Critics Choice Doc Awards: 'Dick Johnson Is Dead' Wins Best Feature

Dick Johnson Is Dead - Sundance - U.S. DOCU - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Sundance

Kirsten Johnson won best director, with 'My Octopus Teacher' taking the best cinematography and best science/nature documentary prizes.

The winners of the 2020 Critics Choice Documentary Awards were unveiled Monday morning, with Dick Johnson is Dead taking the top prize of best documentary feature as well as best director for Kirsten Johnson.

The other film winning two awards is My Octopus Teacher, which won best cinematography and best science/nature documentary.

Mr. SOUL!, which scored five nominations, won best first documentary feature. Crip Camp, from Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground production company, and Neon's Gunda also scored five nominations but didn't win any awards.

Dick Johnson is Dead, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, features the younger Johnson filming her aging father in a cross between a premature obituary and humorous love letter to her dad, who goes along with the joke.

“We couldn’t be more excited about being able to celebrate such a diverse group of films and filmmakers and subjects this year of all years, on the fifth occasion of the CCDAs, and with 2020 being what it is,” said Christopher Campbell, president of the Critics Choice Association documentary branch. “The world needs this variety of storytelling now more than ever, and all of these documentaries moved us in unique ways. We are proud that we could still support these films and share the best of the best with nonfiction fans. Our only regret is that we couldn’t do so while also honoring the talented artists and their incredible work in person.”

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year's winners weren't able to celebrate with an in-person ceremony, but they recorded acceptance videos, which are available here.

The nominees, announced in October, were determined by the Critics Choice Association's documentary nominating committee. Winners were determined by all qualified CCA members. The awards recognize achievements in documentaries released in theaters, on TV and on major digital platforms.

A full list of winners follows.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Dick Johnson is Dead (Netflix) (WINNER)

Athlete A
(Netflix)
Belushi (Showtime)
Crip Camp (Netflix)
Feels Good Man (Wavelength Productions/PBS Independent Lens)
The Fight (Magnolia/Topic Studios)
The Go-Go’s (Showtime)
Gunda (Neon)
Mr. SOUL! (Shoes in the Bed Productions)
My Octopus Teacher (Netflix)
The Painter and the Thief (Neon)
A Secret Love (Netflix)
The Social Dilemma (Netflix)
Time (Amazon)

BEST DIRECTOR
Kirsten Johnson, Dick Johnson is Dead (Netflix) (WINNER)

Garrett Bradley, Time (Amazon)
Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, Athlete A (Netflix)
Victor Kossakovsky, Gunda (Neon)
James Lebrecht and Nicole Newnham, Crip Camp (Netflix)
Dawn Porter, John Lewis: Good Trouble (Magnolia/Participant)
Benjamin Ree, The Painter and the Thief (Neon)

BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Melissa Haizlip, Mr. SOUL! (Shoes in the Bed Productions) (WINNER)

Robert S. Bader, Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes (HBO)
Chris Bolan, A Secret Love (Netflix)
Arthur Jones, Feels Good Man (Wavelength Productions/PBS Independent Lens)
Elizabeth Leiter and Kim Woodard, Jane Goodall: The Hope (National Geographic)
Elizabeth Lo, Stray (Magnolia)
Sasha Joseph Neulinger, Rewind (Grizzly Creek Films/PBS Independent Lens)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Roger Horrocks, My Octopus Teacher (Netflix) (WINNER)

Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw, The Truffle Hunters (Sony Classics)
Kirsten Johnson, Dick Johnson is Dead (Netflix)
Victor Kossakovsky and Egil Håskjold Larsen, Gunda (Neon)
Scott Ressler, Neil Gelinas and Stefan Wiesen, The Last Ice (National Geographic)
Gianfranco Rosi, Notturno (Stemal Entertainment)
Ruben Woodin Dechamps, The Reason I Jump (Kino Lorber)

BEST EDITING
Lindy Jankura and Alex Keipper, Totally Under Control (Neon) (WINNER)

Don Bernier, Athlete A (Netflix)
Eli Despres, Greg Finton and Kim Roberts, The Fight (Magnolia/Topic Studios)
Helen Kearns, Assassins (Greenwich)
Victor Kossakovsky and Ainara Vera, Gunda (Neon)
Eileen Meyer and Andrew Gersh, Crip Camp (Netflix)
Charlotte Munch Bengtsen, The Truffle Hunters (Sony Classics)

