Eclectic category honors memorable projects

“American Experience”
PBS
Emmy pedigree: Two wins, plus one previous nom
Best scene: In Ric Burns’ “Into the Deep: America, Whaling and the World,” the Essex is rammed in 1820 by a sperm whale twice as long as the ship, sending 20 sailors onto lifeboats, where they eventually resort to cannibalism.
Why it might win: A striking range of documentaries eloquently explores the national identity, character and culture that makes us American.
Maybe not: They cover such a variety of subject matter and cinematic styles that voters might not recognize them as a single series.

“American Masters”
PBS
Emmy pedigree: Five wins, plus two previous noms
Best scene: “The Doors: When You’re Strange” induces a surreal mood around late singer Jim Morrison, blending dreamlike Doors songs with impressionistic ’60s experimental film footage of Morrison traveling down a desert highway.
Why it might win: Its portraits smartly gauge our cultural landscape from 19th-century novelist Louisa May Alcott to modern architecture’s I.M. Pei to drug-fueled rock ‘n’ roll.
Maybe not: A dramatic field of fellow contenders might squeeze out artsy bios this time.

“Deadliest Catch”
Discovery
Emmy pedigree: Four previous noms
Best scene: In “No Second Chance,” the Wizard crew is swamped by a huge wave that causes major injuries, embodying both the story’s life-and-death stakes and the production crew’s skill under fire.
Why it might win: It’s the epitome of docuseries drama where real-life proves more thrilling than fiction.
Maybe not: Emmy hasn’t shown much love for cable “reality” series.

“Life”
Discovery
Emmy pedigree: First nom
Best scene: Three cheetah brothers hunt together to stunningly bring down an ostrich that’s twice as heavy, demonstrating teamwork not previously known to man.
Why it might win: The only thing more impressive than the BBC nature unit’s eye-popping global photography might be its shooters’ patience in lingering for days to capture unseen animal activities.
Maybe not: Discovery clumsily replaced revered naturalist David Attenborough’s British narration with Oprah Winfrey’s American simplification.

“Monty Python: Almost the Truth”
IFC
Emmy pedigree: First nom
Best scene: The BBC’s bizarre attempts to censor the cheeky comedy of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” manage to confuse a severed leg with a penis and rose wine for menstrual fluid. Later, the memorial service for Graham Chapman turns into a boisterous affair with irreverent reminiscences by fellow Pythons John Cleese and Michael Palin.
Why it might win: This loving and loony portrait evokes why the Pythons loom as the most revered comedy icons of the past two generations, influencing everything from standup to “South Park.”
Maybe not: They were so far out of the mainstream, they’re still out of the mainstream.

“The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”
PBS
Emmy pedigree: First nom
Best scene: Mountain prophet John Muir lyrically preaches the 19th-century gospel of Yosemite, introducing the notion that natural beauty should be accessible to all American citizens, not just the wealthy.
Why it might win: It’s practically patriotic voting for “America’s Best Idea,” especially when it looks so gorgeous and feels so profound.
Maybe not: Burns isn’t the slam dunk one might think in this category. He did win for his epics “The Civil War” and “Baseball,” but not for “Jazz” or “The War.”

RELATED LINKS
Can reality fix mix? | Pythons, Burns compete for nonfiction prize | ‘Race’ winning streak is downright amazing | ‘Boss’ tries to muscle reality competish | Keoghan only reality host winner

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more
Post A Comment 0