'Minding the Gap' Voted Best Documentary of 2018 in 6th Annual Nonfics Year-End Poll

120 films ranked from the votes of 50 critics and filmmakers.


Congratulations to Bing Liu, whose debut feature, Minding the Gap,  is the clear favorite documentary of 2018. Compiled from lists submitted by 50 individuals, this year’s Nonfics Poll resulted in a ranking of 120 titles released in some public (non-festival) form in the U.S. from January through December, including shorts and series.

There is no exact science to our point system (the number in parentheses is the film’s point value), and a lot of the results, especially those further down the list, aren’t necessarily reflective of quality so much as availability and access. And obviously, the top picks include box office hits and streaming successes.

All five of the past Nonfics Poll winners — The Act of Killing, Citizenfour, The Look of Silence, O.J.: Made in America, and Faces Places — have gone on to an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature. There’s a pattern of winners, too, that would seem to predict that Minding the Gap should take home the Academy Award.

As usual, some voters included or added on titles that have not yet been officially released in the U.S. You can find an alphabetical list of those documentaries after the ranking of eligible films. Be sure to check out all the contributors’ individual lists here.

1. Minding the Gap (705)
2. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (638)
3. Shirkers (450)
4. Free Solo (400)
5. Three Identical Strangers (358)
6. Hale County This Morning, This Evening (319)
7. RBG (269)
8. Bisbee ’17 (254)
9. Crime + Punishment (177)
10. Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (165)

They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead

11. They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (153)
12. McQueen (136)
13. (tie) Of Fathers and Sons (132)
Science Fair (132)
15. John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (101)
16. Filmworker (91)
17. On Her Shoulders (77)
18. The King (75)
19. (tie) Love, Gilda (74)
Studio 54 (74)

306 Hollywood

21. 306 Hollywood (70)
22. Monrovia, Indiana (65)
23. Amazing Grace (64)
24. United Skates (61)
25. (tie) Makala (60)
Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (60)
27. Dark Money (59)
28. Dead Souls (57)
29. They Shall Not Grow Old (55)
30. The Price of Everything (52)

Wild Wild Country

31. Wild Wild Country (51)
32. Infinite Football (48)
33. (tie) Fahrenheit 11/9 (47)
Hal (47)
35. The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling (46)
36. (tie) 24 Frames (45)
Call Her Ganda (45)
People’s Republic of Desire (45)
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda (45)
Whitney (45)

The Road Movie

41. The Road Movie (44)
42. El Mar La Mar (40)
43. Making a Murderer S2 (39)
44. Bathtubs Over Broadway (38)
45. Andre the Giant (37)
46. American Animals (35)
47. The Great Buster: A Celebration (34)
48. (tie) Flint Town (33)
Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. (33)
50. (tie) Charm City (31)
Evil Genius (31)


52. (tie) Caniba (30)
Distant Constellation (30)
Hitler’s Hollywood (30)
The World Before Your Feet (30)
56. Active Measures (29)
57. America to Me (28)
58. (tie) Good Luck (27)
Jane Fonda in Five Acts (27)
Mercury 13 (27)

The Cage Fighter

61. The Cage Fighter (25)
62. The Sentence (24)
63. Reversing Roe (22)
64. (tie) Always at the Carlyle (20)
Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes (20)
Pope Francis: A Man of His Word (20)
Springsteen On Broadway (20)
Warriors of Liberty City (20)
69. (tie) Bad Reputation (19)
Saving Brinton (19)

The Dawn Wall

71. (tie) The Dawn Wall (18)
Life in the Doghouse (18)
Prototype (18)
Quincy (18)
Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland (18)
Shoah: Four Sisters (18)
The Staircase: An American Murder Mystery (18)
Tea With the Dames (18)
79. (tie) How to Live With Regret (17)
Love Means Zero (17)
Nuuca (17)
The Pain of Others (17)

The Director and the Jedi

83. (tie) The Director and the Jedi (16)
The Happiest Guy in the World (16)
Maria By Callas (16)
The Other Side of Everything (16)
87. (tie) Being Serena (15)
Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat     (15)
The Dundee Project (15)
Mountain (15)
Seeing Allred (15)

Fail State

92. (tie) Fail State (14)
Liyana (14)
Lots of Kids, a Monkey, and a Castle (14)
McKellen: Playing the Part (14)
Old Dog (14)
Pure Flix and Chill: The David A.R. White Story (14)
The Rachel Divide (14)
Rock Rubber 45s (14)
100. (tie) The Bleeding Edge (13)
The Cleaners (13)
A Night at the Garden (13)
Nossa Chape (13)
Pick of the Litter (13)
Weaving (13)

Bumpin Mics

106. (tie) Bumping Mics (12)
Dogs (12)
Getting Over (12)
In Search of Greatness (12)
Making Fun: The Story of Funko (12)
Notes From Dunblane: Lessons From a School Shooting (12)

Ask the Sexpert

111. (tie) Ask the Sexpert (11)
A Dangerous Son (11)
Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable (11)
North Pole, NY (11)
Recovery Boys (11)
116. (tie) The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From a    Mythical Man (10)
Generation Wealth (10)
Half the Picture (10)
The Last Race (10)
Survivor’s Guide to Prison (10)

Exit Music

The following 40 titles mentioned on individual lists or given a special mention have not yet officially been released in the U.S.:

American Dharma
Angels Are Made of Light
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
The Biggest Little Farm (opens 4/5/19)
Black Mother (opens 3/8/19)
Blowin’ Up
Chris the Swiss
Combat Obscura
Communion (opens 1/4/19)
The Distant Barking of Dogs
Exit Music
The Feeling of Being Watched
For the Birds
Le Fort des Fous
The Grand Bizarre
Graves Without a Name
Life After Flash (releases 3/26/19)
Making Montgomery Clift
The Money Stone
Moroni for President
Roll Red Roll
The Russian Five
Shut Up and Play the Piano
The Silence of Others (opens Spring 2019)
A Thousand Thoughts
Up to Snuff
What is Democracy? (opens 1/16/19)
What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?
Wolfman’s Got Nards
Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin
Yours in Sisterhood

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.