Emmys spotlight: Nat Geo celebrates 13 nominations including Cynthia Erivo, Sigourney Weaver …

National Geographic scored a total of 13 Emmy nominations this year, spread out over six programs: limited series “Genius: Aretha,” documentary series “City So Real,” unstructured reality series “Life Below Zero,” nonfiction series “Rebuilding Paradise,” structured reality series “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” and documentary series “Secrets of the Whales,” which streamed on Disney+. The network knows a thing or two about winning Emmys. Just last year Nat Geo took home a total of five awards, and in 2019 “Free Solo” made headlines by claiming a whopping seven trophies.

How will Nat Geo fare at the 2021 Emmys? Let’s take a closer look at their baker’s dozen nominations. They are: choreography, lead actress (Cynthia Erivo) and sound mixing for “Genius: Aretha,” cinematography and doc/nonfiction series for “City So Real,” cinematography, picture editing and sound mixing for “Life Below Zero,” cinematography for “Rebuilding Paradise,” structured reality program for “Running Wild,” and cinematography, narrator (Sigourney Weaver) and doc/nonfiction series for “Secrets of the Whales.”

Of note, this is the third “Genius” installment in a row to receive a bid for its lead performer, with Erivo (as Aretha Franklin) following in the footsteps of Antonio Banderas (as Pablo Picasso) in 2018 and Geoffrey Rush (as Albert Einstein) in 2017. “Genius: Aretha” aired in March to critical acclaim, with Erivo praised as being “born to play” the legendary Queen of Soul. Erivo’s Emmy competition in Best Movie/Limited Actress consists of Kate Winslet (“Mare of Easttown”), Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”), Michaela Coel (“I May Destroy You”) and Elizabeth Olsen (“WandaVision”).

SEE ‘Genius: Aretha’ Emmy interviews: Watch our in-depth chats with Cynthia Erivo, Courtney B. Vance …

Weaver’s project, “Secrets of the Whales,” takes viewers on an intimate journey through whale culture, including deep dives into their communication skills and intricate social structures. The four-episode program debuted in April. In the Best Narrator Emmy category, Weaver faces off against David Attenborough twice (“A Perfect Planet” and “The Year Earth Changed”), Anthony Hopkins (“Mythic Quest”) and Sterling K. Brown (“Lincoln: Divided We Stand”).

Last year Nat Geo took home these five Emmys at the Creative Arts ceremony: exceptional merit in documentary filmmaking and cinematography for “The Cave,” short form nonfiction series and individual achievement in animation for “Cosmos: Creating Possible Worlds” and cinematography for “Life Below Zero.”

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