DOCUMENTARY OR NONFICTION SERIES
100 Foot Wave (HBO)
Chris Smith’s program about big-wave surfers is nominated for the second consecutive year (it won for cinematography last year). Season two features half as many episodes but still earned six noms — twice as many as the category’s next highest finishers.
The 1619 Project (Hulu)
Nikole Hannah-Jones and Oprah Winfrey exec produced this adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning New York Times feature about the role of racism in U.S. history. While certainly hitting the zeitgeist, it’s one of only two nominees without a directing or writing nom.
Dear Mama (FX/Hulu)
Allen Hughes’ series shares never-before-released audio and video of Tupac Shakur and his mom. Having bowed in May, more recently than any other nominee, it has a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score but is tied for a category low of two noms (its other one is for writing).
Secrets of the Elephants (Nat Geo)
This project, exec produced by James Cameron, depicts elephants in Africa and Asia, with beautiful cinematography and narration by Natalie Portman. It is tied for a category-low two noms and is the other nominee without a directing or writing nom.
The U.S. and the Holocaust (PBS)
The latest from Ken Burns, a five-time Emmy winner, features interviews with survivors and historians, archival footage and narration from Meryl Streep. It has a perfect RT score and is the only nominee with both directing and writing noms.
DOCUMENTARY OR NONFICTION SPECIAL
Being Mary Tyler Moore (HBO)
This look at a TV trailblazer’s life could follow three other specials about showbiz legends that won this award the past decade. It debuted May 26, making it the category’s most recently released nominee, but this is its lone nom.
Judy Blume Forever (Prime Video)
The author is at the center of this imaginative doc, which premiered at Sundance, then dropped on Amazon the week before the release of the Blume-adapted film Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Its only other nom is for directing.
My Transparent Life (Prime Video)
Serena DC and Miko Allyn Quinones’ film chronicles the journey of two transgender Angelenos. Trans issues are being hotly discussed, but the doc dropped longer ago than any other nominee (in October), and this is its only nom.
Pamela, a Love Story (Netflix)
Nineties icon Pamela Anderson reclaims her story in this Ryan White-directed doc that counts her son, Brandon Thomas Lee, among its producers. But its only other nom is for its dramatic score, a troubling sign.
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie (Apple TV+)
The Parkinson’s-afflicted actor is the focus of the latest doc from Davis Guggenheim. It bowed at Sundance and went on to seven noms, easily the most of its fellow nominees this year, and has a category-high 99 percent on RT.
This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.