Back to IndieWire

Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special

As the Emmys filter what belongs in the Best Documentary or Nonfiction Special category, films like "Lucy and Desi" stand out.


“Lucy and Desi”

Library of Congress/Amazon Studios

Last Year’s Winner: “Boys State”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: Last year Apple TV+ won its first Emmy in the category, ending a three-year streak HBO had going for it.
Notable Ineligible Series: “Summer of Soul,” “Attica,” and “Writing With Fire” (all of which are ineligible for the Emmys after pursuing Oscars earlier this year)

This article will be updated throughout the season, along with all our predictions, so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for the latest news from the 2022 Emmys race. The nomination round of voting will take place from June 16 to June 27, with the official Emmy nominations to be announced on Tuesday, July 12. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be given out over two consecutive nights on Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4, with an edited presentation on the ceremonies to be broadcast on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 8:00 p.m. ET on FXX. Finally, the 74rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, September 12, and air live on NBC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Special has become a fluid category for a variety of reasons. First, there is also a juried category called Exceptional Merit In Documentary Filmmaking that gets a decent amount of submissions from worthy films. For example, buzzy Netflix doc “Dick Johnson is Dead” was nominated in that category last year. Next, despite what it says on the Hulu FYC site, the TV Academy still has it in their rules that any film that was in Oscars contention cannot be considered for an Emmy, so goodbye to “Summer of Soul.”

What is left are quite a few artist-focused projects, whether it is the continued horrors in “Controlling Britney Spears,” a look back at comedy pioneers “Lucy and Desi” in action, “Insecure: The End,” or new beginnings with “And Just Like That…: The Documentary.”

The showiest was probably “Janet Jackson,” a major event for Lifetime, but “Phoenix Rising” was also as newsworthy as it was harrowing.

Current Contenders (In Alphabetical Order):
“9/11: Inside the President’s War Room” (Apple TV+)
“And Just Like That…: The Documentary” (HBO Max)
“Changing The Game” (Hulu)
Controlling Britney Spears” (FX)
“Downfall: The Case Against Boeing” (Netflix)
“Fauci” (National Geographic)
“Fin” (Discovery+)
“Homeroom” (Hulu)
“Insecure: The End” (HBO)
“Janet Jackson.” (Lifetime)
“Keeping Company With Sondheim” (PBS)
Lucy and Desi” (Amazon Prime Video)
“Phoenix Rising” (HBO)
“Sheryl” (Showtime)
“Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off” (HBO)

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Awards and tagged , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox