's a point in its favor. In addition, if the Emmy electorate wants to send a message, that might be even more effective, if less popular, than picking a Christmas song from SNL.
I count that as a half.  As for Outstanding Motion Motion Design, the nominees weren't listed and a jury picked the awards, so I didn't have a chance to say anything about its chances.  Still, calling two-and-one-half out of three is pretty good.

Now for a quote from the acceptance speech.
DuVernay was one of several winners who made emotional pleas for those in media to use their power to speak out on urgent issues, from criminal justice and prison reform to climate change.

“When all kinds of people are feeling aggressively demoralized and devalued, people of justice and dignity need to stand up and make our voices heard,” DuVernay said. “Our voices are stronger than those that try to silence us.”
I second this emotion.

Follow over the jump for the other winners in non-fiction television.

Despite being the best known director, DuVernay did not take home the award for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming.  Instead Ezra Edelman earned that award for "O.J.: Made in America."  The power of the Oscar meant something.  In addition, the ESPN biopic earned Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming.  Those two wins put "O.J.: Made in America" in a second place tie among with "Planet Earth II" and "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week" as well as undisputed second among nonfiction shows with a political or social theme.  For what it's worth, I didn't call either of these wins.

Despite being the Oscar winner for Feature Length Documentary, "O.J.: Made in America" failed to take home the statue for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking.  Instead, that went to "LA 92," Nat Geo's 25th anniversary documentary of the L.A. Riots.  It turns out I sort of called it.
"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.
And it did.  Congratulations on beating two Oscar winners!

Speaking of upsets, here's what I wrote about Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program.
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.
I was happy to be wrong.  Variety again.
CNN’s “United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell” won for unstructured reality program. Bell urged those in the crowd to recognize the important role played by “television and movies that prove the necessity of diversity and inclusion to make America a better place.”
Just as I did for DuVernay, I second this emotion.

I was rooting for “The People’s House – Inside the White House With Barack and Michelle Obama” to win Outstanding Original Interactive Program.  I was also rooting for “Viceland at the Women’s March” to win Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series, even though I didn't say so.  I got my wish with both shows.  Yay!

That's it for the political winners in non-fiction television at the Emmys.  I'll be back with more winners in speculative fiction and politics.  In the meantime, I conclude this entry with the Emmy-winning song, Letter To The Free sung by Common.


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