Tiger King picked up six Emmy nominations on Tuesday when the award show announced this year's contenders. After dominating the streaming world in the first month of quarantine, the outlandish docu-series is under consideration for a number of awards, according to a report by Variety. However, while the show was wildly popular, there is some debate about whether industry professionals will cast their votes for it.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness got Emmy nominations for directing for a documentary/nonfiction program; picture editing for a nonfiction program; music composition for a documentary series or special (original dramatic score); documentary or nonfiction series; sound editing for a nonfiction or reality program (single or multi-camera); and sound mixing for a nonfiction or reality program (single or multi-camera). The show came along at just the right time for many Americans who needed something to binge through the coronavirus crisis. Whether it can stand up to the competition outside of that context remains to be seen.
Critics have questioned Tiger King's depiction of animal abuse, often complaining that the plight of the big cats themselves slides to the back burner for the majority of the series. In addition, many are put off by the way the documentary portrays Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue, wondering if it goes too far in vilifying her.
Some have also complained about the cultural impact and reception of the documentary, saying that it makes Joe Exotic too fun to root for while downplaying his alleged crimes. Variety critic Caroline Framke wrote that the show "goes on autopilot, indulging stereotypes and flattening complex events into titillating bites, turns everything it touches into a joke."
To some, this factored into the show's appeal during a time when the real-world news cycle was so bleak. A few months later, the 2020 Emmy Awards are sure to test the public perception of Tiger King once again.
The Emmy nominations are full of exciting contenders this year, especially as a drought of new programming approaches. Other notable nominations include Ramy, the first Muslim-American sitcom to be nominated at the award show, and The Mandalorian, Disney+'s Star Wars spin-off series, which landed 15 nominations in total.
For those wondering who will rise to the top of the nomination list, there is a long wait ahead. The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards are scheduled to air on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.