HBO, which has won the Emmy for Best Documentary Filmmaking a total of ten times, did not have a contender this year for the award, making this only the second time in the category’s 19-year history that this has happened. The same can be said about Netflix, which triumphed in 2018 with “Strong Island” despite HBO’s absence from the competition. As a consequence of this, there is a tremendous lot of pressure on two of the 2023 entries:
“The Accused-Damned or Devoted?,” which has the potential to deliver PBS its second straight and sixth overall filmmaking award, and “The Territory,” which would make National Geographic’s “The Territory” the third National Geographic property to win in this category.
The juried nature of the documentary filmmaking award sets it apart from the majority of the other Emmys. This means that once each entry is exclusively assessed by members of the Television Academy’s peer group for documentaries, it must have unanimous support from those individuals in order to be formally recognized as deserving of a win. Because of this, the four programs that are now being considered for the prize are not competing against each other for the accolade, which means that any one of them or all of them might wind up being the winner. It is prudent to assume that there will be only one winner each year given that the category record of two wins in the same year has only been achieved four times.
Let’s take a closer look at each of this year’s entries, one at a time, so that we can figure out which one of them has the best possibility of being selected as the winner. Make sure to stop by our predictions center to give us your thoughts on this and the other 29 Creative Arts Emmy categories so we can share them with the world.
“The Accused-Damned or Devoted?” is the question. (PBS)
The sixth film by Pakistani-Canadian director Mohammed Ali Naqvi centers on the Islamic extremist Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who, prior to his death in 2020, devoted his energies to preserving Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Rizvi is portrayed as a far-right figure in the film. The documentary follows Imran Khan’s campaign in 2018 to become the prime minister of Pakistan. It also sheds light on Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian lady whose blasphemy case was ultimately determined by the supreme court of Pakistan.
“Aftershock” can be found on Hulu
This documentary, which was co-directed and produced by Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee, focuses attention to the extremely important topic of black maternal mortality by concentrating on two women, Shamony Gibson and Amber Rose Isaac, whose deaths in 2019 and 2020 from difficulties during labor may have been avoided. The filmmakers make it obvious that this is a full-fledged catastrophe that all Americans should address by making linkages between the victims and their families (who have since come together as activists).
“Last Flight Home” (owned and operated by Paramount+)
Writer-director-producer Ondi Timoner and producer David Turner collaborated to tell the tale of how Eli Timoner, an entrepreneur, made the decision to take advantage of California’s End of Life Option Act in the beginning of 2021, just after he became 92 years old. Eli Timoner’s daughter, Ondi Timoner, worked with David Turner. Within the span of nearly two hours, Timoner provides viewers with a comprehensive picture of who her father was and the reasons why he had every right to go out on his own terms. At the same time, she draws attention to the reality that assisted suicide is still against the law in forty states.
The National Geographic article “The Territory”
Alex Pritz was nominated for an Emmy for both directing and cinematography for this 85-minute documentary that he shared with Tangi Uru-eu-wau-wau. The latter nomination was shared with Tangi Uru-eu-wau-wau. The documentary was co-produced by Darren Aronofsky. It follows a young Indigenous Amazonian leader named Bitaté Uru-eu-wau-wau, who is compelled to defend his people’s jungle territory as it is endangered by Brazilian farmers. Filming took place between 2018 and 2020, and the film is set to release in 2022.
In light of this, which program has the best shot at bringing home the Emmy in 2023 for Outstanding Documentary Filmmaking? This prize is supposed to celebrate “moving and indelible work that elevates the art of documentary filmmaking,” as stated in the regulations of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and it is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind that those who judge these entries do so from a strictly artistic stance. In addition, the rules of the Academy make it plain that this award is meant to honor “work that elevates the art of documentary filmmaking.” In order to be considered for this award, the work in question must not only be entertaining and of high production value, but it must also blow the minds of each and every member of the jury by delivering a powerful message in a way that exemplifies exceptional inventiveness.
Both “Aftershock” and “Last Flight Home” present considerable challenges, particularly now that HBO is absent from the competition. This is because a number of films addressing various aspects of medical awareness have previously been commercial success in this market. It’s also possible that “The Accused” will be honored with the other religious and Middle Eastern-focused works that have been recognized in the past, but it’s more likely that the jury will go for something generally new (as they typically do) by selecting “The Territory.”
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