For Your Emmy® Consideration: Watch These American Masters Documentaries

Who has changed America?  These carefully crafted programs illuminate the stories of our cultural giants. American Masters empowers independent producers to tell compelling, unvarnished stories.

American Masters presents these five documentaries for your Emmy® consideration in the category of “Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Series.”

The series has earned 75 Emmy® nominations and 28 Emmy Awards, including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special.


Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life

Over a six-decade career, four-time Tony-winner and outspoken LGBTQ activist Terrence McNally wrote dozens of trailblazing plays, musicals, operas and screenplays about sexuality, homophobia, faith, and the power of art. Featuring stars he worked with and mentored, including: Nathan Lane, Edie Falco, Rita Moreno, and Billy Porter. Jeff Kaufman is producer, director and writer. Marcia S. Ross is producer.

Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin 

Ursula K. Le Guin, groundbreaking author of the “Earthsea” fantasy series and “The Left Hand of Darkness,” transformed American literature by bringing science fiction out of the margins. Produced with Le Guin’s participation over a decade, the film is an intimate journey through the writer’s worlds, both real and fantastic. Directed by Arwen Curry, who is also a co-producer with Jason Andrew Cohn and Camille Servan-Schreiber.

Raúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage

The charismatic actor from Puerto Rico was celebrated for the range and versatility he brought to roles on stage and screen, from Shakespearean plays to the “The Addams Family.” Though his career was cut short by his death at age 54, he paved the way for generations of Latinx actors. Director/Producer: Ben DeJesus. Producer: Jill Krikorian

Rothko: Pictures Must be Miraculous 

One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Mark Rothko’s signature style helped define Abstract Expressionism.  The celebrated painter’s luminous paintings now set records at auction, and are seen by millions in London, Washington, D.C. and at the famous Rothko Chapel in Houston. Features original scenes with Alfred Molina. Directed, produced and written by Eric Slade.

N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear

A formative voice of the Native American Renaissance in art and literature, author and poet N. Scott Momaday was the first Native American to win the Pulitzer Prize. Interviews with Momaday, Jeff Bridges, US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, Robert Redford and others tell the story of the National Medal of Arts-winner. Produced and directed by Jeffrey Palmer.


Funding for American Masters – Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life is provided in part by National Endowment for the Arts, plus The Edward F. Limato Foundation, The Noël Coward Foundation, and The Hunter Ward Foundation.

Major support for American Masters  Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin is provided, in part, by the National Endowment for the Humanities, bringing you the stories that define us. Additional support for is provided by: California Humanities, Berkeley Film Foundation, Alex Borstein, Kent Rasmussen & Celia Ramsay, Paul D. Jarman, Mary Kay Kare, and others.

American Masters — Raúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage is a special presentation of American Masters and VOCES. Major support for American Masters Raúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Major support for American Masters — Rothko: Pictures Must Be Miraculous is provided by The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation Endowed Fund for Excellence; National Endowment for the Arts.  The Kinsman Foundation; Kay Kitagawa and Andy Johnson-Laird; John and Patricia Beckman Fund, The Wyss Foundation, The Jackson Foundation, The Roundhouse Foundation, Lee and Marcia Stevenson.

Funding for American Masters – N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear is provided by JustFilms | Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Firelight Media, and Elizabeth Weatherford.

Major support for American Masters is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, Judith and Burton Resnick, Cheryl & Philip Milstein Family Foundation, The Vital Projects Fund, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Seton J. Melvin, Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, and The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation.