Critics' Choice Documentary Awards: 'Free Solo,' 'Minding the Gap,' 'Wild Wild Country' Lead Noms

9:00 AM 10/15/2018

by Kimberly Nordyke

The awards will be handed out Nov. 10 at a ceremony in New York.

Wild Wild Country Still 2 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Netflix

Free Solo leads the nominations for the third annual Critics' Choice Documentary Awards.

Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi's doc — which follows rock climber Alex Honnold as he scales Yosemite's El Capitan without a rope — garnered a total of six noms, including best documentary, best directors, best sports documentary, most innovative documentary, best cinematography and best editing, along with a most compelling living subject of a documentary honor for Alex Honnold.

Bing Liu's Minding the Gap, which examines skateboarding and toxic masculinity, and Chapman Way and Maclain Way's Wild Wild Country, about a guru cult's Oregon expansion in the '80s, followed with five noms each, including best documentary for both.

Following with four noms each are Kimberly Reed's Dark Money, which examines the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials; Rüdiger Suchsland's Hitler’s Hollywood, which examines some of the more than 1,000 features the Nazis produced from 1933 to 1945; and Morgan Neville's Mr. Rogers doc Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Tim Wardle's Three Identical Strangers earned three noms and an honor.

The awards will be handed out by the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association at a gala event, hosted by science educator and television personality Bill Nye, on Nov. 10 at BRIC in Brooklyn.

At the ceremony, filmmaker Stanley Nelson will be presented with the Critics' Choice Impact Award. As previously announced, multiple award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore will be honored with the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award.

Robert De Niro will present Moore with his award, while Joe Berlinger will present Nelson's award. Other presenters will include Rashida Jones (Quincy), Matt Dillon, Natasha Lyonne, Pamela Adlon, Steve James (America to Me), David Kellman/Bobby Shafran (Three Identical Strangers), Ryan Fox/Anjali Chadha/Dr. Serena McCalla (Science Fair), Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi/Alex Honnold (Free Solo) and Morgan Neville (Won’t You Be My Neighbor?).

For the first time, the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards has introduced the Catalyst Sponsorship, a program for industry leaders to support the event.

Said Broadcast Film Critics Association president Joey Berlin: "The year 2018 has been called 'The Year of the Documentary,' and we are so happy to give these films and shows the recognition and high praise that they deserve."

A full list of nominees follows.

Updated 10:35 a.m. Nov. 5: Added names of presenters.

  • Best Documentary

    Won't You Be My Neighbor? (WINNER)
    Director: Morgan Neville (Focus Features)

    Crime + Punishment
    Director: Stephen Maing (Hulu)

    Dark Money
    Director: Kimberly Reed (PBS)

    Free Solo
    Directors: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (National Geographic Documentary Films)

    Hal
    Director: Amy Scott (Oscilloscope)

    Hitler's Hollywood
    Director: Rüdiger Suchsland (Kino Lorber)

    Minding the Gap
    Director: Bing Liu (Hulu)

    RBG
    Directors: Julie Cohen, Betsy West (Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media)

    Three Identical Strangers
    Director: Tim Wardle (Neon, CNN Films)

    Wild Wild Country
    Directors: Chapman Way, Maclain Way (Netflix)

  • Best Limited Documentary Series

    The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling (HBO) (WINNER)

    America to Me (Starz)

    Dirty Money (Netflix)

    Elvis Presley: The Searcher (HBO Documentary Films, Sony Pictures Television)

    Flint Town (Netflix)

    One Strange Rock (National Geographic)

    The Fourth Estate (Showtime Networks)

    Wild Wild Country (Netflix)

  • Best Ongoing Documentary Series

    Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (CNN) (WINNER)

    30 for 30 (ESPN)

    American Masters (PBS)

    Frontline (PBS)

    Independent Lens (PBS)

    Making a Murderer (Netflix)

    POV (PBS)

    The History of Comedy (CNN)

  • Best Director

    Morgan Neville (WINNER)
    Won't You Be My Neighbor? (Focus Features)

    Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
    Free Solo (National Geographic Documentary Film)

    Bing Liu
    Minding the Gap (Hulu)

    Kimberly Reed
    Dark Money (PBS)

    Rudiger Suchsland
    Hitler's Hollywood (Kino Lorber)

    Tim Wardle
    Three Identical Strangers (Neon, CNN Films)

