Docs

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, “Free Solo” top Critics’ Choice Doc Awards

Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville‘s feature-length documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s Free Solo were among the winners at the 2018 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards. The third ...
November 12, 2018

Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville‘s feature-length documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s Free Solo were among the winners at the 2018 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.

The third annual event, which celebrates non-fiction films and television as chosen by the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA) and Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), was hosted by science communicator and television presenter Bill Nye at a ceremony in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday (Nov. 10).

Neville’s summer smash Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (pictured), which provides an intimate portrait of Fred Rogers, was the top winner at the awards banquet, walking away with the award for Best Documentary. Neville, meanwhile, was honored with the trophy for Best Director and the award for Best Editing.

Elsewhere, Vasarhelyi and Chin’s acclaimed climbing doc Free Solo was feted with three awards total, including for Best Sports Documentary, Best Innovative Documentary and Best Cinematography. The 100-minute film follows world renowned climber Alex Honnold, as he ascends the 3,000-foot face of El Capitan in California’s Yosemite Park.

Rising filmmakers Bing Liu (Minding the Gap) and Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster (Science Fair), meanwhile, shared honors for Best First Time Director for their respective films.

Renowned comedic director Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Trainwreck) walked away with the award for Best Limited Documentary Series for his HBO project The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling. The docuseries explores the life and legacy of comedian Garry Shandling.

The Best Ongoing Documentary Series award went to CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown; Julie Cohen and Betsy West picked up honors in the Best Political Documentary category for RBG; and Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks took home the award for Best Music Documentary for their 124-minute film Quincy.

Also feted during the awards show were esteemed filmmaker Michael Moore, who was honored with the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award, and renowned documentarian Stanley Nelson, who received the Critics’ Choice Impact Award.

“As the documentary world is exploding with great works, we are thrilled to shine a light on the best of the best,” said BFCA president Joey Berlin in a statement. “In ‘The Year of the Documentary’, this was a very special night celebrating the giants in our business and some amazing newcomers.”

The complete list of winners at the third annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards follows below:

Best Documentary 
Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Best Limited Documentary Series
Judd Apatow’s The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling

Best Ongoing Documentary Series
CNN and Zero Point Zero Production’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Best Director
Morgan Neville for Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Best First Time Director
Bing Liu for Minding the Gap
Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster for Science Fair

Best Political Documentary
Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s RBG

Best Sports Documentary
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s Free Solo

Best Music Documentary
Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks’ Quincy

Most Innovative Documentary
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s Free Solo

Best Cinematography
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s Free Solo

Best Editing
Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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