“Look of Silence,” “Amy” top critics’ picks

North American film critics have spoken and Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence and Asif Kapadia's Amy (pictured) are topping their lists as the year's best documentaries.
December 14, 2015

North American film critics have spoken and Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence and Asif Kapadia’s Amy are topping their lists as the year’s best documentaries.

Oppenheimer’s Act of Killing follow-up, which most recently picked up the Best Feature prize at the International Documentary Association (IDA) awards, was named as the best documentary by film critics in Toronto, best documentary runner-up in Los Angeles and best foreign-language film by Boston’s film critics.

Amy, meanwhile, was selected as best documentary by critics in Los Angeles, Boston and Washington DC. The doc was named best documentary by the National Board of Review on December 1.

Both films made the 15-film Oscar shortlist earlier this month. The five nominees for the best documentary prize will be announced on January 14.

Taking home honors from the New York Film Critics Circle was Frederick Wiseman’s study of a diverse Queens neighborhoodIn Jackson Heights. The master documentarian is up for a directing prize from Cinema Eye, set to be presented in January during the organization’s annual awards ceremony.

Finally, the best documentary award from the African American Film Critics Association went to Nelson George’s A Ballerina’s Tale, on the first African-American female soloist at New York City’s American Ballet Theatre. The doc bowed at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.

New York Film Critics Circle
Best Non-Fiction Film: In Jackson Heights (Frederick Wiseman)

Los Angeles Film Critics Association
Best Documentary: Amy (Asif Kapadia)
Runner-Up: The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer)

Toronto Film Critics Association
Best Documentary: The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer)

Boston Society of Film Critics
Best Documentary: Amy (Asif Kapadia)
Best Foreign-Language Film: The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer)

Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association
Best Documentary: Amy (Asif Kapadia)

African American Film Critics Association
Best Documentary: A Ballerina’s Tale (Nelson George)

With files from Manori Ravindran

About The Author
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.