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Emmy reality TV nominations: some surprises (Nailed It!, Marie Kondo), lots of familiarity

Emmy reality TV nominations: some surprises (Nailed It!, Marie Kondo), lots of familiarity
Nailed It! host Nicole Byer in season 3, episode 1 (Photo by Adam Rose/Netflix)

The Television Academy announced its nominations for the 71st prime-time Emmy awards, and the reality TV categories are, as usual, sprinkled with some surprises but are overwhelmingly disappointing: an ongoing sign that the members of the Academy aren’t actually watching all of the exceptional unscripted content there is.

Nailed It! was nominated for reality competition, which is excellent news, as is the nomination for Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler as reality hosts for NBC’s Making It.

However, the reality competition category’s only change was Nailed It!a wonderful show!—which replaced Project Runway.

That Project Runway was snubbed here is crazy: it’s been nominated every single year since 2005, for a total of 14 times, and never won. It just aired its best, most creatively invigorating, watchable season in years and that’s the year it doesn’t get a nomination?

Meanwhile, out of the 81 possible hosts, the Television Academy nominated four new hosts—a big change.

One is James Corden, who hosted The World’s Best, though I’m pretty confident in saying it was probably because they recognized him, not because of the show, which was, to be kind, a pile of steaming, cynical, format-stealing garbage.

That is also probably why Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler were nominated, though in this case I’m not aggrieved because they were so wonderful and charming together in Making It. They basically made the show.

However, I don’t even know where to start with Marie Kondo being nominated as “host” of her Netflix series. She’s great, so is the show—but is she really hosting?

In other news, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars got its first-ever nomination for the editing of the “Jersey Justice” episode.

Shark Tank was nominated for casting, bumping Project Runway from the category; it’s the third year that award will be given out.

The absolutely outstanding series America to Me got zero nominations, which is really sad.

Of course, of all the reality shows eligible to receive nominations, very few did.

Here are those shows. I’ve included nominees for key reality TV, unscripted, and documentary categories. For the full list, including names and also for categories that may include reality show nominees (such as makeup), see the Emmy’s nomination PDF.

Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Competition Program

Making It, Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman
Making It hosts Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC)
  1. James Corden, The World’s Best
  2. Ellen DeGeneres, Ellen’s Game Of Games
  3. Marie Kondo, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo
  4. Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, Making It
  5. RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race

Outstanding Casting for a Reality Program

  • Born This Way, A&E
  • Queer Eye, Netflix
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race, VH1
  • Shark Tank, ABC
  • The Voice, NBC

Outstanding Structured Reality Program

Marie Kondo, interpreter Marie Lida, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Netflix
Marie Kondo (center) with her interpreter Marie Lida (right) and Wendy on Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (Photo by Denise Crew/Netflix)
  1. Antiques Roadshow, PBS
  2. Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives, Food Network
  3. Queer Eye, Netflix
  4. Shark Tank, ABC
  5. Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, Netflix
  6. Who Do You Think You Are?, TLC

Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program

Emmys, Born This Way cast, Jon Murray
Born This Way executive producer Jon Murray (left) and cast members from the Emmy-winning show (foreground) during the Creative Arts Emmys on Sept. 11, 2016.
  • Born This Way, A&E
  • Deadliest Catch, Discovery
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked, VH1
  • Somebody Feed Phil, Netflix
  • United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell, CNN

Outstanding Competition Program

  • The Amazing Race, CBS
  • American Ninja Warrior, NBC
  • Nailed It!, Netflix
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race, VH1
  • Top Chef, Bravo
  • The Voice, NBC

Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Series

Niki Nakayama Netflix Chef's Table review
Niki Nakayama in Netflix’s Chef’s Table. (Photo by Netflix)
  • American Masters
  • Chef’s Table
  • Hostile Planet
  • Our Planet
  • 30 for 30

Outstanding Informational Series Or Special

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, CNN
  • Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Netflix
  • Leah Remini: Scientology And The Aftermath, A&E
  • My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman, Netflix
  • Surviving R. Kelly, Lifetime

Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Special

  • FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, Netflix
  • The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley, HBO
  • Jane Fonda In Five Acts, HBO
  • Leaving Neverland, HBO
  • Love, Gilda, CNN
  • Minding the Gap, Hulu

