“Boys State,” the Apple TV+ documentary film directed and produced by Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine, won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special on Sunday afternoon.
The documentary special, which premiered on Apple’s streaming service in August 2020, followed a group of teenage boys in Texas who created a representative government. Apple’s official synopsis for the documentary reads:
“‘Boys State’ is a wildly entertaining and continually revealing immersion into a week-long annual program in which a thousand Texas high school seniors gather for an elaborate mock exercise: building their own state government. Filmmakers Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine closely track the escalating tensions that arise within a particularly riveting gubernatorial race, training their cameras on unforgettable teenagers like Ben, a Reagan-loving arch-conservative who brims with confidence despite personal setbacks, and Steven, a progressive-minded child of Mexican immigrants who stands by his convictions amidst the sea of red. In the process, they have created a complex portrait of contemporary American masculinity, as well as a microcosm of our often dispiriting national political divisions that nevertheless manages to plant seeds of hope.”
“Boys State” competed with HBO’s “The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” FX’s “The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears,” Netflix’s “The Social Dilemma,” and HBO’s “Tina” for the Emmy.
The Apple TV+ documentary received strong reviews from critics, including IndieWire’s Eric Kohn, who praised the title for its insights into the American political system in his grade B review in 2020.
“Juggling several mini-profiles over the course of an election cycle that gets dirty, ‘Boys State’ goes a little too soft on its subjects, attempting a balanced perspective at a moment that demands more partisan insight,” Kohn said in his review. “Nevertheless, it manages to capture the systematic forces behind American leadership, and why it always seems like such an uphill challenge to put the good guys in charge.”
The 73rd Primetime Emmys will air on Sunday, September 19 on CBS at 8 p.m. ET. The three-hour event will be hosted by Cedric the Entertainer and, for the first time, be available to stream on Paramount+. Check out IndieWire’s Emmy predictions to get the scoop on which series and stars are expected to win big throughout the event. Follow IndieWire on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Emmys news, including live updates, as the virtual awards ceremony airs Sunday night.