‘The Apollo’ (About the Legendary Theater) and ‘Apollo 11’ Win Big on Night 1 of Primetime Emmy Awards

The Apollo
Courtesy of HBO

The Apollo marquee.

This year’s creative arts and other pre-telecast awards are being split into five (count ‘em) nightly shows.

The Apollo, an HBO film about the legendary Harlem theater, won the Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding documentary or nonfiction special on Monday (Sept. 14).  This year’s creative arts and other pre-telecast awards are being split into five (count ‘em) nightly shows, leading up to the televised Primetime Emmy Awards next Sunday (Sept. 20). This first night was devoted to reality and non-fiction programming.

The Apollo is the fourth music doc to win in this category, following George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2012), What Happened, Miss Simone?, about Nina Simone (2016) and Leaving Neverland, about sexual abuse allegations against Michael Jackson (2019).

Apollo 11, about the 1969 space launch which put man on the moon, won three awards on the night. The only other multiple winners on Night 1 were Ru Paul’s Drag Race (VH1) and Cheer (Netflix). Each picked up two awards.

Here’s a complete list of winners for Night 1:

Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special --The Apollo (HBO)

Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special -- Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath (A&E)

Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series -- National Geographic Presents Cosmos: Creating Possible Worlds (Nat Geo)

Outstanding Structured Reality Program -- Queer Eye (Netflix)

Outstanding Casting for a Reality Program -- RuPaul's Drag Race (VH1)

Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program -- The Cave – Muhammed Khair Al Shami, Ammar Suleiman and Mohammed Eyad (Nat Geo)

Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program -- Life Below Zero (Episode: "The New World") (Nat Geo)

Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program -- Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert for American Factory (Netflix)

Outstanding Directing for a Reality Program -- Greg Whiteley for Cheer (Episode: "Daytona") (Netflix)

Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Score) -- Laura Karpman for Why We Hate (Episode: "Tools & Tactics") (Discovery Channel)

Outstanding Narrator --David Attenborough on Seven Worlds, One Planet (Episode: "Antarctica") (BBC America)

Outstanding Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program -- Apollo 11 – Todd Douglas Miller (CNN)

Outstanding Picture Editing for a Structured Reality or Competition Program -- RuPaul's Drag Race – Jamie Martin, Michael Roha, Paul Cross, Michael Lynn Deis and Ryan Mallick (Episode: "I'm That Bitch") (VH1)

Outstanding Picture Editing for An Unstructured Reality Program --Cheer – Editing Team (Episode: "God Blessed Texas") (Netflix)

Outstanding Sound Editing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program (Single or Multi-Camera) -- Apollo 11 (CNN)

Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program (Single or Multi-Camera) -- Apollo 11 (CNN)

Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program -- Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer (Episode: "Closing the Net") (Netflix)

The ceremony was hosted by Nicole Byer, the Emmy-nominated host of Nailed It. Presenters included Gina Carano (The Mandalorian), RuPaul Charles (RuPaul's Drag Race), Daryl Mitchell (NCIS: New Orleans), Rob Riggle (Holey Moley), Drew Scott (Property Brothers: Forever Home; Brother vs. Brother) and J.B. Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm).

The areas of focus for the rest of the pre-telecast awards: Tuesday, Sept. 15, variety; Wednesday, Sept. 16 and Thursday, Sept. 17, scripted TV; and Saturday, Sept. 19, a mix of awards across various genres. The weeknight installments air on at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. The Sept. 19 show airs on FXX at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.



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