As Britney Spears’ legal battle ravages on, the buzzy television documentary surrounding the pop star’s conservatorship and the #FreeBritney movement has been nominated for two Emmys.
“Framing Britney Spears,” which was produced by the New York Times for FX and Hulu, has been nominated for outstanding documentary or nonfiction special and picture editing for a nonfiction program.
The Emmy nominations for “Framing Britney Spears” come just one day before Spears is expected to appear in court on July 14 for her latest hearing in her ongoing conservatorship saga.
Spears is currently fighting to have her father, Jamie Spears, removed from and terminate the conservatorship altogether. The singer is currently in talks with a major Hollywood power lawyer, who she hopes the court will approve to represent her on the ongoing matters, as she works to terminate the conservatorship that she has been under for 13 years. In 2008, her father became the sole conservator when the court approved putting the star under the legal guardianship, after she had endured a tough time in the public eye in 2007.
“Framing Britney Spears,” which first aired in February, chronicled Spears’ meteoric rise to fame in the late ’90s and early 2000s from teen pop star to international sex symbol and superstar. The documentary highlighted the media’s misogynistic framing of Spears, who constantly had a negative narrative surrounding her between the tabloids and the paparazzi. The doc took a deep dive into the #FreeBritney movement, which has brought her conservatorship into the spotlight, especially over the past few years.
With the popularity of “Framing Britney Spears,” there has been a surge in renewed public interest in the singer’s legal battle, along with the issue of conservatorship abuse in a more general sense. Ever since the documentary aired, Spears’ case has faced more changes than it has in the past 13 years, most recently with her court-appointed attorney and longtime manager resigning.
At the time “Framing Britney Spears” was released, director Samantha Stark, who is a journalist at The New York Times, told Variety in an interview that the doc questions the conservatorship system, specifically relating to Spears’ case. “The central mystery of our film is that she’s living the life of a busy pop star, and yet we’re being told that she’s at risk constantly. She’s making millions of dollars, and yet, we’re told she’s incapable of making decisions that are in her own best interest,” Stark said. “That’s such a conflict, so it’s hard to understand why it’s happening, and so many of the court records are sealed.”
“Framing Britney Spears” was not authorized by Spears, who was unable to be reached by The New York Times during production, so the singer has no direct involvement in the documentary and is not included in the Emmy nomination.
Should “Framing Britney Spears” win, the documentary would be the third consecutive music-based doc to win in the category. In 2020, HBO’s “The Apollo” about the Harlem club won. In 2019, HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” about Michael Jackson was the winner, coming off of major buzz surrounding allegations about the King of Pop.
Music documentaries have a good track record at the Emmys. In 2012, “George Harrison: Living in the Material World,” about the ex-Beatle, earned an Emmy award. In 2016, the Nina Simone doc, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” won a trophy in the category.
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