“Apollo 11” snatched 5 wins at the Critics Choice Awards in Brooklyn Sunday night. Frederick Wiseman was presented the first ever DA Pennebaker Lifetime Achievement Award, and Michael Apted was saluted for a lifetime of filmmaking including his extraordinary series of films culminating in the new “63 Up.” The former award was presented by filmmaker Chris Hegedus in memory of her late husband. Michael Moore presented to Apted.
The awards ceremony, held at BRIC on the BAM campus, drew an appropriately starry crowd including Zoey Deschanel, who came with the evening’s emcee Jonathan Scott of “Property Brothers.” Other presenters were an eclectic group including Rose McGowan (Citizen Rose), Jim Gaffigan, 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).
Dr. Ruth received a nice standing ovation when she presented the Documentary Short Subject award. “I am short,” she said, “and I will make this short.” She’s 91 years young.
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. This could mean it’s set up nicely for the Oscars. But let’s not forget that last year’s winning doc, the popular “Will You Be My Neighbor?” by Morgan Neville, failed to score an Oscar nomination. It was bewildering. I do think “Apollo 11” will make it, however.
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.
Producer James Keach accepted the award for the Linda Ronstadt movie.
“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.”
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 an 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).