Critics Choice Documentary Awards Winners


(Brooklyn, NY – November 10, 2019) – The Critics Choice Association (CCA) announced the winners of the fourth annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards tonight at a gala event, hosted by HGTV’s Property Brothers Jonathan Scott at BRIC in Brooklyn.


Apollo 11 took home the evening’s most prestigious award for Best Documentary Feature as well as Best Editing for Todd Douglas Miller, Best Score for Matt Morton, Best Archival Documentary, and Best Science/Nature Documentary.


There was a tie for Best Director between Peter Jackson for They Shall Not Grow Old, and Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar for American Factory. They Shall Not Grow Old also brought home the award for Most Innovative Documentary. American Factory also won the award for Best Political Documentary.


“Once again, we are thrilled to celebrate and support the vibrant and groundbreaking work of these talented documentarians. We are proud that our yearly gala event has become an informed and valuable way for people to find the best films out there and for the work of these filmmakers to find their audiences,” said CCA CEO Joey Berlin. “It was a great night of lauding the greats in the documentary field as well as some outstanding newcomers.”


At the ceremony a special new honor, The D A Pennebaker Award, was  presented to legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman. The award, formerly known as the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award, is named for prior winner D A Pennebaker, who passed away last summer. It was presented by filmmaker Chris Hegedus, Pennebaker’s long-time collaborator and widow.

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Acclaimed filmmaker Michael Apted was presented with The Landmark Award, an honor bestowed upon him for his extraordinary and unparalleled achievement with the Up series, which has just added 63 Up, distributed by BritBox, to this historic work. The award was presented by Michael Moore, who was honored with the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award last year.


Presenters at the star-studded event included Jim Gaffigan (The Pale Tourist Comedy Tour), Zooey Deschanel, Rose McGowan (Citizen Rose), Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Wyatt Cenac (Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas), Lou Diamond Phillips, Gloria Reuben (Mr. Robot), Erich Bergen (Madam Secretary), Nicole J. Butler and Reggie Currelley (She Shed State Farm commercial), Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show), Ryan Serhant (Million Dollar Listing New York), and Amir Arison (The Blacklist).


The award for Best Cinematography went to John Chester for The Biggest Little Farm.


Best Narration went to Bruce Springsteen for Western Stars.


Honeyland took home the award for Best First Documentary Feature for directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov.


The award for Best Biographical Documentary went to Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.


The Best Music Documentary award went to Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.


Maiden won the Best Sports Documentary award.


The Best Short Documentary Award was given to Period. End of Sentence.


This year’s honorees for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary are Dr. Amani Ballor (The Cave), David Crosby (David Crosby: Remember My Name), Tracy Edwards (Maiden), Imelda Marcos (The Kingmaker), Hatidze Muratova (Honeyland), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin (Knock Down the House), Linda Ronstadt (Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice), and Dr. Ruth Westheimer (Ask Dr. Ruth).

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Last year, the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards introduced the Catalyst Sponsorship, a program for industry leaders to support the event. The 2019 sponsors include National Geographic Documentary Films, Netflix and Showtime Documentary Films..



The fourth annual awards ceremony took place Sunday, November 10, 2019 at BRIC in Brooklyn, New York. The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards was again produced by Bob Bain Productions.



The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards are an off-shoot of The Critics’ Choice Awards, which are bestowed annually by CCA to honor the finest in cinematic and television achievement. Historically, the Critics’ Choice Awards are the most accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations.


The CW Television Network will again partner with CCA as the exclusive broadcast home for the 25th annual Critics’ Choice Awards, honoring the finest achievements in both movies and television as part of a three-hour special on The CW on January 12, 2020. For more information, visit:


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Best Documentary Feature – Apollo 11(Neon)


Best Director – TIE – Peter Jackson – They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.)

Best Director – TIE – Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar – American Factory(Netflix)


Best Cinematography – John Chester – The Biggest Little Farm (Neon)


Best Editing – Todd Douglas Miller – Apollo 11 (Neon)

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Best Score – Matt Morton – Apollo 11(Neon)


Best Narration – Bruce SpringsteenWestern Stars (Warner Bros.)


Best First Documentary Feature – Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov – Honeyland (Neon)


Best Archival Documentary – Apollo 11(Neon)


Best Biographical Documentary – Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (Magnolia)


Best Music Documentary – Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice(Greenwich)


Best Political Documentary – American Factory (Netflix)


Best Science/Nature Documentary – Apollo 11 (Neon)


Best Sports Documentary – Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics)


Most Innovative Documentary – They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.)


Best Short Documentary – Period. End of Sentence. (Netflix)


Discretionary Awards:


The D A Pennebaker Award – Frederick Wiseman


The Landmark Award – Michael Apted

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