Critics Choice Documentary Awards 2016

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ccdaAs proof positive of the trending interest in nonfiction film, the first-ever Critics Choice Documentary Awards (CCDA) were presented on November 3, 2016, at a gala event attended by leading documentary filmmakers, distributors and film critics. Presented by the BFCA and BTJA, the critics organizations behind the annual Critics Choice Movie Awards (to be presented on December 11), the documentary awards covered nonfiction films with theatrical releases and those shown on television or via online streaming. Nominees for the awards in thirteen categories were selected by nominating committes composed of members from BFCA and BTJA, but voting was open to all members of the two organizations, with the proviso that they must have seen all films nominated in each category for which they were voting.

The CCDAs are the first awards given in recognition of the various genres of documentary film by critics. The Golden Globes, also picked by critics, presents just two awards for documentaries — one for best documentary, the other for best documentary of historical interest.

The big winners of the CCDAs were Ezra Edelman’s seven-hour O.J.: Made in America and Ava Duvernay’s 13th, with both scoring Best Documentary and Best Director awards for theatrical release and TV, respectively. In total, O.J. scored four trophies, while 13th took three. Both films are contenders in the Oscars documentaries race, which only has one nonfiction category of Best Documentary.


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
  • 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 HereMiss 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

    DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for their lifelong dedication to documentaries. Pennebaker, 91, the filmmaker of classics such as “Don’t Look Back” and “The War Room,” reminisced about about his 40 year partnership with and marriage to Hegedus, saying “She came to see me for a job and I made sure she never left.” Their most recent film, Unlocking the Cage, did not win a CCDA, but is a potential Oscar nominee this year. Both Pennebaker and Hegedus have been previously nominated for Oscars.

    The two hour CCDA ceremony was held in Brooklyn at BRIC. Penn Jillette, who served as MC, amusingly flubbed some card tricks, but spoke most eloquently about the evolution and importance of the documentary genre. He co-wrote and produced the wonderful Tim’s Vermeer, which was nominated for the Critics Choice Movie Award for Best Documentary in 2014.

    Presenters included Barbara Koppel, Meredith Viera, Marshall Curry and Morgan Spurlock.

    For more information about the Critics Choice Documentary Awards, visit the BFCA Website

    DISCLOSURE: I am a voting member of the BFCA, and was on the nominating committee for the 2016 CCDAs.

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