Critics' Choice Documentary Awards: 'Apollo 11' Tops Winners List

4:22 PM 11/10/2019

by Kimberly Nordyke and Annie Howard

The doc won five awards at Sunday night's ceremony, including the top prize, as Frederick Wiseman and Michael Apted were presented with special honors.

'Apollo 11' Doc Still - H Publicity 2018

The winners of the fourth annual Critics' Choice Documentary Awards were unveiled Sunday night at a gala event.

Apollo 11 was named best documentary during the ceremony, which took place at BRIC in Brooklyn.

Overall, Apollo 11 also was the night's biggest winner, taking home a total of five awards — including best archival documentary, best science/nature doc, best editing and best score.

The award for best director resulted in a tie for Peter Jackson (They Shall Not Grow Old) and Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (American Factory). They Shall Not Grow Old also was named most innovative documentary, while American Factory also won the award for best political documentary,

Among the other winners were Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am and Bruce Springsteen for his narration of Western Stars.

During the ceremony, filmmaker Frederick Wiseman was honored with with the D.A. Pennebaker Award. The prize, which was formerly known as the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award, is named after the legendary documentarian, who died in August.

In addition, acclaimed director Michael Apted received the Landmark Award for his work on the Up series. Apted recently added 63 Up to his filmography.

Property Brothers star Jonathan Scott served as host of the awards show.

A full list of winners follows.

  • Best Documentary

    Apollo 11 (Neon) (WINNER)
    American Factory (Netflix)
    The Biggest Little Farm (Neon)
    The Cave (National Geographic)
    Honeyland (Neon)
    The Kingmaker (Showtime)
    Knock Down the House (Netflix)
    Leaving Neverland (HBO)
    Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics)
    One Child Nation (Amazon Studios)
    They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.)

  • Best Director

    Peter Jackson, They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.) (WINNER)
    Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, American Factory (Netflix) (WINNER)
    Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts, For Sama (PBS)
    John Chester, The Biggest Little Farm (Neon)
    Feras Fayyad, The Cave (National Geographic)
    Todd Douglas Miller, Apollo 11 (Neon)
    Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang, One Child Nation (Amazon Studios)

  • Best Archival Documentary

    Apollo 11 (Neon) (WINNER)
    Amazing Grace
     (Neon)
    Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Mike Wallace Is Here (Magnolia)
    Pavarotti (CBS Films)
    Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (Netflix)
    They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.)
    What's My Name: Muhammad Ali (HBO)

  • Most Innovative Documentary

    They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.) (WINNER)
    Aquarela
     (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Cold Case Hammarskjöld (Magnolia)
    Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (Netflix)
    Screwball (Greenwich)
    Serendipity (Cohen Media)

  • Best Sports Documentary

    Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics) (WINNER)
    Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable (Entertainment Studios)
    Diego Maradona (HBO)
    Rodman: For Better or Worse (ESPN)
    The Spy Behind Home Plate (Ciesla Foundation)
    What's My Name: Muhammad Ali (HBO)

  • Best Political Documentary

    American Factory (Netflix) (WINNER)
    The Edge of Democracy (Netflix)
    Hail Satan? (Magnolia)
    The Kingmaker (Showtime)
    Knock Down the House (Netflix)
    One Child Nation (Amazon Studios)

  • Best Biographical Documentary

    Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (Magnolia) (WINNER)
    David Crosby: Remember My Name
     (Sony Pictures Classics)
    The Kingmaker (Showtime)
    Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Greenwich)
    Love, Antosha (Lurker Films)
    Mike Wallace Is Here (Magnolia)
    Pavarotti (CBS Films)

  • Best Science/Nature Documentary

    Apollo 11 (Neon) (WINNER)
    Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
     (Kino Lorber)
    Aquarela (Sony Pictures Classic) 
    The Biggest Little Farm
     (Neon)
    The Elephant Queen (Apple)
    Honeyland (Neon)
    Penguins (Disney)
    Sea of Shadows (National Geographic)

  • Best First Documentary Feature

    Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, Honeyland (Neon) (WINNER)
    Midge Costin, Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound (Matson Films)
    A.J. Eaton, David Crosby: Remember My Name (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Pamela B. Green, Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (Kino Lorber/Zeitgeist Films)
    Richard Miron, For the Birds (Dogwoof)
    Garret Price, Love, Antosha (Lurker Films)

