The Emmy race for Best Documentary or Nonfiction Special includes three familiar titles. “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” an expose directed by Alex Gibney, could contend at this year’s Oscars. Netflix’s “Virunga” was an Oscar nominee last for Best Documentary Feature and “The Case Against 8” made the motion picture academy’s longlist of 15 semifinalists in 2014. They’re all eligible at the Emmys because the TV academy makes an exception for films that have very limited theatrical runs to qualify for awards (read our complete breakdown of those rules here).
Gibney is a previous Oscar champ for Best Documentary (“Taxi to the Dark Side,” 2007), and he won the Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking for another film about religious crimes: “Mea Maxima Culpa” (2013), about child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. His acclaimed documentary “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” is nominated for seven Emmys in all, including Best Nonfiction Writing and Best Nonfiction Directing.
“Virunga” documents the efforts to save mountain gorillas in a protected area of the Congo. In addition to its support from rising film and TV distributor Netflix, the conservationist documentary also boasts the star-power of executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio, who is listed among the Emmy nominees. This is one of two Emmy bids for “Virunga,” which also contends for Best Nonfiction Cinematography.
“The Case Against 8” details the battle against California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state. The film is one of four nominees in this category from HBO, and it also contends for Best Nonfiction Editing.
Gibney also directed another nominee in the category: “Sinatra: All or Nothing at All,” which tells the story of legendary entertainer Frank Sinatra using hours of archive interviews. But this is the only nomination for that two-part, four-hour documentary.
Rounding out the category is another film about a famous musician: “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” an authorized documentary about the Nirvana frontman, who committed suicide in 1994 at age 27. The film is tied with “Going Clear” as the most nominated program in the category with seven bids, also including Nonfiction Writing and Nonfiction Directing for Brett Morgen, who was a 1999 Oscar-nominee for the sports doc “On the Ropes.”
As some of our Users turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, it’s important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our Users racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.
Make your own Emmys picks now starting at the bottom of this post. You could win one of our three prizes ($500, $300 and $200 Amazon gift certificates) as well as a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmys line-up).
Meet the guy who won our contest to predict the Emmys last year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar.
Register/log in to your Gold Derby account so you can also compete to predict the TCA Awards, reality TV shows and more.
Photo: “Going Clear” Credit: HBO
Photo: “Virunga.” Credit: Netflix/Everett/REX