‘Free Solo’ Leads Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards Nominations

Other nominees include “RBG,” “Three Identical Strangers” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” — but MIchael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” was not nominated in top categories

Last Updated: October 15, 2018 @ 9:08 AM

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s “Free Solo,” a National Geographic documentary about Alex Honnold’s attempt to climb Yosemite’s El Capitan rock formation without any ropes or protective equipment, leads all films in nominations for the third annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, the Broadcast Film Critics Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Associations announced on Monday.

“Free Solo” received five nominations, including Best Documentary and Best Director, and an additional honor for subject Honnold, who was one of eight subjects singled out in the Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary category.

Bing Liu’s “Minding the Gap” and Chapman Way and Maclain Way’s “Wild Wild Country” each received five nominations, while Kimberly Reed’s “Dark Money,” Rüdiger Suchsland’s “Hitler’s Hollywood” and Morgan Neville’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” received four each.

Despite the fact that Michael Moore is receiving the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony in New York City on November 10, his new film, “Fahrenheit 11/9,” was not nominated for Best Documentary or Best Director. It did receive a nomination in the Best Political Documentary category.

The nominees for Best Documentary were “Crime + Punishment,” “Dark Money,” “Free Solo,” “Hal,” “Hitler’s Hollywood,” “Minding the Gap,” “RBG,” “Three Identical Strangers,” “Wild Wild Country” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

Of those films, “Crime + Punishment,” “Free Solo,” “Minding the Gap,” “Three Identical Strangers” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” were recently singled out on both the International Documentary Association and DOC NYC shortlists. “Dark Money” was on the IDA shortlist and “RBG” was on the DOC NYC list, while “Hal,” “Hitler’s Hollywood” and “Wild Wild Country” were not included on either documentary organization’s list.

In addition to “Fahrenheit 11/9,” other acclaimed docs that were not chosen by the Critics’ Choice nominating panels were “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” “Shirkers,” “The King,” “On Her Shoulders,” “Quincy,” “Reversing Roe,” “The Sentence” and “The Silence of Others.”

Of those films, “Quincy” was nominated in the Best Music Documentary category, while the others were bypassed completely.

Last year, the 16 CCDA nominees for Best Documentary included eight films that made the Oscars’ 15-film shortlist and three that became nominees, but they did not include the eventual Oscar winner, “Icarus.”

The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards are a joint presentation of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, and present awards in both film as television categories, as well as some categories open to both types of films.

The Emmy-winning, six-part Netflix series “Wild Wild Country,” in fact, was nominated for Best Documentary as well as Best Limited Documentary Series, despite the fact that its format makes it ineligible for the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. Throughout its three-year history, the CCDA has been unwilling to differentiate between film and television docs.

Nominations are made by a pair of volunteer committees from within the organizations.

The third annual CCDA will be presented at BRIC in Brooklyn, New York on the evening of Nov. 10. The show will be hosted by Bill Nye, with special awards going to Michael Moore and to documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson.

The nominees:

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Crime + Punishment” – Director: Stephen Maing (Hulu)
“Dark Money” – Director: Kimberly Reed (PBS)
“Free Solo” – Directors: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (National Geographic Documentary Films)
“Hal” – Director: Amy Scott (Oscilloscope)
“Hitler’s Hollywood” – Director: Rüdiger Suchsland (Kino Lorber)
“Minding the Gap” – Director: Bing Liu (Hulu)
“RBG” – Directors: Julie Cohen, Betsy West (Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media)
“Three Identical Strangers” – Director: Tim Wardle (Neon, CNN Films)
“Wild Wild Country” – Directors: Chapman Way, Maclain Way (Netflix)
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” – Director: Morgan Neville (Focus Features)

BEST LIMITED DOCUMENTARY SERIES
“America to Me” (Starz)
“Dirty Money” (Netflix)
“Elvis Presley: The Searcher” (HBO Documentary Films, Sony Pictures Television)
“Flint Town” (Netflix)
“One Strange Rock” (National Geographic)
“The Fourth Estate” (Showtime Networks)
“The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling” (HBO)
“Wild Wild Country” (Netflix)

BEST ONGOING DOCUMENTARY SERIES
“30 for 30” (ESPN)
“American Masters” (PBS)
“Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” (CNN)
“Frontline” (PBS)
“Independent Lens” (PBS)
“Making a Murderer” (Netflix)
“POV” (PBS)
“The History of Comedy” (CNN)

