I’ve been writing about a lot of the Creative Arts races, and though I LOVE how much love they give to nonfiction (and not just reality TV), it occurs to me that several categories are just plain redundant.
For instance, there’s no functional difference between Best Documentary/Nonfiction Special and Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, especially when you consider that one Oscar documentary ended up in one category (“Virunga” in Doc Special) and another ended up in the other category (“Citizenfour” in Exceptional Merit).
Even more problematic are a trio of categories: Unstructured Reality, Informational Program, Nonfiction Series. Shows like “Deadliest Catch,” “Antiques Roadshow” “Vice,” and Anthony Bourdain’s shows have switched between those categories over the years, demonstrating that there’s functionally no difference between them. I love to have so many categories for nonfiction, but not if they essentially honor the same things.
What do you guys think?
Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking is defined in the rules as:
“This award is not meant to duplicate the recognition given documentary/nonfiction programming in the regular categories and areas of the competition; rather, its purpose is to both honor and encourage exceptional achievement in one or more of the traditional components of the filmmakers’ art:
1. Profound social impact
2. Significant innovation of form
3. Remarkable mastery of filmmaking technique”
Also, a documentary entered in this category is ineligible in the other categories, and if it is not accepted in this category, the entrant is informed of this before nominating ballots go out so it can subsequently enter the other categories.
Plus, this is a juried award; they don’t have to give it out every year.
But Citizenfour was nominated in other categories. So was Virunga. So…I don’t understand.
I agree with Daniel. It’s not bad if TPTB want to honor non-fiction, but if there is isn’t a significant/clear difference between the categories, then what’s the point?
Also, there is a separated News and Documentary Emmy. I don’t understand why some documentaries compete there, but not the Primetime Emmys. This is all confusing and I’m too lazy to do further research!
I could kind of understand if Exceptional Merit were just for “profound
social impact”, but when it is for that or “innovation of form” or
“mastery of filmmaking”, that means that it is exactly the same as the
other documentary category because I am sure that people vote for those
nominees also for some combination of those three reasons. Dumb!
Judging criteria will include: filmmaker’s expressed vision, compelling power of storytelling, artistry or innovation of craft, and the capacity to inform, transport, impact, enlighten, and create a moving and indelible work that elevates the art of documentary filmmaking. So, again, it is just like the other award.