2023 Emmy Awards Predictions for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series

Outstanding documentary or fiction series have become increasingly difficult Emmy categories to crack, but both traditional contenders like PBS and newer ones like Peacock boast interesting projects.

Consider this

We’ll be updating this article with all of our predictions throughout the season, so be sure to check IndieWire for the latest news on the 2023 Emmys. The nomination round of voting runs from June 15 to June 26, with the official Emmy nominations announced on Wednesday, July 12. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be presented over two consecutive nights on Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10. an edited presentation of the ceremonies that will air on FXX at a later date. Finally, the 75th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, September 18 and will air live on FOX at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT.

State of the species

Documentary series are all the rage these days, so the Emmy category has become extremely competitive for them. Famous non-fiction filmmakers Liz Gabrus (“What Happened, Miss Simone?”) and RJ Cutler (“The September Issue”) compete with “Harry & Meghan” (Netflix) and “Murf the Surf” . (MGM+), or However, “American Movie” director Chris Smith is at his best with Season 2 of HBO’s “100 Foot Wave.”

The debut season of the show, which follows world-class surfers conquering extreme waves in Portugal, earned Emmy nominations alongside top projects in the category, such as eventual winner “The Beatles: Get Back” from the Oscars. winner Peter Jackson and Kanye West’s long-awaited ‘Jeen-yuhs’ documentary. With Season 2 coming in the spring, “100 Foot Wave” may have had its time to shine.

As for the other contenders, from networks and filmmakers that don’t make it to the Emmys category that often, one of Hulu’s latest collaborations with the New York Times, “The 1619 Project,” did particularly well with audiences in February. “Paul T. Goldman” Peacock’s gonzo documentaries about a man trying to play himself in a movie based on a book he wrote have opened up the NBCUniversal-owned streaming service to a much more unconventional but genuinely new audience.

PBS and National Geographic, sort of the OGs of the category, also have strong contenders in “The United States and the Holocaust” and “Secrets of the Elephants,” respectively, from creators who recently won the category. And more series like Netflix’s “Chimp Empire” are still sure to premiere and find an audience as the Emmy eligibility period ends at the end of May.

Current contestants (in alphabetical order):
“100 Foot Wave” (HBO)
“The 1619 Project” (Hulu)
Boys in Blue (showtime)
“Chimp Empire” (Netflix)
“Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All” (Disney+)
Harry and Meghan (Netflix)
“The Last Movie Stars” (HBO Max)
“The Murdaugh Murders: Southern Scandal” (Netflix)
“Murf the Surf” (MGM+)
“Music Box” (HBO)
“Paul T. Goldman” (Peacock)
“Prehistoric Planet” (Apple TV+)
“Secrets of Elephants” (National Geographic)
“The United States and the Holocaust” (PBS)
The Vow (HBO)

Additional category predictions:
Excellent animation program
Excellent series of talks
Excellent Scripted Variety series
Outstanding documentary or educational film

Click here for IndieWire’s full predictions for the 75th Emmy Awards.

Last year’s winner: “The Beatles: Come Back”
Still eligible: No.
Hot Streaks: Disney TV has won this category three years in a row, with Disney+ projects in the last two years. Even if a streaming service project doesn’t quite pan out, Disney can still claim a win for Hulu or National Geographic as its own.
Notable Non-Eligible Series: “Presented by the New York Times” (individual submissions as documentaries or educational specials)

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