‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ and Netflix Lead 2021 Critics Choice Real TV Awards Nominations

VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” led all nominees as the Critics Choice Association and nonfiction producers’ organization NPACT announced on Wednesday the nominees for the third annual Critics Choice Real TV Awards. The org also announced it would posthumously honor late “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” landed three awards, including best competition series, best ensemble cast in an unscripted series, female star of the year for Michelle Visage, and both male star of the year and best show host for RuPaul Charles.

Programs next in line with three nominations included “Queer Eye” (Netflix), “Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy” (CNN), “Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi” (Hulu), and “Top Chef” (Bravo). Netflix led all outlets with 22 nominations, while the Critics Choice for some reason decided to combine HBO and HBO Max’s tallies, even though they are technically separate outlets (and the org didn’t merge numbers for other sister outlets, like ABC and Hulu), and together they received 14 nods.

The Critics Choice Real Awards, which recognize “excellence in nonfiction, unscripted and reality programming across broadcast, cable and streaming platforms,” will recognize Trebek with the Impact Award, “which recognizes an outstanding individual for career excellence and the positive impact they have made on the world of nonfiction content,” the org said. “Mr. Trebek and his legacy epitomize what the Impact Award was created to honor. His longstanding commitment to the pursuit of excellence, his continual encouragement of curiosity, and his unfailing charm made Mr. Trebek one of television’s most respected and beloved figures. He was an inspiration to the nonfiction community that selected him for this award, and to the vast audience that welcomed him into their daily lives.”

Launched in 2019 by the CCA and NPACT, this year’s awards received more than 600 submissions. According to the CCA, “a blue-ribbon nominating committee made up of CCA members with expertise in nonfiction, unscripted and reality programming determines the nominees. Winners will be chosen by a vote of the CCA membership.” Winners in two categories – Female Star of the Year and Male Star of the Year – will be chosen by fan voting, which is now open at criticschoice.com.

Critics Choice Real TV Awards winners will be announced via a press release on Monday, June 21. Here are the nominees:

BEST COMPETITION SERIES

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
“The Amazing Race” (CBS)
“The Great British Baking Show” (Netflix)
“Top Chef” (Bravo)
“Tough as Nails” (CBS)

BEST COMPETITION SERIES: TALENT/VARIETY

“American Idol” (ABC)
“Legendary” (HBO Max)
“The Masked Singer” (Fox)
“The Voice” (NBC)
“World of Dance” (NBC)

BEST UNSTRUCTURED SERIES

“Crikey! It’s the Irwins” (Discovery Plus)
“Deaf U” (Netflix)
“Lenox Hill” (Netflix)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked” (VH1)
“The Real World Homecoming: New York” (Paramount Plus)

BEST STRUCTURED SERIES

“A World of Calm” (HBO Max)
“Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” (Food Network)
“History of Swear Words” (Netflix)
“Queer Eye” (Netflix)
“The Oprah Conversation” (Apple TV Plus)

BEST BUSINESS SHOW

“Restaurant: Impossible” (Food Network)
“Shark Tank” (ABC)
“Streets of Dreams with Marcus Lemonis” (CNBC)
“Undercover Billionaire” (Discovery Channel/Discovery Plus)
“Wahl Street” (HBO Max)

BEST SPORTS SHOW

“30 for 30” (ESPN)
“Defying Gravity” (YouTube Originals)
“Last Chance U: Basketball” (Netflix)
“Peyton’s Places” (ESPN Plus)
“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (HBO)

BEST CRIME/JUSTICE SHOW

“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” (HBO)
“Murder Among the Mormons” (Netflix)
“Murder on Middle Beach” (HBO)
“The Ripper” (Netflix)
“The Vow” (HBO)
“Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller” (National Geographic)

BEST ONGOING DOCUMENTARY SERIES

“American Masters” (PBS)
“Dear …” (Apple TV Plus)
“Frontline” (PBS)
“POV” (PBS)
“The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth” (Showtime)
“The Vow” (HBO)

BEST LIMITED DOCUMENTARY SERIES

“1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything” (Apple TV Plus)
“Amend: The Fight for America” (Netflix)
“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” (HBO)
“Love Fraud” (Showtime)
“Murder on Middle Beach” (HBO)
“Secrets of the Whales” (Disney Plus/National Geographic)

BEST SHORT FORM SERIES

“First Person (Snapchat)
“Issa Rae Teaches Creating Outside the Lines” (MasterClass)
“Lady Parts” (Ellentube)
“OWN Your Vote” (NowThis and OWN social channels)
“Ready Jet Cook” (Food Network Kitchen)

BEST LIVE SHOW

A special winner will be announced on June 21.

