Awards round-up: “Killing,” “Stories” score critics prizes

The Act of Killing (pictured) and Stories We Tell are continuing to rack-up year-end accolades from critics associations in the United States.
December 16, 2013

Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing (pictured) and Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell are continuing to prove popular among regional film critics in the United States.

A handful of critics associations unveiled their year-end best of lists over the weekend, and Oppenheimer’s surrealist take on the legacy of Indonesia’s genocide in the late 1960s picked up two honors.

The Act of Killing was named best documentary by the San Diego Film Critics Society and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, respectively.

The film is among the 15 documentaries selected for the Best Documentary Feature shortlist for the 86th Academy Awards. Over the past few weeks, the doc has picked up the European Documentary prize at the 26th European Film Awards; Best Documentary at the New York Film Critics Online Awards; and nabbed Best Documentary honors from The Boston Society of Film Critics.

Stories We Tell, Canadian filmmaker Polley’s examination of a family secret, was named Best Documentary from the Detroit Film Critics Society. The doc has also won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association‘s best documentary prize, in addition to acclaim from the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review.

Meanwhile, Morgan Neville’s look at the world of professional back-up singers, 20 Feet From Stardom, was selected as Best Documentary by the Houston Film Critics Society.

Both Stories We Tell and 20 Feet From Stardom are also on this year’s Oscar feature doc shortlist.

Finally, the African-American Film Critics Association chose Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson’s American Promise as Best Documentary.

The film, which won a Special Jury Prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, follows the husband-and-wife filmmaking team’s son and one of his friends as they experience school, from kindergarten to high school, over the course of 13 years.

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Jillian Morgan is the Associate Editor at Realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.