BEST DIRECTOR
Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi – “Free Solo” (National Geographic Documentary Film)
Bing Liu – “Minding the Gap” (Hulu)
Morgan Neville – “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (Focus Features)
Kimberly Reed – “Dark Money” (PBS)
Rüdiger Suchsland – “Hitler’s Hollywood” (Kino Lorber)
Tim Wardle – “Three Identical Strangers” (Neon, CNN Films)

BEST FIRST TIME DIRECTOR
Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster – “Science Fair” (National Geographic Documentary Films)
Heather Lenz – “Kusama – Infinity” (Magnolia Pictures)
Bing Liu – “Minding the Gap” (Hulu)
Stephen Nomura Schible – “Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda” (MUBI)
Rudy Valdez – “The Sentence” (HBO Documentary Films)
Chapman Way and Maclain Way – “Wild Wild Country” (Netflix)

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY
“RBG” – Directors: Julie Cohen, Betsy West (Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media)
“Dark Money” – Director: Kimberly Reed (PBS)
“Fahrenheit 11/9” – Director: Michael Moore (Briarcliff Entertainment)
“Flint Town” – Directors: Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper, Jessica Dimmock (Netflix)
“Hitler’s Hollywood” – Director: Rüdiger Suchsland (Kino Lorber)
“John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls” – Directors: George Kunhardt, Peter W. Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt (HBO)
“The Fourth Estate” – Directors: Liz Garbus, Jenny Carchman (Showtime Networks)

BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY
“Andre the Giant” – Director: Jason Hehir (HBO)
“Being Serena” (HBO)
“Free Solo” – Directors: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (National Geographic Documentary Film)
“John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection” – Director: Julien Faraut (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
“Minding the Gap” – Director: Bing Liu (Hulu)
“The Workers Cup” – Director: Adam Sobel (Passion River)

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY
“Bad Reputation” – Director: Kevin Kerslake (Magnolia Pictures)
“David Bowie: The Last Five Years” – Director: Francis Whately (HBO Documentary Films)
“Elvis Presley: The Searcher” – Director: Thom Zimny (HBO Documentary Films, Sony Pictures Television)
“Lynyrd Skynyrd: If I Leave Here Tomorrow” – Director: Stephen Kijak (Showtime Networks)
“Quincy” – Directors: Alan Hicks, Rashida Jones (Netflix)
“Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda” – Director: Stephen Nomura Schible (MUBI)
“Whitney” – Director: Kevin Macdonald (Roadside Attractions, Miramax)

MOST COMPELLING LIVING SUBJECT OF A DOCUMENTARY
(ALL LISTED IN THE CATEGORY WILL BE HONORED AT THE EVENT)
Scotty Bowers – “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” (Greenwich Entertainment, Kino Lorber, Starz!)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg – “RBG” (Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media)
Alex Honnold – “Free Solo” (National Geographic Documentary Film)
Joan Jett – “Bad Reputation” (Magnolia Pictures)
Quincy Jones – “Quincy” (Netflix)
David Kellman and Bobby Shafran – “Three Identical Strangers” (Neon, CNN Films)
John McEnroe – “John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection” (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
Leon Vitali – “Filmworker” (Kino Lorber)

MOST INNOVATIVE DOCUMENTARY
“306 Hollywood” – Directors: Elan Bogarin, Jonathan Bogarin (PBS, El Tigre)
“Free Solo” – Directors: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (National Geographic Documentary Film)
“Hitler’s Hollywood” – Director: Rüdiger Suchsland (Kino Lorber)
“Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda” – Director: Stephen Nomura Schible (MUBI)
“Wild Wild Country” – Directors: Chapman Way, Maclain Way (Netflix)
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” – Director: Morgan Neville (Focus Features)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“306 Hollywood” – Cinematographers: Elan Bogarin, Jonathan Bogarin, Alejandro Mejía (PBS, El Tigre)
“The Dawn Wall” – Cinematographer: Brett Lowell (The Orchard)
“Free Solo” – Cinematographers: Jimmy Chin, Clair Popkin, Mikey Schaefer (National Geographic Documentary Film)
“Minding the Gap” – Cinematographer: Bing Liu (Hulu)
“Pandas” – Cinematographer: David Douglas (Warner Brothers)
“Wild Wild Country” – Cinematographer: Adam Stone (Netflix)

BEST EDITING
“Dark Money” – Editor: Jay Arthur Sterrenberg (PBS)
“Filmworker” – Editor: Tony Zierra (Kino Lorber)
“Free Solo” – Editor: Bob Eisenhardt (National Geographic Documentary Film)
“John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection” – Editor: Julien Faraut (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
“Three Identical Strangers” – Editor: Michael Harte (Neon, CNN Films)
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” – Editors: Jeff Malmberg, Aaron Wickenden (Focus Features)