2023 Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special


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 2023 Emmys race. The nomination round of voting takes place from June 15 to June 26, with the official Emmy nominations announced Wednesday, July 12. Afterward, final voting commences August 17 and ends the night of August 28. The 75th annual Primetime Emmy Awards will now take place Monday, January 15, live on Fox at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

See our previous thoughts on what to expect at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards here.

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The State of the Race

This year, Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special has been one of those Emmy races where the writing has been on the wall from the beginning, with “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” rocketing toward the front of the line after its Sundance premiere. The subject not only is refreshingly revelatory and inspiring, he also is known for being one the TV Academy’s most decorated actors, with four wins for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, plus a Guest Actor Emmy for a stint on “Rescue Me.”

That said, HBO has done a bang-up job with its awards strategy for “Being Mary Tyler Moore.” The Lena Waithe-produced film premiered at the very end of the eligibility window, without running a huge campaign, or having a major film festival as a launchpad, and still secured a nomination. Since then, the creative team has been full speed ahead in getting the word out, even through FYC events. Plus, its subject was a favorite of the TV Academy too in her time.

While “My Transparent Life” faces an uphill battle without a true network home to fund its awards push, “Judy Blume Forever” and “Pamela: A Love Story” have Prime Video and Netflix behind them, respectively. Both films, each a portrait of a pop culture icon, were buzzy right as Emmy campaigns started to get going, and being nominated means there is always still a chance they could win, but they do seem to have lost the most momentum in the last leg of this Documentary Special Emmy race.

Power Rankings:

  1. “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” (Apple TV+)

  2. “Being Mary Tyler Moore” (HBO)

  3. “Judy Blume Forever” (Prime Video)

  4. “Pamela: A Love Story” (Netflix)

  5. “My Transparent Life” (Prime Video)

Will Win: “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie”
Could Win:
“Being Mary Tyler Moore”
Should Win:
“Judy Blume Forever”

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

To see IndieWire’s full set of predictions for the 75th Emmy Awards click here.

Last Year’s Winner: “George Carlin’s American Dream”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: Judd Apatow’s George Carlin documentary started what could be a new winning streak for HBO in the category (the last one was from 2018 through 2020). This year, the premium cable network has a similarly promising contender in “Being Mary Tyler Moore.”
Notable Ineligible Series: “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” (ineligible as a 2023 Oscar nominee); “All That Breathes” (ineligible as a 2023 Oscar nominee); “Fire of Love” (ineligible as a 2023 Oscar nominee)

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