Last night was the inaugural Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, which I was proud to be a part of, and it was a wonderful night for makers and lovers of nonfiction film. We honored D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus with Lifetime Achievement Awards and enjoyed a magic trick from host Penn Jillette, whose opening monologue was rather Wellesian for its acknowledgment that documentaries are themselves magic tricks.
Below you can find the winners, including 13th, which took three awards, and O.J.: Made in America, which took four, with both films being named best feature of the year, the former for TV/Streaming and the latter for Theatrical. I did learn from director Ezra Edelman that he always intended for and still sees O.J. as a long feature film rather than a limited series for TV. Well, I’m still happy it won for both.
Best Documentary (Theatrical Feature) — O.J.: Made in America
Best Director (Theatrical Feature) — Ezra Edelman — O.J.: Made in America
Best Documentary (TV/Streaming) — 13th
Best Director (TV/Streaming) — Ava DuVernay — 13th
Best First Documentary (Theatrical Feature) — Jack Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg — Weiner
Best First Documentary (TV/Streaming) — (TIE) — Jacob Bernstein and Nick Hooker — Everything Is Copy — Nora Ephron: Scripted and Unscripted and Deborah Esquenazi — Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four
Best Political Documentary — 13th
Best Sports Documentary — O.J.: Made in America
Best Music Documentary — The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years
Best Song in a Documentary — “I’m Still Here” — Miss Sharon Jones — Written by Sharon Jones — Performed by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Best Limited Documentary Series — O.J.: Made in America
Best Ongoing Documentary Series — 30 for 30
Most Innovative Documentary — The Tower