2024 Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special

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We will update this article throughout the season, along with all our predictions, so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for the latest news from the 2024 Emmys race. The nomination round of voting takes place from June 13 to June 24, with the official Emmy nominations announced Wednesday, July 17. Afterwards, final voting commences on August 15 and ends the night of August 26. The 76th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards are set to take place on Sunday, September 15, and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

The State of the Race

Interestingly enough, film festivals have begun to play a role in the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special Emmy race as much as they do with the Best Documentary Feature Oscar race. For instance, three out of five of the last winners premiered at the annual Sundance Film Festival—the same festival some of this year’s biggest contenders premiered at.

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The examples include “Girls State,” a major contender for Apple TV+, as its predecessor “Boys State” won the Emmy in 2021, and Netflix’s “The Greatest Night in Pop,” which chronicles the making of Grammy-winning smash hit “We Are the World.”

The Toronto International Film Festival was another launchpad for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special contenders like “In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon” from MGM+ and “Sly” from Netflix. Those also happen to be projects profiling entertainment icons, which is a genre of nonfiction storytelling that this category has celebrated a lot recently. Other projects that fit that bill include “Steve! (Martin) A Documentary in 2 Pieces” on Apple TV+, “Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story” on Prime Video, and “Jim Henson Idea Man” on Disney+.

As for some more unconventional contenders, comparing them to last season’s nominees, there’s “Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed” on HBO, which is analogous to “Being Mary Tyler Moore” from the same network. “The Greatest Love Story Never Told” on Amazon Prime Video, providing insight on Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s marriage, definitely can be compared to “Pamela, a Love Story” from Netflix last year. And Amazon Prime Video’s “For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign” is a dark horse in the Emmy race, akin to last season’s surprise nominee “My Transparent Life.”

Current Contenders (In Alphabetical Order):
“Albert Brooks: Defending My Life” (HBO)
“The Beach Boys” (Disney+)
“For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign” (Prime Video)
“Girls State” (Apple TV+)
“The Greatest Love Story Never Told” (Prime Video)
“The Greatest Night in Pop” (Netflix)
“In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon” (MGM+)
“Jim Henson Idea Man” (Disney+)
“Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story” (Prime Video)
“Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed” (HBO)
“Sly” (Netflix)
“Spermworld” (FX)
“Steve! (Martin) A Documentary in 2 Pieces” (Apple TV+)
“Wham!” (Netflix)
“While We Watched” (PBS)

More Category Predictions:
Outstanding Animated Program
Outstanding Talk Series
Outstanding Scripted Variety Series
Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series

View IndieWire’s full set of predictions for the 76th Emmy Awards.

Last Year’s Winner: “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: Should “Girls State” specifically win this category, it would not only be two Emmys in a row for Apple TV+, but it would be another win for the filmmakers, who made the project as a follow up to “Boys State,” the Emmy-winning documentary from 2020.
Notable Ineligible Series: “20 Days in Mariupol” (ineligible as a 2024 Oscar nominee); “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” (ineligible as a 2024 Oscar nominee); “The Eternal Memory” (ineligible as a 2024 Oscar nominee); “To Kill a Tiger” (ineligible as a 2024 Oscar nominee); “Power” (the film was not submitted for Emmys consideration); “Federer: Twelve Final Days” (the film will not premiere in time to be eligible); “I Am: Celine Dion” (the film will not premiere in time to be eligible)

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