  • Best Cinematography

    John Chester, The Biggest Little Farm (Neon) (WINNER)
    Ben Bernhard and Viktor Kossakovsky, Aquarela (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma, Honeyland (Neon)
    Nicholas de Pencier, Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (Kino Lorber)
    Muhammed Khair Al Shami, Ammar Suleiman, and Mohammad Eyad, The Cave (National Geographic)
    Richard Ladkani, Sea of Shadows (National Geographic)

  • Best Editing

    Todd Douglas Miller, Apollo 11 (Neon) (WINNER)
    Georg Michael Fischer and Verena Schönauer, Sea of Shadows (National Geographic)
    Jabez Olssen, They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.)
    Amy Overbeck, The Biggest Little Farm (Neon)
    Lindsay Utz, American Factory (Netflix)
    Nanfu Wang, One Child Nation (Amazon Studios)

  • Best Short Documentary

    Period. End of Sentence. (Netflix) (WINNER)
    Director: Rayka Zehtabchi
    Producers: Melissa Berton, Garrett K. Schiff, Lisa Taback

    The Chapel at the Border (Atlantic Documentaries)
    Director: Jeremy Raff
    Producer: Jeremy Raff

    Death Row Doctor (The New York Times Op-Docs)
    Director: Lauren Knapp

    In the Absence (Field of Vision)
    Director: Yi Seung-Jun
    Producer: Gary Byung-Seok Kam

    Lost World
    Director: Kalyanee Mam
    Producers: Kalyanee Mam, Adam Loften, Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee

    Mack Wrestles (ESPN)
    Directors: Taylor Hess, Erin Sanger
    Producers: Taylor Hess, Erin Sanger, Erin Leyden, Gentry Kirby

    The Polaroid Job (The New York Times Op-Docs)
    Director: Mike Plante

    Sam and the Plant Next Door (The Guardian)
    Director: Ömer Sami
    Producer: Ömer Sami

    The Unconditional
    Director Dave Adams
    Producers: Dave Adams, Adam Soltis, Renee Woodruff Adams, Josie Swantek Heitz, Chris Tuss

    The Waiting Room (The Guardian)
    Director: Victoria Mapplebeck
    Producer: Victoria Mapplebeck

  • Best Narration

    Western Stars (Warner Bros.) (WINNER)
    Bruce Springsteen, narrator
    Bruce Springsteen, writer

    Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (Kino Lorber)
    Alicia Vikander, narrator
    Jennifer Baichwal, writer

    The Biggest Little Farm (Neon)
    John Chester, Molly Chester, narrators
    John Chester, writer

    The Edge of Democracy (Netflix)
    Petra Costa, narrator
    Petra Costa, Carol Pires, David Barker, Moara Passoni, writers

    The Elephant Queen (Apple)
    Chiwetel Ejiofor, narrator
    Mark Deeble, writer

    For Sama (PBS)
    Waad Al-Kateab, narrator
    Waad Al-Kateab, writer

    Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People (First Run)
    Adam Driver, narrator
    Oren Rudavsky, Bob Seidman, writers

    One Child Nation (Amazon Studios)
    Nanfu Wang, narrator
    Nanfu Wang, writer

  • Best Music Documentary

    Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Greenwich) (WINNER)
    Amazing Grace (Neon)
    David Crosby: Remember My Name (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (Abramorama)
    Pavarotti (CBS Films)
    Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (Netflix)
    Western Stars (Warner Bros.)

  • Best Score

    Matt Morton, Apollo 11 (Neon) (WINNER)
    Jeff Beal, The Biggest Little Farm (Neon)
    Matthew Herbert, The Cave (National Geographic)
    Plan 9, They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.)
    H. Scott Salinas, Sea of Shadows (National Geographic)
    Eicca Toppinen, Aquarela (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary

    Dr. Amani Ballor – The Cave (National Geographic)
    David Crosby – David Crosby: Remember My Name (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Tracy Edwards – Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Imelda Marcos – The Kingmaker (Showtime)
    Hatidze Muratova – Honeyland (Neon)
    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin – Knock Down the House (Netflix)
    Linda Ronstadt – Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Greenwich)
    Dr. Ruth Westheimer – Ask Dr. Ruth (Hulu)