“Still,” a documentary about Michael J. Fox’s battle with Parkinson’s Disease, and “American Symphony,” about musician Jon Batiste and his wife’s leukemia, were the big winners at the Critics Choice Documentary Awards last night in New York.
The evening, which was streamed from the Edison Hotel Ballroom, marked the return of Hollywood promotional activities following the end of the actors’ strike. Several SAG members showed up and expressed their relief about including Natasha Lyonne and Erich Bergen, among others. Director-actor Benny Safdie — wearing a dazzling chartreuse suit — turned up as a guest to support his friends who made HBO’s, “Telemarketers,” which tied for True Crime Documentary with “John Lennon: Murder without a Trial.”
“Still” and “American Symphony,” as well as “20 Days in Mariupol,” broke out of the crowd of documentaries that the CCA list and could be headed to the Oscars.
Jon Batiste is Golden right now: he won Best Score for his work on American Symphony and the film also took home the award for Best Music Documentary. This is on top of the Grammy nominations he picked up a few days ago for his latest album.
Among the winners was top young composer Kris Bowers, who was discovered at Julliard Music School by Aretha Franklin. Bowers won Best Short Documentary for “The Last Repair Shop,” a film he produced and scored and is also headed to the Oscars.
At the ceremony, the Pennebaker Award was presented to acclaimed documentary film maker Ross McElwee, whose many credits include the classic film, “Sherman’s March.” The award, formerly known as the Critics Choice Lifetime Achievement Award, is named in memory of legendary filmmaker D A Pennebaker, who had previously won the award.
National Geographic Documentary Films sponsored the evening. Congrats to CCA president Joey Berlin and the show’s producers. The entire production was top notch, as was the after party at Bond 45. This is the classy way to put on an awards show!
Winners of the Eighth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
Davis Guggenheim – Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Mstyslav Chernov – 20 Days in Mariupol
Tim Cragg – The Deepest Breath
Michael Harte – Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
Jon Batiste – American Symphony
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie – Written and Performed by Michael J. Fox
BEST ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTARY
Being Mary Tyler Moore
BEST HISTORICAL DOCUMENTARY
JFK: One Day in America
BEST BIOGRAPHICAL DOCUMENTARY
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY
BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY
20 Days in Mariupol
BEST SCIENCE/NATURE DOCUMENTARY
Secrets of the Elephants
BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY
The Deepest Breath
BEST TRUE CRIME DOCUMENTARY – TIE
Lennon: Murder Without a Trial
BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY
The Last Repair Shop
The Critics Choice Awards ceremony will be held on January 14, 2024 at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Century City, CA, and will be broadcast live on The CW.