Sunday, September 1, 2019

'RBG' vs. 'Free Solo' and other Oscar nominees at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards

Last year, I examined Oscar nominees and Oscar snubs nominated for Creative Arts Emmy Awards in 'Jane,' 'Icarus,' and 'Blue Planet II' — Nature, science, and politics in documentaries at the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmy Awards.  This year, I recycle the theme by looking at the films I listed in "RBG" earns two Oscar nominations plus other nominees for Best Documentary Feature that earned nominations at this year's Creative Arts Emmy Awards along with their competitors.  I begin with the two program categories in which this year's Oscar nominees are competing, beginning with the one in which two earned nominations.
Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking

Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes (A&E)
Hale County This Morning, This Evening (PBS)
The Sentence (HBO)
Three Identical Strangers (CNN)
Two Oscar nominees, "RBG" and "Hale County This Morning, This Evening," appear among the nominees, along with two 2018 Critics' Choice Documentary Awards nominees, "Three Identical Strangers," a notable Oscar snub that I hoped would get a second chance at the Emmy Awards, and "The Sentence."  It should come as no surprise that I'm rooting for "RGB," which I think is the favorite because it has the most nominations of any entry in this category, four, as well as being a winner of two Golden Coffee Cups.  I consider "Three Identical Strangers" to be its main competition with a total of three nominations.

The spoiler may not be "Hale County This Morning, This Evening," the other Oscar nominee, but "Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes."  The voters are television professionals and this movie is about television, so it holds an inherent advantage over the other nominees with only one nomination, "Hale County This Morning, This Evening" and "The Sentence," and could conceivably sneak past the favorites if their votes end up being split evenly.

Next, the category with one Oscar nominee, "Minding The Gap," which I knew would be nominated, as it streamed on Hulu.
Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Netflix)
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (HBO)
Jane Fonda in Five Acts (HBO)
Leaving Neverland (HBO)
Love, Gilda (CNN)
Minding the Gap (Hulu)
While it is an Oscar nominee, "Minding The Gap" probably does not have the inside track to win this category.  Instead, I think that distinction belongs to the four entertainment documentaries.  Based on the number of nominations, HBO's "Leaving Neverland" would be the favorite with five nominations, followed by the Netflix documentary "FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened" with four, "Love, Gilda" with two, and "Jane Fonda in Five Acts" with only the one nomination in this category.  If all things were equal, I would handicap the contest accordingly.  That would be supported by it winning Outstanding Achievement in News and Information at the Television Critics Association Awards.  However, all things are not equal.

As I already noted, the Emmy electorate consists of television creative professionals who will prefer a television subject.  The two most nominated entries are about music and Jane Fonda is primarily a movie actress, but Gilda Ratner was a television star and a beloved dead celebrity to boot.  That combination powered "The Zen Diaries of Gary Shandling" to win this category last year and I think it might do the same for "Love, Gilda" over "Leaving Neverland" and "FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened."  As I've written before, "Never underestimate the power of Hollywood voting for a good film or show about itself."  "Leaving Neverland" may have to wait for the Grammy Awards to have a better shot of winning.

What about the actual Oscar winner, "Free Solo?"  It earned more nominations than the other Oscar contenders, seven, despite none of them being program awards for documentaries.  Follow over the jump for those.