BEST SCORE
Marco Beltrami, Brandon Roberts and Buck Sanders, The Way I See It (Focus) (WINNER)

Ari Balouzian and Ryan Hope, Feels Good Man (Wavelength Productions/PBS Independent Lens)
Tyler Durham, Sven Faulconer and Xander Rodzinski, The Last Ice (National Geographic)
Peter Nashel and Brian Deming, Totally Under Control (Neon)
Daniel Pemberton, Rising Phoenix (Netflix)
Jeff Tweedy, Long Gone Summer (ESPN)
Jeff Tweedy, Spencer Tweedy and Sammy Tweedy, Showbiz Kids (HBO)

BEST NARRATION
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (Netflix), David Attenborough, narrator/writer (WINNER)

Dick Johnson is Dead (Netflix), Kirsten Johnson, narrator/writer
Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds (Apple), Werner Herzog, narrator/writer
Mr. SOUL! (Shoes in the Bed Productions), Blair Underwood, narrator, Ellis Haizlip, writer
My Octopus Teacher (Netflix), Craig Foster, narrator/writer
Time (Amazon), Fox Rich, narrator/writer
Totally Under Control (Neon), Alex Gibney, narrator/writer

BEST ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTARY
MLK/FBI (Field of Vision/IFC Films) (WINNER)

Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes
(HBO)
Belushi (Showtime)
Class Action Park (HBO)
Crip Camp (Netflix)
Mr. SOUL! (Shoes in the Bed Productions)
Spaceship Earth (Neon)

BEST HISTORICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL DOCUMENTARY
John Lewis: Good Trouble (Magnolia/Participant) (WINNER)

Belushi
(Showtime)
Crip Camp (Netflix)
Howard (Disney+)
Mr. SOUL! (Shoes in the Bed Production)
Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado (Netflix)
Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind (HBO)

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY
Beastie Boys Story (Apple) (WINNER - TIE)

The Go-Go's (Showtime) (WINNER - TIE)
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan (Magnolia)
Laurel Canyon (Epix)
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (Magnolia)
Other Music (Factory 25)
Zappa (Magnolia)

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY
Boys State (Apple) (WINNER)
All In: The Fight for Democracy
(Amazon)
John Lewis: Good Trouble (Magnolia/Participant)
MLK/FBI (Field of Vision/IFC Films)
The Social Dilemma (Netflix)
Totally Under Control (Neon)
The Way I See It (Focus)

BEST SCIENCE/NATURE DOCUMENTARY
My Octopus Teacher (Netflix) (WINNER)
Coded Bias
(7th Empire Media/PBS Independent Lens)
Fantastic Fungi (Moving Art)
Gunda (Neon)
I Am Greta (Hulu)
The Last Ice (National Geographic)
Spaceship Earth (Neon)

BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY
Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes (HBO) (WINNER - TIE)

Athlete A (Netflix) (WINNER - TIE)
Be Water (ESPN)
A Most Beautiful Thing (50 Eggs Films)
Red Penguins (Universal)
Rising Phoenix (Netflix)
You Cannot Kill David Arquette (Super LTD)

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY
St. Louis Superman (MTV Documentary Films) (WINNER)

Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible
(ESPN)
The Claudia Kishi Club (Netflix)
Crescendo! (Quibi)
Elevator Pitch (Field of Vision)
Hunger Ward (Spin Film/Vulcan Productions/RYOT Films)
Into the Fire (National Geographic)
My Father the Mover (MTV)
The Rifleman (Field of Vision)
The Speed Cubers (Netflix)

MOST COMPELLING LIVING SUBJECTS OF A DOCUMENTARY (HONOR)
Dr. Rick Bright - Totally Under Control (Neon)
Steven Garza - Boys State (Apple)
The Go-Go's - The Go-Go's (Showtime)
Judith Heumann - Crip Camp (Netflix)
Dick Johnson - Dick Johnson is Dead (Netflix)
Maggie Nichols, Rachael Denhollander, Jamie Dantzscher - Athlete A (Netflix)
Fox Rich - Time (Amazon)
Pete Souza - The Way I See It (Focus)
Taylor Swift - Miss Americana (Netflix)
Greta Thunberg - I Am Greta (Hulu)