HBO’s “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” won the Emmy for Best Documentary or Nonfiction Series at the Creative Arts Awards on Saturday night. The series chronicles the alleged crimes of billionaire real estate scion Robert Durst, suspected in the disappearance of his wife Kathie in 1982 and the killing of writer Susan Berman in 2000. He was also acquitted of the murder of his neighbor Morris Black, whom Durst claimed to have killed in self-defense in 2001. Thanks in part to “The Jinx,” Durst was arrested on new murder charges on March 14, 2015, the day before the finale episode aired.
The true-crime series, which also recently won the TCA Award for Best Movie/Miniseries/Special, won another of its six Emmy noms: Best Nonfiction Editing. It’s directed by Andrew Jarecki, who was an Oscar-nominee in 2003 for his big-screen documentary “Capturing the Friedmans.”
“The Jinx” faced a trio of programs from PBS, including “American Masters,” which had won this category three times in the previous four years – missing only in 2012, when it lost to “Frozen Planet.” On the air for nearly 30 years, “American Masters” has amassed a total haul of 27 Emmys. This was the long-running show’s only nomination this year.
PBS also contended with “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,” a three-part, six-hour documentary based on a 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning book detailing the history of the disease. It was narrated by actor Edward Herrmann, who tragically lost his own cancer battle before the miniseries aired. It’s executive produced by documentarian Ken Burns, an Emmy darling with five previous victories for nonfiction programming. This was the only nomination for “Cancer.”
Burns also directed and produced PBS’s third nominee, “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” which covers the famous American family, including presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt. The 14-hour series had three total nominations this year, winning Best Narrator (Peter Coyote).
Rounding out the category was CNN’s “The Sixties,” which covers the political and cultural changes during that eventful decade. It’s produced by Tom Hanks and also received a nomination last year for Best Documentary Special, losing to “JFK,” an installment of PBS’s “American Experience” series.
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Photo: Robert Durst in “The Jinx.” Credit: Marc Smerling/HBO