Critics' Choice Documentary Awards: '13th,' 'O.J.: Made in America' and 'Gleason' Nomination Leaders

The offshoot of the Critics' Choice Awards will honor big screen and small screen docs in 14 different categories at a ceremony in Brooklyn on Nov. 3.
'13th,' 'O.J.: Made in America,' 'Gleason'

Nominations for the inaugural Critics' Choice Documentary Awards, an event organized and voted upon by members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association to celebrate big screen and small screen docs, have been announced, and Ava DuVernay's 13th (Netflix), Ezra Edelman's 30 for 30: O.J.: Made in America (ESPN) and Clay Tweel's Gleason (Amazon/Open Road) lead the field with five nominations each. Full disclosure: I belong to both the BFCA and BTJA and served as chair of the jury charged with considering big screen docs; another jury considered TV/streaming docs.

CCDA winners will be revealed at a gala event on Thursday, Nov. 3 at BRIC, in Brooklyn.

"It is an amazing time for documentaries," BFCA and BTJA president Joey Berlin said in a statement, "with an ever-increasing number of platforms enabling producers to reach enthusiastic and growing audiences for non-fiction storytelling. This is clearly demonstrated in the depth and quality of our inaugural nominees. We have a wealth of brilliant creators who are bringing to light some of the most entertaining and illuminating stories being told today."

CCDA jurors were instructed to consider all docs eligible for an Oscar in the film categories and all docs eligible for an Emmy in the TV categories; many titles were eligible, but few were nominated, in both areas. Screenings or screeners of eligible titles were made available to members of the respective juries, who subsequently discussed and debated their options over a period of several weeks.

The top film category, best documentary feature (film), is comprised of 10 nominees: 13th, O.J. and Gleason, as well as Cameraperson; Fire at Sea; Life, Animated; TickledTowerWeiner and The Witness. 13th also is among the 10 nominees in the 10 TV/streaming category, best documentary feature (TV/streaming), along with O.J.; Fantastic Lies; Amanda Knox; Audrie & Daisy; Before the FloodHoly Hell; Into the InfernoJim: The James Foley Story; Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures and Rats.

Select BFCA and BTJA members will be invited to choose the winners during the second phase of voting, which will span Oct. 31 through Nov. 1.

Here is a full list of the nominations they will consider:

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE (FILM)

13th (Netflix/Kandoo Films)

30 For 30: O.J.: Made in America (ESPN/Laylow Films)

Cameraperson (Janus Films/Fork Films/Big Mouth Productions)

Fire at Sea (Kino Lorber/Stemal Entertainment/21 Unofilm/Cinecittà Luce/Rai Cinema/Les Films d'Ici/Arte France Cinéma)

Gleason (Open Road/Amazon/Exhibit A)

Life, Animated (A&E IndieFilms/The Orchard/Motto Pictures/Roger Ross Williams Productions)

Tickled (Magnolia/A Ticklish Tale/Fumes Production/Horseshoe Films)

Tower (Kino Lorber/ITVS/Meredith Vieira Productions/GTS Films/Diana DiMenna Film)

Weiner (Sundance Selects/Motto Pictures/Edgeline Films)

The Witness (FilmRise/Five More Minutes Productions)

BEST DIRECTION OF A DOCUMENTARY FEATURE (FILM)

Ezra Edelman – 30 For 30: O.J.: Made in America (ESPN/Laylow Films)

Ron Howard – The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years (Hulu/White Horse Pictures/Imagine Entertainment/Apple Corps)

Kirsten Johnson – Cameraperson (Janus Films/Fork Films/Big Mouth Productions)

Keith Maitland – Tower (Kino Lorber/ITVS/Meredith Vieira Productions/GTS Films/Diana DiMenna Film)

Clay Tweel – Gleason (Open Road/Amazon/Exhibit A)

Roger Ross Williams – Life, Animated (A&E IndieFilms/The Orchard/Motto Pictures/Roger Ross Williams Productions)

BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE (FILM)

Otto Bell – The Eagle Huntress (Sony Pictures Classics/Kissaki Films/Stacey Reiss Productions)

David Farrier and Dylan Reeve – Tickled (Magnolia/A Ticklish Tale/Fumes Production/Horseshoe Films)

Adam Irving – Off the Rails (The Film Collaborative/Zipper Bros Films)

Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg – Weiner (Sundance Selects/Motto Pictures/Edgeline Films)

James D. Solomon – The Witness (FilmRise/Five More Minutes Productions)

Nanfu Wang – Hooligan Sparrow (The Film Collaborative/Little Horse Crossing the River)

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY

13th (Netflix/Kandoo Films)

30 For 30: O.J.: Made in America (ESPN/Laylow Films)

Audrie & Daisy (Netflix/Actual Films)

Newtown (Abramorama/Mile 22/Independent Television Service)

Weiner (Sundance Selects/Motto Pictures/Edgeline Films)

Zero Days (Magnolia/Jigsaw Productions/Participant Media)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE (TV/STREAMING)

13th (Netflix/Kandoo Films)

30 For 30: Fantastic Lies (ESPN)

Amanda Knox (Netflix/Plus Pictures)

Audrie & Daisy (Netflix/Actual Films)

Before the Flood (National Geographic/Appian Way/Insurgent Docs/RatPac Documentary Films)

Holy Hell (CNN/WRA Productions)