  • Best First-Time Director

    Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster (WINNER, TIE)
    Science Fair (National Geographic Documentary Films)

    Bing Liu (WINNER, TIE)
    Minding the Gap (Hulu)

    Heather Lenz
    KusamaInfinity (Magnolia Pictures)

    Stephen Nomura Schible
    Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda (MUBI0

    Rudy Valdez
    The Sentence (HBO Documentary Films)

    Chapman Way and Maclain Way
    Wild Wild Country (Netflix)

  • Best Political Documentary

    RBG (WINNER)
    Directors: Julie Cohen, Betsy West (Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media)

    Dark Money
    Director: Kimberly Reed (PBS)

    Fahrenheit 11/9
    Director: Michael Moore (Briarcliff Entertainment)

    Flint Town
    Directors: Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper, Jessica Dimmock (Netflix)

    Hitler's Hollywood
    Director: Rüdiger Suchsland (Kino Lorber)

    John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls
    Directors: George Kunhardt, Peter W. Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt (HBO)

    The Fourth Estate
    Directors: Liz Garbus, Jenny Carchman (Showtime Networks)

  • Best Sports Documentary

    Free Solo (WINNER)
    Directors: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (National Geographic Documentary Film)

    Andre the Giant
    Director: Jason Hehir (HBO)

    Being Serena (HBO)

    John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection
    Director: Julien Faraut (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

    Minding the Gap
    Director: Bing Liu (Hulu)

    The Workers Cup
    Director: Adam Sobel (Passion River)

  • Best Music Documentary

    Quincy (WINNER)
    Directors: Alan Hicks, Rashida Jones (Netflix)

    Bad Reputation
    Director: Kevin Kerslake (Magnolia Pictures)

    David Bowie: The Last Five Years
    Director: Francis Whately (HBO Documentary Films)

    Elvis Presley: The Searcher
    Director: Thom Zimny (HBO Documentary Films, Sony Pictures Television)

    Lynyrd Skynyrd: If I Leave Here Tomorrow
    Director: Stephen Kijak (Showtime Networks)

    Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda
    Director: Stephen Nomura Schible (MUBI)

    Whitney 
    Director: Kevin Macdonald (Roadside Attractions, Miramax)

  • Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary

    Scotty Bowers
    Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (Greenwich Entertainment, Kino Lorber, Starz!)

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    RBG (Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media)

    Alex Honnold
    Free Solo (National Geographic Documentary Film)

    Joan Jett
    Bad Reputation (Magnolia Pictures)

    Quincy Jones
    Quincy (Netflix)

    David Kellman and Bobby Shafran
    Three Identical Strangers (Neon, CNN Films)

    John McEnroe
    John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

    Leon Vitali
    Filmworker (Kino Lorber)

  • Most Innovative Documentary

    Free Solo (WINNER)
    Directors: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (National Geographic Documentary Film)

    306 Hollywood
    Directors: Elan Bogarin, Jonathan Bogarin (PBS, El Tigre)

    Hitler's Hollywood
    Director: Rüdiger Suchsland (Kino Lorber)

    Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda
    Director: Stephen Nomura Schible (MUBI)

    Wild Wild Country
    Directors: Chapman Way, Maclain Way (Netflix)

    Won't You Be My Neighbor?
    Director: Morgan Neville (Focus Features)

  • Best Cinematography

    Free Solo (WINNER)
    Cinematographers: Jimmy Chin, Clair Popkin, Mikey Schaefer (National Geographic Documentary Film)

    306 Hollywood
    Cinematographers: Elan Bogarin, Jonathan Bogarin, Alejandro Mejía (PBS, El Tigre)

    The Dawn Wall
    Cinematographer: Brett Lowell (The Orchard)

    Minding the Gap
    Cinematographer: Bing Liu (Hulu)

    Pandas
    Cinematographer: David Douglas (Warner Bros.)

    Wild Wild Country
    Cinematographer: Adam Stone (Netflix)

  • Best Editing

    Won't You Be My Neighbor? (WINNER)
    Editors: Jeff Malmberg, Aaron Wickenden (Focus Features)

    Dark Money
    Editor: Jay Arthur Sterrenberg (PBS)

    Filmworker
    Editor: Tony Zierra (Kino Lorber)

    Free Solo
    Editor: Bob Eisenhardt (National Geographic Documentary Film)

    John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection
    Editor: Julien Faraut (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

    Three Identical Strangers
    Editor: Michael Harte (Neon, CNN Films)