Outstanding Choreography For Variety Or Reality Programming

  • So You Think You Can Dance
    Routines: It Takes A Lot To Know A Man, Glass Heart Concerto
    Travis Wall, Choreographer
  • So You Think You Can Dance
    Routines: Juice, Bump, Yummy
    Luther Brown, Choreographer
  • World Of Dance
    Routines: Drop It Like It’s Hot, Headband, DNA
    Melvin “Timtim” Rogador, Choreographer
  • World Of Dance
    Routines: Malhari, Yeh Raat, O Fortuna
    Suresh Mukund, Choreographer
  • World Of Dance
    Routines: Pegate, La Malanga, Caminare
    Karen Forcano and Ricardo Vega
  • World Of Dance
    Routines: Piece By Piece, Don’t Wanna Think, Fix You
    Tessandra Chavez, Choreographer

Outstanding Cinematography For A Nonfiction Program

Alex Honnold, Free Solo, El Capitan, National Geographic
Alex Honnold climbs El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. (Photo by Jimmy Chin/National Geographic)
  • Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, CNN, “Bhutan”
  • Free Solo, National Geographic
  • Our Planet, Netflix, “Coastal Seas”
  • Our Planet, Netflix, “Jungles”
  • Our Planet, Netflix, “One Planet”

Outstanding Cinematography For A Reality Program

  • Deadliest Catch, Discovery, series body of work
  • Life Below Zero, National Geographic, series body of work
  • Queer Eye, Netflix, “God Bless Gay”
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race, VH1, “Trump: The Rusical”
  • Survivor, CBS, series body of work

Outstanding Costumes For Variety, Nonfiction Or Reality Programming

  • Dancing with the Stars, ABC, premiere (dancers and celebrities)
  • Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé, Netflix
  • The Masked Singer, Fox, finale (contestants/masked singers, dancers, and background vocalists)
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race, VH1, “Trump: The Rusical”
  • Saturday Night Live, NBC

Outstanding Directing For A Documentary/Nonfiction Program

  • Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin for Free Solo, National Geographic
  • Chris Smith for FYRE: The Greatest Party that Never Happened, Netflix
  • Dan Reed for Leaving Neverland, HBO
  • Julie Cohen for RBG, CNN
  • Tim Wardle for Three Identical Strangers, CNN

Outstanding Directing For A Reality Program

  • Bertram van Munster for The Amazing Race, “Who Wants a Rolex?”, CBS
  • Patrick McManus for American Ninja Warrior, “Minneapolis City Qualifiers,” NBC
  • Hisham Abed for Queer Eye, “Black Girl Magic,” Netflix
  • Nick Murray for RuPaul’s Drag Race, “Whatcha Unpackin?”, VH1
  • Ken Fuchs for Shark Tank, episode 1002, ABC

Outstanding Picture Editing For A Nonfiction Program

  • Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, CNN
  • Free Solo, National Geographic
  • Leaving Neverland, HBO
  • RBG, CNN
  • Three Identical Strangers, CNN

Outstanding Picture Editing For A Structured Reality Or Competition Program

  • The Amazing Race, “Who Wants A Rolex?”, CBS
  • Queer Eye, Series Body Of Work, Netflix
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race, VH1
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, “Jersey Justice,” VH1
  • Survivor: David vs. Goliath, “Appearances Are Deceiving,” CBS

Outstanding Picture Editing For An Unstructured Reality Program

  • Born This Way, Series Body Of Work, A&E
  • Deadliest Catch, “Battle Of Kings,” Discovery Channel
  • Life Below Zero, “Cost Of Winter,” National Geographic
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked, Series Body Of Work, VH1
  • United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell, “Hmong Americans And The Secret War,” CNN

Outstanding Music Composition For A Documentary Series Or Special (Original Dramatic Score)

  • Free Solo, National Geographic
  • Game Of Thrones: The Last Watch, HBO
  • Hostile Planet, “Oceans,” National Geographic
  • Love, Gilda, CNN
  • Our Planet, “One Planet,” Netflix
  • RBG, CNN

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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