“Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” an expose directed by Alex Gibney, could contend at this year’s Oscars, but it’s already an Emmy winner after sweeping the top prizes at the Creative Arts Awards on Saturday, September 12 (read our complete breakdown of those dual-eligibility rules here). It claimed Best Documentary Special, Best Nonfiction Writing and Best Nonfiction Directing.
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” was nominated for seven Emmys in all.
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 was the only nomination for that two-part, four-hour documentary.
Another film about a famous musician was in the running: “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” an authorized documentary about the Nirvana frontman, who committed suicide in 1994 at age 27. The film tied “Going Clear” as the most nominated program in the category with seven bids, but it was shut out of its races.
Also nominated was one of last year’s Oscar contenders for Best Documentary: “Virunga,” which documents the efforts to save mountain gorillas in a protected area of the Congo. The Netflix film won its only other Emmy bid: Best Nonfiction Cinematography.
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Photo: “Going Clear” Credit: HBO