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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.

To see all the latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit THE EMMYS COLLECTIVE
Visit each individual category, according to the awards show from THE EMMYS HUB
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(DRAFT>>>PRE-SEASON>>>REGULAR SEASON>>>POST SEASON)

2021 EMMYS PREDICTIONS:
OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY SPECIAL

UPDATED: Aug 26, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: From co-directors Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, the Oscar winners of “Undefeated” (2011) and Emmy winners of “LA 92” (2017), comes a new portrait of Grammy-winner Tina Turner. Finally, female empowerment is getting a laser focus from creators and artists, and that narrative, combined with the cachet of this dynamic duo, could have more than just her diehard fans checking this ballot box.

With the #FreeBritney movement in the headlines as iconic pop singer Spears is seeking freedom from her controversial conservatorship from her father, the discussion is likely to have a positive effect on the “Framing Britney Spears” installment of “The New York Times Presents” cable series. The exclusive access into her life, aided by the ability to elevate her as a woman and artist, is profound on its own, but the constant conversation only ensures this title is top of mind when marking ballots.

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Lennox Mclendon/AP

Now with four Emmy nominations to his credit, legendary producer and director Frank Marshall infused his passion for music and storytelling techniques into a biographical exploration of The Bee Gees. Utilizing interviews with Barry Gibb, the oldest brother of the sibling singing group, and archival footage featuring the late Robin and Maurice, the HBO feature speaks to a specific demographic of the TV Academy that has dominated the industry for decades. We could see the clash of the music docs in this space.

“Boys State” was a magnificent streaming doc that made the Oscars’ shortlist of 15 films earlier in 2021, but failed to make the five nominees for doc feature. That allowed it to submit to the Emmys, but unfortunately, that might create a bias against it with Television Academy voters who want to celebrate titles that more fully embrace being labeled a television project from the jump. If that proves true, it would be a shame, as it’s the best of the bunch.

The irony of Jeff Orlowski’s feature “The Social Dilemma,” which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and astutely explored the dangers of social networking but then garnered a huge following with social networks, is almost too much to handle in this tumultuous time. It also navigated the film awards scene first, even picking up a major recognition from BAFTA, which could affect its trajectory here. But because TV Academy voters nominated it in multiple categories (seven overall, including nonfiction program writing and directing), they seem to be more willing to celebrate it than others in a similar position.

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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Britney Spears arriving at the MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY, USA, on August 28, 2016. Photo by Sipa USA Sipa USA USA

 


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.