'Hillary' and 'Frontline' Named Critics' Choice for Best Documentary Series

Other documentary series winners include the Netflix titles 'Cheer,' 'The Last Dance,' and 'Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich.'

Hillary -- A remarkably intimate portrait of a public woman, Hillary, interweaves revealing moments from never-before-seen 2016 campaign footage with biographical chapters of her life.  Featuring exclusive interviews with Hillary Rodham Clinton herself, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, friends and journalists, the series examines how she became at once one of the most admired and vilified women in the world. Hillary Clinton, right. (Photo by: Barbara Kinney)

In lieu of a big ceremony (due to the COVID-19 pandemic), this year’s Critics Choice Real TV Awards winners were revealed Monday morning with a virtual presentation hosted by Real Housewives star Nene Leakes. While the Netflix docuseries Cheer and the lifestyle series Queer Eye were the biggest honorees with two wins each, Hulu’s Hillary and PBS’ Frontline were recognized in the two documentary categories, Best Limited Documentary Series and Best Ongoing Documentary Series, respectively.

This was the first year Frontline has won the award for Best Ongoing Documentary Series. The investigative documentary program has been going for 38 seasons and was not even nominated in last year’s inaugural Critics Choice Real TV Awards. Prior to the category being moved to the new event by the Critics Choice Association (for which I serve as president of the documentary branch), it was part of the annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards. Frontline was nominated all three years it was eligible there but lost each time.

One of the factors in Frontline finally winning this year is likely its pressing (and continued) coverage of the worldwide coronavirus threat as well as much of its timely global political material, including the two-parter “America’s Great Divide: From Obama to Trump,” which is particularly relevant to the 2020 presidential election in the US. Critics Choice Association voters also went political in their pick for Hillary, Nanette Burstein‘s documentary — released as a four-part series — about and starring 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Spreading the wealth, three of Hillary‘s competition in the Best Limited Documentary Series category were honored elsewhere at the awards. As noted, Cheer was a double winner, with the college cheerleading series being named Best Unstructured Series and one of its subjects, Jerry Harris, being named Male Star of the Year (an award chosen online by the fans). ESPN and Netflix’s Michael Jordan doc The Last Dance was named Best Sports Show and Netflix’s Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich was named Best Crime/Justice Series.

That’s two years in a row that true crime legend Joe Berlinger has appropriately been part of the Crime/Justice Series winner (last year he won in the category as the director of Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes). He executive produced Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, a four-episode documentary about convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, while Lisa Bryant took the reins of the series as director. Bryant, of course, thanks Berlinger first in her acceptance video as “her mentor” and a pioneer of the genre.

Here’s the YouTube stream of the awards “show” as presented:


Here is the full list of nominees with winners in bold plus some of the acceptance videos from the documentary honorees:

Competition Series
LEGO Masters (Fox)
Making It (NBC)
RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1)
Survivor (CBS)
Top Chef (Bravo)

Competition Series: Talent/Variety
American Idol (ABC)
Dancing with the Stars (ABC)
La Voz (Telemundo)
Songland (NBC)
The Voice (NBC)

Unstructured Series
Cheer (Netflix)
Couples Therapy (Showtime)
Intervention (A&E)
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked! (VH1)
We’re Here (HBO)

Structured Series
Encore! (Disney+)
Prop Culture (Disney+)
Queer Eye (Netflix)
Shark Tank (ABC)
The World According to Jeff Goldblum (Disney+)

Sports Show
Blackballed (Quibi)
Cheer (Netflix)
Last Chance U (Netflix)
The Last Dance (ESPN)
Peyton’s Places (ESPN+)
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (HBO)

Business Show
Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back (Fox)
The Profit (CNBC)
Shark Tank (ABC)
T-Pain’s School of Business (Fuse)
Undercover Boss (CBS)

Crime/Justice Series
Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children (HBO)
The Innocence Files (Netflix)
Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich (Netflix)
The Pharmacist (Netflix)
Trial by Media (Netflix)
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez (Netflix)

