The 42nd Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards honored Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool with the following Emmys:
Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary
Watch Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, now streaming:
American Masters — Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool takes a hard look at the mythology that surrounds the legend. “The story of Miles Davis — who he was as a man and artist — has often been told as the tale of a drug-addled genius,” said director Stanley Nelson. “You rarely see a portrait of a man that worked hard at honing his craft, a man who deeply studied all forms of music, from Baroque to classical Indian. An elegant man who could render ballads with such tenderness yet hold rage in his heart from the racism he faced throughout his life. He could be romantic and pursue women relentlessly, yet treat them with cruelty upon winning them over. He could be extremely generous, yet rescind that generosity on a whim.”
The documentary delves into the six-decade career of the musical genius: from his days as a Julliard student to the development of his signature sound on recordings with his famous quintet, from his collaborations with Gil Evans to his shifts to new musical paradigms in the ’70s and ’80s. As the film tracks Davis’s boundary-breaking musical triumphs, the meanderings of his complicated personal life are told with intimate reflections from those closest to him. Previously unseen footage and a soundtrack full of Davis’s music are complemented by new interviews with friends, fellow musicians, collaborators and scholars to create a full portrait of the complex man. The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019 and had a successful limited theatrical run, tells the story of a truly singular talent and unpacks the man behind the horn.
The 42nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards honors programming content from more than 2200 submissions that originally premiered in calendar-year 2020, judged by a pool of 950 peer professionals from across the television and streaming/digital media News & Documentary industry.
The complete list of winners is also available on the National Television Academy’s website: theemmys.tv
American Masters – Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool is a Firelight Media/Eagle Rock Films Production for American Masters Pictures and Eagle Rock Entertainment in association with BBC Music. Produced and directed by Stanley Nelson. Produced by Nicole London. Executive produced by Terry Shand and Geoff Kempin for Eagle Rock Entertainment; Darryl Porter, Erin Davis, Cheryl Davis, and Vince Wilburn for Miles Davis Properties, LLC; and Michael Kantor for American Masters.
Funding for American Masters – Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool is provided by David and Lisa Grain, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Jody and John Arnhold, Pappalardo Family Foundation, and The Leslie and Roslyn Goldstein Foundation.
Support for American Masters is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AARP, Rosalind P. Walter, Judith & Burton Resnick, The Cheryl & Philip Milstein family, Vital Projects Fund, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Seton J. Melvin, Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen & James S. Marcus, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, The Ambrose Monell Foundation and public television viewers.