Into the Inferno (Netflix/Herzog-Film/Matter of Fact Media/Spring Films)

Jim: The James Foley Story (HBO/Kunhardt Films)

Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (HBO/Film Manufacturers/World of Wonder Productions)

Rats (Discovery Channel/Dakota Group/Submarine Entertainment/Warrior Poets)

BEST DIRECTOR (TV/STREAMING)

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato –  Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (HBO/Film Manufacturers/World of Wonder Productions)

Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn – Amanda Knox (Netflix/Plus Pictures)

Ava DuVernay – 13th (Netflix/Kandoo Films)

Werner Herzog – Into the Inferno (Netflix/Herzog-Film/Matter of Fact Media/Spring Films)

Morgan Spurlock – Rats (Discovery Channel/Dakota Group/Submarine Entertainment/Warrior Poets)

Fisher Stevens – Before the Flood (National Geographic/Appian Way/Insurgent Docs/RatPac Documentary Films)

BEST FIRST FEATURE (TV/STREAMING)

Everything is Copy – Jacob Bernstein and Nick Hooker (HBO/Loveless)

Holy Hell – Will Allen (CNN/WRA Productions)

Mavis! – Jessica Edwards (HBO/Film First Co.)

My Beautiful Broken Brain – Sophie Robinson and Lotje Sodderland (Netflix)

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four – Deborah Esquenazi (Investigation Discovery/Motto Pictures/Naked Edge Films)

Team Foxcatcher – Jon Greenhalgh (Netflix/Hattasan Productions/Madrose Productions)

BEST LIMITED DOCUMENTARY SERIES

30 For 30: O.J.: Made in America (ESPN/Laylow Films)

The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth (Showtime/Left/Right)

The Eighties (CNN)

The Hunt (BBC America/Silverback Films/NDR Naturfilm)

Jackie Robinson (PBS/Florentine Films)

Soundbreaking: Stories From the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music (PBS/Higher Ground/Show of Force)

BEST ONGOING DOCUMENTARY SERIES

30 for 30 (ESPN)

Frontline (PBS)

Last Chance U (Netflix) 

Morgan Spurlock Inside Man (CNN) 

POV (PBS)

This Is Life with Lisa Ling (CNN)

BEST SONG IN A DOCUMENTARY

“Angel by the Wings” – The Eagle Huntress – Written by Sia – Performed by Sia (Sony Pictures Classics/Kissaki Films/Stacey Reiss Productions)

“The Empty Chair” – Jim: The James Foley Story – Written by Sting and J. Ralph – Performed by Sting (HBO/Kunhardt Films)

“Flicker” – Audrie & Daisy – Written by Tori Amos – Performed by Tori Amos (Netflix/Actual Films)

“Hoping and Healing” – Gleason – Written by Mike McCready – Performed by Mike McCready (Open Road/Amazon/Exhibit A)

“I’m Still Here” – Miss Sharon Jones! – Written by Sharon Jones – Performed by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (Cabin Creek Films/Starz Digital Media)

“Letters to the Free” – 13th – Written by Common, Karriem Riggins and Robert Glasper – Performed by Common featuring Bilal (Netflix/Kandoo Films)

BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY

30 For 30: Fantastic Lies (ESPN)

30 For 30: O.J.: Made in America (ESPN/Laylow Films)

Dark Horse (Sony Pictures Classics)

The Eagle Huntress (Sony Pictures Classics/Kissaki Films/Stacey Reiss Productions)

Gleason (Open Road/Amazon/Exhibit A)

Jackie Robinson (PBS/Florentine Films)

Keepers of the Game (Tribeca Digital Studios/Flatbush Pictures)

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years (Hulu/White Horse Pictures/Imagine Entertainment/Apple Corps)

Gimme Danger (Magnolia/Amazon)

Miss Sharon Jones! (Cabin Creek Films/Starz Digital Media)

The Music of Strangers (Participant Media/Tremolo Productions)

Presenting Princess Shaw (Magnolia)

We Are X (Drafthouse Films)

MOST INNOVATIVE DOCUMENTARY

Cameraperson (Janus Films/Fork Films/Big Mouth Productions)

Kate Plays Christine (Grasshopper Film/4th Row Films/Faliro House Productions/Prewar Cinema Productions)

Life, Animated (A&E IndieFilms/The Orchard/Motto Pictures/Roger Ross Williams Productions)

Nuts (Amazon/mTuckman Media/Cartuna/Gland Power Films)

Tower (Kino Lorber/ITVS/Meredith Vieira Productions/GTS Films/Diana DiMenna Film

Under the Sun (Icarus Films/Vertov Studio/Saxonia Entertainment/Hypermarket Film)

MOST COMPELLING LIVING SUBJECT OF A DOCUMENTARY

Danny Fields - Danny Says (Magnolia/Outre Films)

Iggy Pop - Gimme Danger (Magnolia/Amazon)

Kirsten Johnson – Cameraperson (Janus Films/Fork Films/Big Mouth Productions)

Owen Suskind - Life, Animated (A&E IndieFilms/The Orchard/Motto Pictures/Roger Ross Williams Productions)

Sharon Jones - Miss Sharon Jones! (Cabin Creek Films/Starz Digital Media)

Steve Gleason – Gleason (Open Road/Amazon/Exhibit A)

Theo Padnos - Theo Who Lived (Zeitgeist Films)

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