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Emmy Nonfiction Contenders: Portraits of the Artist, from Nora Ephron to Nina Simone

Emmy Nonfiction Contenders: Portraits of the Artist, from Nora Ephron to Nina Simone

Watching “Everything Is Copy” (HBO), on the life of Nora Ephron, it’s clear that the late writer and filmmaker was willing to use, and to massage, the truth. Of the narrator’s hamster-loving first husband, in her 1983 novel “Heartburn,” Ephron’s own ex-, Dan Greenberg, says the strange trait is an invention; of 1989’s “When Harry Met Sally…” the screenwriter admits that Meg Ryan’s cheerful, high-strung co-lead is based “more or less” on herself. As New Yorker editor David Remnick remarks of Ephron’s inimitable essays, “her voice in print really replicated her voice—almost—in life.”

Indeed, in “Everything Is Copy,” as in the other films nominated for Outstanding Documentary/Nonfiction Special at this year’s Emmys, the subject’s work inhabits this space between the dashes, the “almost” and the “more or less.” It’s where the biographical blurs into the fictional, where fact and craft diverge.

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