Ongoing Documentary Series
Abstract: The Art of Design (Netflix)
The Circus: Inside the Craziest Political Campaign on Earth (Showtime)
Frontline (PBS)
Last Chance U (Netflix)

Limited Documentary Series
Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children (HBO)
Cheer (Netflix)
Hillary (Hulu)
Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich (Netflix)
The Last Dance (ESPN)
Trial by Media (Netflix)
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez (Netflix)

Short Form Series
Carpool Karaoke: The Series (Apple)
Comeback Kids (The Dodo)
Creating Saturday Night Live (NBC)
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Between the Scenes (Comedy Central)
The Impossible Row (Discovery)
While Black with MK Asante (Snap)

Live Show
Chasing the Cure (TNT)
Build (Yahoo)
Live PD (A&E)
Talking Dead (AMC)
Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (Bravo)

Interactive Show
Chasing the Cure (TNT)
Enamorándonos (Univision)
Talking Dead (AMC)
Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (Bravo)

Culinary Show (TIE)
Chopped (Food Network)
Nailed It! (Netflix)
Top Chef (Bravo)
Tournament of Champions (Food Network)
Ugly Delicious (Netflix)

Game Show
25 Words or Less (Fox/Syndicated)
Brain Games (National Geographic)
Cash Cab (Bravo)
Jeopardy!: The Greatest of All Time (ABC)
Mental Samurai (Fox)

Travel/Adventure Series
Expedition Unknown (Discovery)
Extinct or Alive (Animal Planet)
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted (National Geographic)
The Great Food Truck Race (Food Network)
Somebody Feed Phil (Netflix)

Animal/Nature Show
Dodo Heroes (Animal Planet)
Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet (Nat Geo WILD)
Crikey! It’s the Irwins (Animal Planet)
Serengeti (Discovery)
Seven Worlds, One Planet (BBC America)

Lifestyle: Fashion/Beauty Show
The Goop Lab (Netflix)
Making the Cut (Amazon)
Next in Fashion (Netflix)
Project Runway (Bravo)
Queer Eye (Netflix)

Relationship Show
90 Day Fiancé (TLC)
Are You the One? (MTV)
Black Love (OWN)
Couples Therapy (Showtime)
Love Is Blind (Netflix)

Lifestyle: Home/Garden Show
Celebrity IOU (HGTV)
Home (Apple TV+)
Home Town (HGTV)
Selling Sunset (Netflix)
A Very Brady Renovation (HGTV)

Ensemble Cast in an Unscripted Series
Crikey! It’s the Irwins (Animal Planet)
Dancing with the Stars (ABC)
Making the Cut
Queer Eye (Netflix)
RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1)
A Very Brady Renovation (HGTV)

Female Star of The Year
Nicole Byer – Nailed It! (Netflix)
Dr. Orna Guralnik – Couples Therapy (Showtime)
Dr. Sandra Lee – Dr. Pimple Popper (TLC)
Gwyneth Paltrow – The Goop Lab (Netflix)
Michelle Visage – RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1)
Monica Aldama – Cheer (Netflix)

Male Star of The Year
Jerry Harris – Cheer (Netflix)
The Fab Five – Queer Eye (Netflix)
Trevor Noah – The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
RuPaul Charles – RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1)
Hasan Minhaj – Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (Netflix)
Kevin Hart – Kevin Hart: What the Fit (YouTube Originals)

Show Host
Will Arnett – LEGO Masters (Fox)
RuPaul Charles – RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1)
Jeff Goldblum – The World According to Jeff Goldblum (Disney +)
Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler – Making It (NBC)
Jeff Probst – Survivor (CBS)
Alex Trebek – Jeopardy! (CBS Television Distribution)

Outstanding Achievement In Nonfiction Programming By A Network Or Streaming Platform
A+E Networks
National Geographic

Outstanding Achievement In Nonfiction Production
Anvil 1893 Entertainment
Big Fish Entertainment
Florentine Films
Kinetic Content
Raw TV
Smart Dog Media

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.