I observed that “Mass shootings, hurricanes, and Syria dominated the news last year, so it’s no surprise they dominate the nominations and I plan on writing about all the nominees about them.” I’ve written about nominees covering hurricanes and mass shootings, so it’s time to return to the News and Documenatary Emmy Awards and examine the 11 nominees with 17 nominations among them that reported on the Syrian Civil War.*
Syria has been such a dominant story that I have mentioned at least one nominee covering it in every entry about the News and Documentary Emmy Award nominees so far, beginning with Putin and Trump-Russia at the Emmy Awards. There, I noted that “‘The Wounds of War’ and ‘Cries from Syria’ are probably the toughest competition, as both have four nominations each, tied for the most nominations for any single entry with ‘Charlottesville: Race and Terror’ by Vice News Tonight.” Since my preference is to work my way down from the nominees with the most nominations, I am beginning today’s examination with “Cries from Syria,” breaking the tie because the list of nominees mentions it first.
I’m an environmentalist, so I begin by recycling what I already wrote about “Cries from Syria,” starting with this passage from a review in The Hollywood Reporter that I quoted in The most honored political documentaries of 2017 examine crime, injustice, and the Syrian Civil War.
No less than three documentaries about Syria premiered in Sundance this year. Director Matthew Heineman’s City of Ghosts looked at the citizen journalists reporting from Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS in Syria. Last Men in Aleppo, from Feras Fayyad, looked at the so-called White Helmets in Aleppo, a group that goes in after every air raid in the Syrian city under siege to help save victims from the rubble. Both documentaries had a rather narrow focus that allowed them to explore the human impact and dimensions of a small part of the conflict.
Evgeny Afineevsky, who directed Cries From Syria, does the opposite, packing an overview of the entire six years of the complex conflict into a film of just under two hours in an approach that’s strongly reminiscent of his Oscar- and Emmy-nominated film Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom. Essentially a primer for those who haven’t watched or read the news from a reputable source since 2011, this compact and more than occasionally gruesome item is especially strong for its first three chapters, before it tackles the Syrian refugee crisis in too superficial and sentimental a manner.
That review calls for the movie’s trailer from HBO Documenary Films.
I already looked at its competition for Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary in ‘Abacus,’ ‘Edith and Eddie,’ ‘Heroin(e),’ and ‘Last Men in Aleppo’ — Oscar nominees at the 2018 News and Documentary Emmy Awards.
Joining “Last Men in Aleppo” as nominees for Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary are “Beware the Slenderman” and “Cries From Syria” from HBO, “National Bird” from “Independent Lens” on PBS, and fellow “POV” on PBS candidate “Almost Sunrise.” “Cries from Syria” also earned nominations for Outstanding Writing, Outstanding Research, and Outstanding Music & Sound, so it has a better chance of winning a statuette than “Last Men in Aleppo.”
Four of the five nominees in this category have a direct or indirect relationship to the Syrian Civil War, with both “Cries from Syria” and “Last Men in Aleppo” being about the conflict itself, while “National Bird” examines U.S. drone warfare, some of which takes place in Syria as part of the fight against ISIS/Daesh, and the effect it has had on the veterans who have waged it. “Almost Sunrise” looks at the issue even more indirectly, as described in IMDB.
The epic journey of two friends, ex-soldiers, who battle the moral injuries of war, and the temptation to escape through suicide, as they walk across America. Step by step, Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson confront the demons that haunt them, while discovering the power of community and spirituality to heal them.
“Almost Sunrise” even more directly examines the suffering of veterans.
The odd film out is “Beware the Slenderman,” which is about the horror figure from urban legend. I might look at that for Halloween. Right now, there is enough real-life horror to write about.
Speaking of which, it’s time to continue being a good environmentalist and recycle what I wrote about the nominees for Outstanding Writing: “‘Putin’s Revenge’ faces a less tough field for Outstanding Writing, ‘Alma’ and ‘The Wounds of War’ from 60 Minutes, fellow ‘Frontline’ episode ‘The Divided States of America,’ and ‘Cries from Syria’…” Outstanding Writing may be a less tough field than Best Documentary, for which “Putin’s Revenge” is also nominated, but both “Cries from Syria” and “The Wounds of War” have four nominations at these awards and I think one of them may have a better chance than “Putin’s Revenge.”
“Cries from Syria” and “The Wounds of War” are also in direct competition for Outstanding Research along with “Let It Fall: Los Angeles: 1982-1992,” also nominated for Outstanding Historical Documentary, “Frontline” episode “Iraq Uncovered,” also nominated for Outstanding Investigative Documentary, and “The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick,” also nominated for Outstanding Promotional Announcement as well as being a four-time nominee at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, making it the only program nominated at both editions of the Emmy Awards for which it was eligible. My intuition tells me that “The Vietnam War” has the inside track for this award simply because of Ken Burns’ history, pun intended.
The final category for which “Cries from Syria” earned a nomination is Outstanding Music & Sound, which I already wrote about in ‘Chasing Coral’ versus ‘Yosemite’ — two nominees for Outstanding Nature Documentary both examine climate change. Time to recycle!
