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Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Emmys ceremonies from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Emmy predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.

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(DRAFT>>>PRE-SEASON>>>REGULAR SEASON>>>POST SEASON)

2021 EMMYS PREDICTIONS:
OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY OR NONFICTION SERIES

UPDATED: Aug 26, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: The world watched Fran Lebowitz sit down with Oscar and Emmy-winning master filmmaker Martin Scorsese for Netflix’s “Pretend It’s a City,” and the result was glorious. For seven episodes, and with the added colorful personalities of Alec Baldwin, Spike Lee and Olivia Wilde, the streaming series captured the hearts and minds of cinephiles and TV addicts alike. It could be a no-brainer for voters.

“Allen v. Farrow,” the four-part look at the years of sexual abuse accusations against filmmaker Woody Allen really split the audience. On the one hand, it was a coup to get Mia Farrow and Dylan Farrow to share so much of themselves, including home movies; on the other, some cried “witch hunt.” For several weeks, pundits anointed this series the front-runner; however, the divide between “believing” and “coercing” is incredibly present and toxic at the moment. As a result, it may be too divisive to win the overall votes.

“American Masters,” the long-running series from legendary executive producer Susan Lacy, started its run in 1985, picking up 27 Emmy awards in the almost four decades since. Its last win in this category came in 2014, but coincidentally that was also the last time before this year that the series picked up multiple noms. (In 2021 it’s also on the music composition ballot.) Perhaps that’s a sign of good things to come.

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Courtesy of National Geographic

Originally conceiving “City So Real” as a feature film, director Steve James of the masterpiece “Hoop Dreams” (1994) and his son Jackson and producing partner Zak Piper had more than enough to develop a full-blown series. The decision to pivot in that way certainly paid off, earning recognition at the Independent Spirit Awards in addition to picking up two noms from the Television Academy (the other being for cinematography). This series could play spoiler in September.

Nature and animal documentaries are far too undervalued and underappreciated in all facets of awards recognition. Three-time Oscar-nominee and four-time Emmy nominee (including a narrator nom this year) Sigourney Weaver adds a shine that pushes “Secrets of the Whales” a bit forward in the conversation. That this title has another nom (for cinematography) should increase its chances, but unfortunately, that likely won’t be enough. It feels as if few people see the urgency and dedication in creating these series, which makes this one a long shot for the win.

The viewing platform for Emmy nominees opens on Aug. 13, with final-round voting beginning on Aug. 19 at 9 a.m. PT until Aug. 30 at 10 p.m. PT.

Check out the full rankings of the category’s nominees in the chart below.


ALL SUBMISSIONS & RANKINGS:

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Despite having teeth, belugas do not chew their food. They rip up prey into pieces and swallow them whole. (National Geographic for Disney+/Peter Kragh) National Geographic/Peter Kragh

 


2021 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

About the Primetime Emmy Awards (Emmys)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, is given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards recognize excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes - Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements) and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors and various artisans and executives.

  • The 73rd Emmy Awards are scheduled to air on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 8:00 pm est on CBS and on-demand on sister streamer Paramount Plus.