Oscar champ ‘Citizenfour’ now wins Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Film

Citizenfour” won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature earlier this year. It just followed that with an Emmy win for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking at the Creative Arts Awards on Sept. 12. But how was a big-screen documentary even eligible for TV’s top honor? It’s 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).

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Citizenfour” is an eye-opening film about Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower who shared information with director Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald about extensive surveillance operations in the National Security Agency. It premiered on HBO on February 23, 2015, the day after it won the Oscar. It was nominated for four Emmys in all, but this was its only victory.

“Citizenfour” contended against two other documentaries by women. PBS and Pivot’s “The Great Invisible” is produced and directed by Margaret Brown and tells the story of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that caused a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days in 2010. This was the film’s only nomination.

Actress Rashida Jones picked up an Emmy nomination as a producer of the Netflix documentary “Hot Girls Wanted.” Co-directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, It explores the lives and experiences of young-adult women drawn into the pornography business. This was its only nomination.

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Photo: Edward Snowden in “Citizenfour.” Credit: HBO

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