‘Apollo 11′ Wins Top Prize at Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards

Winners also include Bruce Springsteen for the narration to his film “Western Stars”

Apollo 11
CNN Films

“Apollo 11” has been named the best nonfiction film of 2019 at the fourth annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, which took place on Sunday evening at BRIC in Brooklyn, New York.

The chronicle of NASA’s 1969 moon mission won five awards in total, topping all other films at the ceremony voted on by film and television critics and journalists in the Critics’ Choice Association.

“Apollo 11” won in the Best Documentary Feature category that also included “American Factory,” “The Biggest Little Farm,” “The Cave,” “Honeyland,” “The Kingmaker,” “Knock Down the House,” “Maiden,” “One Child Nation,” “They Shall Not Grow Old” and the two-part HBO documentary series “Leaving Neverland.” (The Critics’ Choice rules do not differentiate between film and television docs.)

The Best Director category ended in a tie between Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert for “American Factory” and Peter Jackson for “They Shall Not Grow Old.”

Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s film “Honeyland,” which is also competing in the Oscars international race as the entry from North Macedonia, won the award for Best First Documentary Feature.

In other awards, “Apollo 11” won for science/nature documentary, “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” for biographical documentary, “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” for music documentary, “American Factory” for political documentary, “Maiden” for sports documentary and “Apollo 11” for archival documentary.

“They Shall Not Grow Old,” Jackson’s reconstruction of World War I footage, was named the year’s most innovative documentary.

“The Biggest Little Farm” won for its cinematography, “Apollo 11” for its editing and score and “Western Stars” for its narration, which was written and performed by Bruce Springsteen.

Nine months after winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short, “Period. End of Sentence.” won the Critics’ Choice award in the same category.

“The Biggest Little Farm” went into the show with the most nominations, seven, while “Apollo 11” and “They Shall Not Grow Old” received six.

In the first three years of the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, which was spun off from the Critics’ Choice Awards as a separate show in 2016, the winner has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature only once, with “O.J.: Made in America” in 2016. The next two years, the Critics’ Choice winner — “Jane” in 2017 and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” in 2018 — was not even nominated for the documentary Oscar.

Veteran director Frederick Wiseman received the D.A. Pennebaker Award, a lifetime-achievement honor renamed this year in honor of the late documentary pioneer. Michael Apted received the Landmark Award for his work on the “Up” series of documentaries, which began examining the lives of a group of British children with “7 Up” in 1964, when they were seven years old, and has included a new film every seven years to this year’s “63 Up.”

The show was hosted by Jonathan Scott of HGTV’s “Property Brothers.”

The winners:

Best Documentary Feature: “Apollo 11”
Best Director: (TIE) Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, “American Factory” and Peter Jackson, “They Shall Not Grow Old”
Best Cinematography: John Chester, “The Biggest Little Farm”
Best Editing: Todd Douglas Miller, “Apollo 11”
Best Score: Matt Morton, “Apollo 11”
Best Narration: Bruce Springsteeen (narrator and writer), “Western Stars”

Best First Documentary Feature: Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, “Honeyland”
Best Archival Documentary: “Apollo 11”
Best Biographical Documentary: “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am”
Best Music Documentary: “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice”
Best Political Documentary: “American Factory”
Best Science/Nature Documentary: “Apollo 11”
Best Sports Documentary: “Maiden”
Most Innovative Documentary: “They Shall Not Grow Old”

Best Short Documentary: “Period. End of Sentence.”

Most Compelling Living Subjects of a Documentary (non-competitive category):
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”
Dr. Ruth Westheimer, “Ask Dr. Ruth”

D.A. Pennebaker Award: Frederick Wiseman
Landmark Award: Michael Apted for the “Up” series

CORRECTION: The original version of this story said that “American Factory” received the most nominations, seven. In fact, “The Biggest Little Farm” received the most.