Three-time Oscar winner Peter Jackson added to his trophy collection on Saturday, taking home the Emmy for best director of a documentary/nonfiction program for his widely acclaimed Disney+ project, “The Beatles: Get Back.” As a producer of the doc, he also won for Outstanding Documentary or Non-Fiction Series.
Accepting his second award of the night, Jackson recalled how old he was when the footage in the documentary was shot in 1969. “I was an 8-year-old in New Zealand, a Boy Scout wearing short pants. But to be a tiny part of The Beatles’ story was a dream come true for that 8-year-old kid.”
The three-part, nearly eight-hour documentary chronicles The Beatles’ 22-day recording of their “Let It Be” album, which was previously understood to be a dark chapter in the band’s existence. Drawing from nearly 100 hours of footage shot in 1969 on a London soundstage and then at The Beatles’ Apple Corps recording studio, Jackson lovingly restored grainy images and deteriorating audio, creating a vibrant fly-on-the-wall look at the 20th century’s most beloved band as they write and record songs that are now classics.
Unlike “Let It Be,” the film released in 1970 that used much of the same footage but depicted an unhappy band on the brink of breaking up, “Get Back” shows the Fab Four enjoying the creative process and each other’s company — and yes, working through inevitable tensions. The film culminates in the famous London rooftop performance that was The Beatles’ final public show.
Among the film’s biggest fans is none other than Paul McCartney (who is also an executive producer). As Giles Martin — “Get Back” music supervisor and sound mixer (and son of legendary producer and “fifth Beatle” George Martin) — told TheWrap earlier this year, “Paul McCartney wanted to get a drink immediately after seeing it, he was so happy. And I suppose if you do eight hours of something and people still want more, that’s the best compliment you can get.”
Jackson won the directing Emmy for the concluding chapter of the docs-series, “Part 3: Days 17-22.” He shares his Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series triumph with executive producers McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, plus producers Clare Olssen and Jonathan Clyde.