Cat Movie ‘Kedi’ Leads Critics’ Choice Documentary Award Nominees

Other films to receive multiple nominations include “Cries From Syria,” “City of Ghosts” and “California Typewriter”


A documentary about Turkish cats led all films in nominations for the second annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, with docs about Syria, the environment, typewriters and buried silent films following close behind.

Ceyda Torun’s “Kedi,” a playful examination of the many cats that run free in Istanbul, landed four nominations, including Best Documentary and Best Director. In addition, its feline subjects were one of seven winners in the Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary category. (The others were all human.)

Films that received three nominations were Doug Nichol’s “California Typewriter,” Jeff Orlowski’s “Chasing Coral,” Matthew Heineman’s “City of Ghosts,” Evgeny Afineevsky’s “Cries From Syria” and Bill Morrison’s “Dawson City: Frozen Time.”

All were nominated in the Best Documentary category, which also included Steve James’ “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Frederick Wiseman’s “Ex Libris: New York Public Library,” Agnes Varda and JR’s “Faces Places,” Brett Morgen’s “Jane” and Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s “One of Us.”

Also in the category: Irene Taylor Brodsky’s “Beward the Slenderman,” Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens’ “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds,” Colin Hanks’ “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis,” Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen’s “Spettacolo” and Yance Ford’s “Strong Island.”

Because of the increasingly blurry lines in nonfiction filmmaking, the CCDA combined what had been separate categories for film and television docs into single categories, which resulted in the top category sporting a supersized 16 nominees.

Nominations were also made for directing, as well as for political docs, sports docs, music docs, songs in docs and both limited and ongoing documentary series on television.

The nominations were made by nominating committees made up of members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association. (Full disclosure: I was a member of two of those committees.)

The second annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards will be held on November 2 at BRIC in Brooklyn, New York, and will be hosted for the second year by comedian and magician Penn Teller.

At that ceremony, director Joe Berlinger will be given the Critics’ Choice Impact Award.

The Critics’ Choice Awards for non-documentary film and television work will take place on December 10 in Santa Monica, California.

The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards nominees:

Best Documentary
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“Beware the Slenderman”
“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds”
“California Typewriter”
“Chasing Coral”
“City of Ghosts”
“Cries From Syria”
“Dawson City: Frozen in Time”
“Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis”
“Ex Libris: New York Public Library”
“Faces Places”
“One of Us”
“Strong Island”

Best Director
Evgeny Afineevsky, “Cries From Syria”
Amir Bar-Lev, “Long Strange Trip”
Matthew Heineman, “City of Ghosts”
Bill Morrison, “Dawson City: Frozen in Time”
Doug Nichol, “California Typewriter”
Jeff Orlowski, “Chasing Coral”
Irene Taylor Brodsky, “Beware the Slenderman”
Ceyda Torun, “Kedi”
Agnes Varda & JR, “Faces, Places”
Frederick Wiseman, “Ex Libris”

Best First Documentary
“California Typewriter”
“Nowhere to Hide”
“Strong Island”
“Whose Streets”

Best Political Documentary
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“City of Ghosts”
“An Inconvenient Sequel”
“The Reagan Show”

Best Sports Documentary
“Speed Sisters”
“Take Every Wave”

Best Music Documentary
“Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives”
“Contemporary Color”
“Eagles of Death Metal”
“I Called Him Morgan”
“Long Strange Trip”
“Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World”

Most Innovative Documentary
“Casting JonBenet”
“Dawson City: Frozen Time”
“Karl Marx City”
“Last Men in Aleppo”

Best Song in a Documentary
“Tell Me How Long” from “Chasing Coral”
“Prayers for This World” from “Cries From Syria”
“Best I Can” from “Dina”
“Truth to Power” from “An Inconvenient Sequel”
“Dancing Through the Wreckage” from “Served Like a Girl”
“Jump” from “Step”

Best Limited Documentary Series (TV/Streaming)
“The Defiant Ones”
“Five Came Back”
“The Keepers”
“The Nineties”
“Planet Earth II”
“The Vietnam War”

Best Ongoing Documentary Series (TV/Streaming)
“American Masters”
“Independent Lens”
“30 for 30”

Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary
The cats of Istanbul, “Kedi”
Etty, “One of Us”
Al Gore, “An Inconvenient Sequel”
Laird Hamilton, “Take Every Wave”
Dolores Huerta, “Dolores”
Gigi Lazzarato, “This is Everything”
The Sung Family, “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”