For their third nominated category, both “Chasing Coral” and “Yosemite” are competing for Outstanding Music & Sound along with the HBO Documentary Films “Cries From Syria” and “The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble” and the “Independent Lens” episode “Tower.” The most formidable overall are “Cries from Syria,” which also has nominations for Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary, Outstanding Writing, and Outstanding Research, and “Tower,” about the first mass school shooting in U.S. history at the University of Texas, which earned a nomination for Outstanding Historical Documentary as well…However, I suspect “The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble” might be the fiercest competitor for Outstanding Music & Sound; it also earned nominations for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary and Outstanding Editing: Documentary.
Since I’ve already examined two of the categories in which “60 Minutes” has been nominated for “The Wounds of War,” it’s time to look at the rest, beginning with Outstanding Video Journalism: News, which I covered in ‘Charlottesville: Race and Terror’ tied for most nominations at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards.
“Charlottesville: Race and Terror” finally runs into one of the other entries with four nominations in the field for Outstanding Video Journalism: News, where it is competing against “60 Minutes: The Wounds of War,” which is about the Syrian Civil War. That makes for an intriguing match-up. The other nominees in this category include “BBC World News America: Fight For Raqqa – Darren Conway,” CNN’s “Global Warning: Arctic Melt,” and “Vox Borders,” none of which have other nominations. Yeah, I think this contest is between Charlottesville and Syria.
“BBC World News America: Fight For Raqqa – Darren Conway” is the other nominee about the Syrian Civil War, but I would be surprised if it won.
The final category for which “The Wounds of War” earned a nomination is Best Story in a Newsmagazine, where it is competing against fellow “60 Minutes” segment “Investigating the Opioid Epidemic: The Whistleblower and Too Big to Prosecute” produced in cooperation with The Washington Post, the “Fault Lines” report “Heroin’s Children” from Al Jazeera International USA, another nominee about the opioid epidemic with two other nominations for Outstanding Science, Medical and Environmental Report and Outstanding Editing: News, and two episodes of “Frontline,” “Battle for Iraq” and “Inside Yemen.” The former also has a nomination for Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story, while this is the only nomination for the latter. Based on its total number of nominations, I think “The Wounds of War” is the favorite, but it is facing stiff competition for the trophy, particularly from “Heroin’s Children.”
Follow over the jump for the rest of the nominees covering the Syrian Civil War.
Two of the nominees for Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a Newscast honor reports about the Syrian Civil War, “CBS News: Inside the Battle for Raqqa” and “CNN International: Fall of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.” Joining them are “World News Tonight with David Muir and Nightline: The Rohingya” and two episodes of “VICE News Tonight, “Battle for Marawi,” which is about the fight against ISIS/Daesh in the Philippines, and “Libya,” in which the Sith Jihad plays a supporting role. All of these are related, as even the Rohingya are being unfairly labeled as Islamic terrorists. None of these have other nominations, so I have no idea how to handicap them.
Both the Syrian Civil War and the Rohingya appear as nominees for Outstanding Hard News Feature Story in a Newscast, which I already wrote about in Putin and Trump-Russia at the Emmy Awards.
ABC’s “Nightline” also had an episode about Vladimir Putin nominated for a News & Documentary Emmy Award, “Putin’s Power: A Journey Inside Russia,” which is being considered for Outstanding Hard News Feature Story in a Newscast…The other nominees for Outstanding Hard News Feature Story in a Newscast include “Battle for Raqqa” from BBC World News America, “Syria: Gasping for Life in Khan Sheikhoun” from CNN International, “Retaking Raqqa” from Nightline, and “The Unwanted” from ABC’s World News Tonight. I have no idea which might win, but I can see there are lots of nominees about Syria.
I have changed my mind about which nominee I think will win, as “The Unwanted,” the other nominee examining the plight of the Rohingya, is also nominated for Best Story in a Newscast, while the other nominees for Outstanding Hard News Feature Story in a Newscast have no other nominations.
The “BBC World News America” report “The Escape From Raqqa” is the only nominee for Outstanding Investigative Report in a Newscast I didn’t mention in ‘Charlottesville: Race and Terror’ tied for most nominations at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards, the rest being “Charlottesville: Race and Terror,” “Anderson Cooper 360°: Kids for Sale,” “CBS This Morning: U.S. Air Force Academy Sexual Assault,” and “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer: Libya Slave Auction.” Out of all of them, I think “Charlottesville: Race and Terror” has the best shot at winning.
I have one last category to recycle, from Coverage of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria nominated for News and Documentary Emmy Awards, which I repurposed for 14 nominations for 12 reports about Las Vegas Massacre and other mass shootings at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards.
The Washington Post…earned a News & Documentary Emmy nomination for Outstanding Breaking News Coverage for its coverage of the 2017 Hurricane Season…The [other] nominees for Outstanding Breaking News Coverage include CNN’s Worldwide Hurricane Coverage, so this category includes two nominees that covered the hurricane season. The rest consist of ABC News: The Las Vegas Massacre[,]…CNN’s coverage of the Fall of Raqqa and the Manchester Concert Attack. As I wrote, mass shootings, hurricanes, and Syria dominated the news, so they’re dominating the news nominations.
With this entry, I have one last topic to examine, the opioid crisis. Stay tuned.