PBS and Netflix led the way for documentary winners in the 42nd annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards on Wednesday (Sept. 29).
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented PBS with 10 awards at this year’s Emmys, far and away the most of any over-the-air, cable, satellite or Internet broadcaster. Netflix followed with four victories, Showtime won three, and Discovery, HBO and National Geographic each took one award.
Advocate (pictured), a documentary that aired on PBS’s ‘POV’ strand on the work of a Jewish-Israeli human rights lawyer representing Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli courts, won the overall best documentary award. ‘POV’ was also successful in picking up the outstanding short documentary award for The Love Bugs, and the outstanding social issue documentary award for The Rescue List.
PBS’s other documentary series were big winners too on Wednesday. ‘Independent Lens’ won outstanding current affairs documentary for Belly of the Beast and outstanding research for Feels Good Man. Meanwhile, ‘Frontline’ won outstanding historical documentary for Once Upon a Time in Iraq and outstanding business and economic documentary for Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos.
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool also picked up a pair of wins for PBS for outstanding arts and culture documentary and best sound.
Netflix was the next most successful broadcaster, picking up four awards including outstanding investigative documentary for Athlete A, and outstanding science and technology documentary for The Surgeon’s Cut.
Also at the event, Showtime’s Kingdom of Silence was recognized by the Emmys for outstanding politics and government documentary, while The Last Ice from National Geographic won outstanding nature documentary. The Trade from Showtime picked up a pair of awards as well, winning for both outstanding direction (Matthew Heineman) and outstanding cinematography.
The awards were chosen from submissions that originally premiered in 2020, judged by a pool of 950 peer professionals from around the TV and streaming/digital media news & documentary industry. The ceremony was hosted by documentary filmmakers June Cross (Secret Daughter), CJ Hunt (The Neutral Ground) and Sonja Sohn (The Slow Hustle).
Originally, Carlos Watson, CEO and co-founder of Ozy Media was slated to host the ceremony, but he pulled out earlier this week in the wake of an unflattering New York Times profile of the company, with a spokesperson for the event saying Watson didn’t wish to “distract the focus from the talented nominees in the documentary categories of the 42nd News & Documentary Emmy Awards.”
A full list of winners can be found on the News and Documentary Emmys website here.