To nobody’s surprise, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” made an incredibly strong showing when the Emmy nominations were announced on Thursday. It was nominated for Outstanding Limited Series, in addition to receiving nominations for three of its lead actors.
The series covered the infamous O.J. Simpson trial, from the moment Simpson sped off in the White Bronco to when he was officially declared innocent. The absorbing drama also included mesmerising performances from actors like David Schwimmer, Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Vance, and Sterling K. Brown.
At this point, it feels like we must have learned all there is to know about the O.J. Simpson trial. And yet, the world simply cannot get enough of it.
There were multiple shows about O.J. Simpson this year.
“American Crime Story” was not the only show to cover Simpson this year. ESPN released an epic five-part docuseries on his life called “O.J.: Made in America.” The series was lavished with critical praise, but didn’t meet the deadline for this year’s Emmys.
Usually, when Hollywood releases two similar projects as once, people grow fatigued. Yet, both shows were huge successes — largely because they complimented each other. “The People v. O.J.” was the slick, stylish adaptation, while “Made in America” was like an Encyclopedia on O.J.’s life.
There is a hunger for crime stories right now.
This isn’t the first time that true crime stories have been so prevalent. Since 2014, we have seen true crime stories like “Serial,” “The Jinx,” and “Making a Murderer” capture the public’s interest.
Yet, the O.J. trial is the ultimate true crime story. And like the other instances mentioned above, it still feels unfinished, as many people think that O.J. was actually guilty.
“The People v. O.J.” showed every aspect of the trial from a dramatic perspective, while “Made in America” offered some shockingly compelling evidence against Mr. Simpson.
O.J. Simpson’s story feels more relevant than ever before.
In 1994, O.J. Simpson was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown-Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. The trial took place in 1995. But, “The People v. O.J.” was able to show how much that time in history has in common with today.
An entire episode covers the day in which O.J. fled in his White Bronco, and it takes note of the media’s obsessive coverage of the event. The episode makes it clear that, yes, the O.J. trial gave birth to the 24 hour news cycle.
Meanwhile, the show opens with a prologue about Rodney King, a black man who was beat up by Los Angeles police officers, an event that was captured on video. The officers’ subsequent acquittal of assault and excessive force charges eventually led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots and a wider national conversation about how cops treat minorities in America.
“The People v. O.J.” couldn’t have come at a better moment. In ways, its portrayal of racial issues at the time mirrors the current Black Lives Matter movement.
Additionally, the show’s Emmy nominations came shortly after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, who were killed by police officers, sparking protests across the country. Meanwhile, the trial itself touched on racial discrimination, which was covered extensively on the show.
While the trial didn’t happen that long ago, the show proved that it now feels like an important part of U.S. history. Yet, the show also makes the case that the trial and acquittal of O.J. Simpson have set the stage for the next two decades, in both media and race relations.
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