Music docs spotlighting Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, BTS, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato are among those competing for best music documentary at the 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards. MTV announced the nominations in two socially voted categories — this one and best musical moment — on Friday (May 7).
The MTV Movie & TV Awards are being split in two this year. The first show, airing live from the Palladium in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 16, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, focuses on scripted programming; the second, which will air the following night at the same time, focuses on unscripted programming. That second show, dubbed MTV Movie & TV Awards: Unscripted, is described as “a first-of-its-kind celebration of all things reality television.”
DJ Snoopadelic (aka Snoop Dogg) will serve as DJ for Sunday show. Kim Lee of the Netflix reality series Bling Empire will DJ the Monday show.
As previously announced, comedian Leslie Jones will host the first show; comedian Nikki Glaser will host the second.
Here are the nominees in the two social categories:
Best Music Documentary
Ariana Grande: Excuse Me, I Love You: This concert film follows Grande onstage and behind-the-scenes on the Sweetener World Tour in 2019. Netflix released the film on Dec. 21, 2020, to mark the first anniversary of the tour’s conclusion. The film was directed by Paul Dugdale, whose previous credits include Coldplay’s Ghost Stories and The Rolling Stones’ road movie doc Olé Olé Olé!
Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell: This doc is built around archival footage of the late rap legend The Notorious B.I.G. It features rare footage filmed by Damion “D-Roc” Butler and interviews with Biggie’s family and friends, including Butler and Sean Combs. The film was directed by Emmett Malloy, whose previous works include Big Easy Express (featuring Mumford & Sons, among others) and The White Stripes’ Under Great White Northern Lights.
Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry: The film reveals the creation process of Eilish’s blockbuster debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, which made Eilish only the second artist in Grammy history to sweep the Big Four awards in one night. It features Eilish’s brother and collaborator, Finneas O’Connell. Directed by R. J. Cutler, the film was released in select theaters via Neon and on Apple TV+ on Feb. 26.
Break the Silence: The Movie: This doc, directed by Park Jun-soo, goes behind the scenes of BTS’ 2018–19 “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself World Tour.” Park Jun-soo previously directed the K-pop sensations’ concert docs Bring the Soul: The Movie (2019) and Burn the Stage: The Movie (2018).
Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil: This documentary series about Lovato’s life and career was released in four parts on YouTube from March 23 to April 6. The series covers a range of topics, including Lovato’s near-fatal overdose in 2018. It was released alongside Lovato’s seventh studio album Dancing With the Devil… the Art of Starting Over, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The film was directed by Michael D. Ratner, whose previous credits include Justin Bieber: Seasons.
Shawn Mendes: In Wonder: This film depicts Mendes’ onstage life, his life with girlfriend Camila Cabello and his struggles with anxiety. It was released by Netflix on Nov. 23, 2020, ahead of his fourth studio album, Wonder, which entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1. Grant Singer, who directed the film, has directed music videos for Sam Smith, 5 Seconds of Summer, The Weeknd, Lorde and many more.
Taylor Swift: Miss Americana: The film is set in the period spanning from Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour in 2018 to the rollout of her 2019 studio album Lover — a period in which she fully embraced her power. The doc, directed by Lana Wilson, was released on Netflix and in select theaters on Jan. 31, 2020. “Only the Young,” a song by Swift featured in the end credits, was released as a promotional single and climbed halfway up the Hot 100.
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart: Frank Marshall directed and executive produced this doc, which is built around a fresh interview with the trio’s sole surviving member, Barry Gibb, as well as archival interviews with his late twin brothers Robin and Maurice Gibb. The doc shares its title with the 1971 classic that was the trio’s first No. 1 hit on the Hot 100.
The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears: Released on Feb. 5 on FX and Hulu, this doc explores Spears’ rise to fame as a teenage superstar, her rough treatment by the media, her highly publicized breakdown in 2007 and the court-ordered conservatorship overseen by her father James “Jamie” Parnell Spears. The film, directed by Samantha Stark, is the second of two films on this list that was directed by a woman. (The other is Taylor Swift: Miss Americana.)
Tina: “Her life, her story” is the tagline for this film, which follows the life and career of the one and only Tina Turner. The film features interviews with her pals Oprah Winfrey and Angela Bassett, who received an Oscar nod for playing Turner in the 1993 biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It. Directed by Daniel Lindsay and T. J. Martin, the film was released in the U.S. on March 27 by HBO.
Fan voting for best music documentary will open on MTV’s Instagram Stories on May 10 and close May 11. The award will be presented on the Monday show.
Best Musical Moment (Presented by Sonic Drive In)
Black Is King, “Brown Skin Girl”
The Kissing Booth 2, “Lost in the Wild” (Elle & Marco’s Dance Competition Performance)
Love & Monsters, “Stand by Me” (Mav1s & Joel watch the Sky Jellies)
To All The Boys: Always and Forever, “Beginning Middle End” (Peter & Lara Jean’s Song)
Bridgerton, “Wildest Dreams” (Daphne & Simon’s Honeymoon Phase)
Cobra Kai, “I Wanna Rock” (Miguel & Johnny at a Dee Snider Concert)
Julie and the Phantoms, “Edge of Great”
WandaVision, “Agatha All Along”
Fan voting for best musical moment will open May 11 on MTV’s Instagram Stories and close May 14. The award will be presented on the Sunday show.
WandaVision (5), Emily in Paris (4), The Boys (4), Bridgerton (3), Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (3) and The Mandalorian (3) are this year’s leading scripted nominees.
RuPaul’s Drag Race (4), 90 Day Fiancé (2), Bling Empire (2), Legendary (2), Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta (2), Nailed It! (2), Ridiculousness (2) and The Challenge (2) are the top unscripted nominees.
MTV’s Bruce Gillmer, Wendy Plaut and Vanessa Whitewolf and Den Of Thieves’ Jesse Ignjatovic and Barb Bialkowski are executive producers for both shows. Jackie Barba and Alicia Portugal are executives in charge of production and Lisa Lauricella serves as the music talent executive for both shows.