BEST CULINARY SHOW

“Amy Schumer Learns to Cook” (Food Network)
“Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines” (Discovery Plus)
“Nailed It!” (Netflix)
Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi” (Hulu)
“Top Chef” (Bravo)

BEST GAME SHOW

“25 Words or Less” (Syndicated)
“Jeopardy!” (Syndicated)
“Supermarket Sweep” (ABC)
“Weakest Link” (NBC)
“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (ABC)

BEST TRAVEL/ADVENTURE SHOW

“Men in Kilts” (Starz)
“Running Wild with Bear Grylls” (National Geographic)
“Somebody Feed Phil” (Netflix)
“Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” (CNN)
“The Great Food Truck Race” (Food Network)

BEST ANIMAL/NATURE SHOW

“Life in Color with David Attenborough” (Netflix)
“Secrets of the Whales” (Disney Plus/National Geographic)
“That Animal Rescue Show” (Paramount Plus)
“The Incredible Dr. Pol” (Nat Geo Wild)
“Wizard of Paws” (BYU TV)

BEST LIFESTYLE: FASHION/BEAUTY SHOW

“Haute Dog” (HBO Max)
“Queer Eye” (Netflix)
“Shine True” (Fuse)
“Skin Decision: Before and After” (Netflix)
“Stylish with Jenna Lyons” (HBO Max)

BEST RELATIONSHIP SHOW

“90 Day Fiancé” (TLC)
“Couples Therapy” (Showtime)
“Indian Matchmaking” (Netflix)
“Love on the Spectrum” (Netflix)
“My Love: Six Stories of True Love” (Netflix)

BEST LIFESTYLE: HOME/GARDEN SHOW

“House Hunters International” (HGTV)
“Martha Knows Best” (HGTV)
“Property Brothers: Forever Home” (HGTV)
“Rock the Block” (HGTV)
“Selling Sunset” (Netflix)

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST IN AN UNSCRIPTED SERIES

“Top Chef” (Bravo)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
“Queer Eye” (Netflix)
“Crikey! It’s The Irwins” (Discovery Plus)
“The Real World Homecoming: New York” (Paramount Plus)

BEST SHOW HOST

RuPaul – “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
Oprah Winfrey – “The Oprah Conversation” (Apple TV Plus)
Stanley Tucci – “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” (CNN)
Padma Lakshmi – “Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi” (Hulu)
John Oliver – “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)

MALE STAR OF THE YEAR

Trevor Noah – “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)
RuPaul – “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
Stanley Tucci – “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” (CNN)
Guy Fieri – “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” (Food Network)
Phil Rosenthal – “Somebody Feed Phil” (Netflix)

FEMALE STAR OF THE YEAR

Nicole Byer – “Nailed It!” (Netflix)
Sandra Lee – “Dr. Pimple Popper” (TLC)
Michelle Visage – “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
Padma Lakshmi – “Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi” (Hulu)
Samantha Bee – “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN NONFICTION PROGRAMMING BY A NETWORK OR STREAMING PLATFORM

Discovery Plus
Disney Plus
HBO Max
Hulu
National Geographic
Netflix

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN NONFICTION PRODUCTION

The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC)
Jigsaw Productions
Renegade 83
Sharp Entertainment

Critics Choice Real TV Awards are executive produced by Bob Bain and Joey Berlin. Michelle Van Kempen is executive producer for NPACT.

“As the number of platforms continues to grow, the quality of unscripted television programming has skyrocketed, and we are thrilled to be able to recognize so much great work, especially at the end of a year when this content was needed more than ever,” said Critics Choice Association CEO Joey Berlin. “We are looking forward to celebrating this year’s winners, and our most deserving Impact Award honoree Alex Trebek, later this month.”

Said NPACT general manager Michelle Van Kempen: “Throughout the unprecedented challenge of the last year, nonfiction content was a touchstone for audiences around the globe. From documentary to reality, competition to game shows, nonfiction provided much-needed connection and entertainment. We are immensely grateful to the family of Alex Trebek for allowing NPACT and the CCA to honor him this year, and to celebrate the positive impact he made on our industry.”

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