Nonfiction

Earlier this year, Bertram van Munster earned a Directors Guild Award for his work on “The Amazing Race,” but can he speed past the king of documentaries, Ken Burns?

This year’s nonfiction directing category brings together an eclectic group of nominees, mixing fashion designers and world racers intent on winning a grand prize with documentary filmmakers telling moving stories of World War II veterans, poignant tales of autistic children transformed through theater and even a series centering on small slices of Americana.

Under the direction of van Munster, “Amazing Race” has dominated the reality competition program category. His visually stunning series has such a grand scale, it’s easy to understand why it has captured the reality show crown five years in a row.

“This American Life,” which began as an innovative public radio program, is to be appreciated for the nuanced approach taken by directors Christopher Wilcha and Adam Beckman.

“Project Runway” has a Peabody Award to prove that a competition show featuring fashion designers and models has just as much substance as style.

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick have been the royal couple of documentaries since “The Civil War.” Their expansive miniseries “The War” may have ambled at the same speed as a garden snail, but it captured the attention of critics across the country.

“Autism: The Musical,” which has been garnering film festival awards and rave reviews, has been earning enough good will around the country to mount a challenge.

NOMINEES

Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, “The War” (“Pride of Our Nation”) (PBS)

Bertram van Munster, “The Amazing Race” (“Honestly, They Have Witch Powers or Something”) (CBS)

Tricia Regan, “Autism: The Musical” (HBO)

Tony Sacco, “Project Runway” (“En Garde”) (Bravo)

Christopher Wilcha, Adam Beckman, “This American Life” (“Escape”) (Showtime)

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