PBS, CNN lead 2021 News and Doc Emmy Awards nominations

Netflix’s Athlete A, Tania Cypriano’s Born to Be, Showtime’s The Trade and Once Upon A Time In Iraq (pictured) from PBS’s ‘Frontline’ are just a few of the films in ...
July 29, 2021

Netflix’s Athlete A, Tania Cypriano’s Born to Be, Showtime’s The Trade and Once Upon A Time In Iraq (pictured) from PBS’s ‘Frontline’ are just a few of the films in contention for Best Documentary at the 42nd annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards.

Nominees for the News and Documentary Emmys were announced Tuesday (July 27) by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS).

The 2021 awards recognize programming from more than 2,200 submissions that originally premiered in 2020, judged by a pool of more than 800 professionals from the news and doc industry across TV and streaming/digital.

Also up for the Best Documentary honor are Belly of the Beast from PBS strand ‘Independent Lens’ and Advocate from PBS strand ‘POV.’

The American pubcaster picked up the most nominations overall with 52 nods, followed by CNN with 41, CBS with 30, ABC with 22, Vice with 20 and The New York Times with 19.

Univision earned 15 nominations, while Netflix and HBO tied at 13. MSNBC picked up eight, followed by Nat Geo and Showtime with seven each. Telemundo secured six nominations and NBC five.

The 2021 awards will be presented in two individual ceremonies. News categories will be unveiled Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and documentary categories on Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Each ceremony will be streamed live on NATAS’ dedicated viewing platform powered by Vimeo.

“In the unprecedented year of 2020, where a global health crisis had challenged our safety and survival and a presidential election shook the very bedrock of our democracy, these news and documentary professionals delivered the crucial, clear and factual reporting that gave us the tools and knowledge necessary to make the informed decisions that affected our everyday lives and indeed, our futures,” said Adam Sharp, president and CEO, NATAS, in a release.

Additional documentary nominees are below. To see the full list of nominees, click here.

Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary

Father Soldier Son (Netflix)
United States of Conspiracy (PBS ‘Frontline’)
Inside Italy’s COVID War (PBS ‘Frontline’)
Stockton on My Mind (HBO Documentary Films/HBO)
Belly of the Beast (PBS ‘Independent Lens’)
The Trade (Showtime)

Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary

Kingdom of Silence (Showtime)
Advocate (PBS ‘POV’)
Softie (PBS ‘POV’)
The Perfect Weapon (HBO)
The Way I See It (MSNBC)

Outstanding Social Issue Documentary

Rewind (PBS ‘Independent Lens’)
Not Done: Women Remaking America (PBS)
The Rescue List (PBS ‘POV’)
This Ain’t Normal (VOD)
With Drawn Arms (Starz)

Outstanding Investigative Documentary

Athlete A (Netflix)
Finding Yingying (Pluto TV)
Return from ISIS (PBS ‘Frontline’)
Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Election (HBO Documentary Films/HBO)
Agent of Chaos (HBO Documentary FIlms/HBO)

Outstanding Historical Documentary

Challenger: The Final Flight (Netflix)
John Lewis: Good Trouble (CNN Films/CNN)
Once Upon A Time In Iraq (PBS ‘Frontline’)
The Art of Political Murder (HBO Documentary FIlms/HBO)
Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn (HBO Documentary FIlms/HBO)

Outstanding Arts and Culture Documentary

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (CNN Films/CNN)
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (PBS)
Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado (Netflix)
Our Time Machine (PBS ‘POV’)
The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show (Peacock)

Outstanding Science and Technology Documentary

Connected: The Hidden Science of Everything (Netflix)
Ken Burns Presents The Gene: An Intimate History (PBS)
Human Nature (PBS ‘Nova’)
Pandemic (Netflix)
Secrets of the Solar System, “Mars” (CuriosityStream)
The Surgeon’s Cut  (Netflix)

Outstanding Nature Documentary

Jade Eyed Leopard (National Geographic Wild)
Jane Goodall: The Hope (National Geographic)
Cuba’s Wild Revolution (PBS ‘Nature’)
Nature’s Fear Factor (PBS ‘Nova’)
The Last Ice (National Geographic)

Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary

Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer (CNN Films/CNN)
Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos (PBS ‘Frontline)
Opioids, Inc. (PBS ‘Frontline,’ in partnership with Financial Times)
31 Days in March: The Month Coronavirus Unraveled American Business (Wall Street Journal)
Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller, “Scams” (National Geographic)
Building the American Dream (PBS ‘Voces’)

Outstanding Direction: Documentary

Born To Be (VOD)
Inside Italy’s COVID War (PBS ‘Frontline’)
Belly of the Beast (PBS ‘Independent Lens’)
Rewind (PBS ‘Independent Lens’)
The Trade (Showtime)

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is the Associate Editor at Realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.