Docs

Kirsten Johnson’s “Dick Johnson is Dead” wins big at Critics’ Choice Doc Awards

Kirsten Johnson’s Dick Johnson is Dead (pictured) has been feted as best documentary feature at the fifth annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards. Winners for the event, which celebrates the year’s best non-fiction ...
November 16, 2020

Kirsten Johnson’s Dick Johnson is Dead (pictured) has been feted as best documentary feature at the fifth annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.

Winners for the event, which celebrates the year’s best non-fiction films and television as chosen by the voting of qualified CCA members, were unveiled in a press release from the Critics’ Choice Association in lieu of an awards ceremony due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to being named by the organization’s as the best non-fiction film of 2020, Johnson’s work was also honored with the best director award. The 89-minute Netflix film documents Johnson as she prepares to deal with her father’s inevitable passing by staging his death in “inventive and comical ways” to help them both face the end.

Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed’s natural history documentary My Octopus Teacher, meanwhile, took home two awards in the form of best cinematography (for Roger Horrocks) and best science/nature documentary.

The 85-minute doc charts diver Craig Foster, who also produced the film, as he swims every day over the course of one year with a wild octopus that lives in a kelp forest off the coast of South Africa. The Netflix Original film was produced in partnership with the Sea Change Project by Off the Fence and ZDF Enterprises.

The full list of winners for the fifth annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards are listed below:

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Dick Johnson is Dead (Netflix)
Feels Good Man (Wavelength Productions/PBS Independent Lens)

BEST DIRECTOR
Kirsten Johnson, Dick Johnson is Dead (Netflix)

BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Melissa Haizlip, Mr. SOUL! (Shoes in the Bed Productions)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Roger Horrocks, My Octopus Teacher (Netflix)

BEST EDITING
Lindy Jankura, Alexis Johnson and Alex Keipper, Totally Under Control (Neon)

BEST SCORE
Marco Beltrami, Brandon Roberts and Buck Sanders, The Way I See It (Focus Features)

BEST NARRATION
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (Netflix)
David Attenborough, Narrator/Writer

BEST ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTARY
MLK/FBI (Field of Vision/IFC Films)

BEST HISTORICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL DOCUMENTARY
John Lewis: Good Trouble (Magnolia Pictures/Participant)

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY (TIE)
Beastie Boys Story (Apple)
The Go-Go’s (Showtime)

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY
Boys State (Apple)

BEST SCIENCE/NATURE DOCUMENTARY
My Octopus Teacher (Netflix)

BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY (TIE)
Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes (HBO)
Athlete A (Netflix)

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY
St. Louis Superman (MTV Documentary Films)
(Directors and Producers: Sami Khan and Smriti Mundhra. Producer: Poh Si Teng)

MOST COMPELLING LIVING SUBJECTS OF A DOCUMENTARY (HONOR)

Dr. Rick Bright – Totally Under Control (Neon)

Steven Garza – Boys State (Apple)

The Go-Go’s – The Go-Go’s (Showtime)

Judith Heumann – Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (Netflix)

Dick Johnson – Dick Johnson is Dead (Netflix)

Maggie Nichols, Rachael Denhollander, Jamie Dantzscher – Athlete A (Netflix)

Fox Rich – Time (Amazon)

Pete Souza – The Way I See It (Focus Features)

Taylor Swift – Miss Americana (Netflix)

Greta Thunberg – I Am Greta (Hulu)

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a special reports 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.

Menu

Search