Now for the category with what I consider to be the best field of documentaries nominated for a single award.
Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin for Free Solo (Nat Geo)
Chris Smith for FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Netflix)
Dan Reed for Leaving Neverland (HBO)
Julie Cohen and Betsy West for RBG (CNN)
Tim Wardle for Three Identical Strangers (CNN)
Now, that's a field!  Every single nominee has multiple nominations.  Based on the number of nominations, "Free Solo" would be the favorite.  However, it's contending with two documentaries about entertainment, "Leaving Neverland" and "FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened," as well as "RBG."  Based on the nomination below for cinematography, I think "Free Solo" is still the favorite, but it will be close.
Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – Morgan Fallon, Todd Liebler and Zach Zamboni (Episode: "Bhutan") (CNN)
Free Solo – Jimmy Chin, Clair Popkin and Mikey Schaefer (Nat Geo)
Our Planet – Doug Anderson and Gavin Thurston (Episode: "Coastal Seas") (Netflix)
Our Planet – Alastair MacEwen and Matt Aeberhard (Episode: "Jungles") (Netflix)
Our Planet – Jamie McPherson and Roger Horrocks (Episode: "One Planet") (Netflix)
The "Our Planet" series may have better camera work overall, but I suspect having three episodes nominated may split its voters, giving "Free Solo" a better shot.  That written, its main competition may be the final season of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, which may still be benefiting from the death of its star.
Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media within an Unscripted Program

CONAN Without Borders Japan & Australia (TBS)
Free Solo 360 (Nat Geo)
The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2019 (CBS)
The Oscars – Digital Experience (ABC)
I don't know how to handicap this category, so I'll have to go with my gut, which tells me to pick "The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2019."  I've learned not to dismiss James Corden.
Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Score)

Brandon Roberts and Marco Beltrami for Free Solo (National Geographic)
Hannah Peel for Game of Thrones: The Last Watch (HBO)
Benjamin Wallfisch for Hostile Planet (Episode: "Oceans") (Nat Geo)
Miriam Cutler for Love, Gilda (CNN)
Steven Price for Our Planet (Episode: "One Planet") (Netflix)
Miriam Cutler for RBG (CNN)
Benjamin Wallfisch is the composer I know best, so I'm going with him to win for "Hostile Planet."  I might change my mind after I listen to all selections.  Later, possibly for National Wildlife Day, when I'm thinking of blogging about the nature nominees, some of which I missed today.  As for Miriam Cutler, who is nominated twice in this category, I think her vote might get split.  If she were only nominated once, she would have a good chance of winning.
Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – Tom Patterson (Episode: "Lower East Side") (CNN)
Free Solo – Bob Eisenhardt (Nat Geo)
Leaving Neverland – Jules Cornell (HBO)
RBG – Carla Gutierrez (CNN)
Three Identical Strangers – Michael Harte (CNN)
"Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" won this category last year, so it's the nominal favorite.  However, it's up against very stiff competition.  I'm rooting for "RBG," but I'm not very hopeful.
Outstanding Sound Editing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera)

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (Episode: "Far West Texas") (CNN)
Free Solo (Nat Geo)
FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Netflix)
Leaving Neverland (HBO)
Our Planet (Episode: "Frozen Worlds") (Netflix)
"Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" won this category last year as well, so it is also the nominal favorite here.  Again, it's competing against a very tough field with my heart going to "Free Solo" and "Our Planet" and my head going with the two music documentaries.  I can't choose.
Outstanding Sound Mixing for Nonfiction Program (Single or Multi-Camera)

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (Episode: "Kenya") (CNN)
Free Solo (Nat Geo)
FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Netflix)
Leaving Neverland (HBO)
Our Planet (Episode: "Frozen Worlds") (Netflix)
For a third time today, "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" won this category last year as well and it's facing identical competition, so I have nothing new to say.

I conclude today's entry with the theme for "Hostile Planet" by Benjamin Wallfisch, my pick for now to win Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Score).

"Hostile Planet" was written and performed by Benjamin Wallfisch for Volume 1 of the National Geographic series "Hostile Planet."
As I wrote above, I plan on returning to the Emmy Awards on September 4th, National Wildlife Day.  In the meantime, stay tuned for a post about Labor Day followed by one about going back to school.

Previous entries in this series.


  1. I think the strength of Free Solo is the inclusion of historical film of the pioneers of climbing in Yosemite.

    1. Wow, I think a comment four minutes after posting an entry is a record. Congratulations!

      As for the content of your comment, good point!