Documentarian R.J. Cutler (Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry) will receive the prestigious Pennebaker Award at the sixth annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards, which will be handed out on November 14 at a ceremony in New York.
The award, formerly known as the Critics Choice Lifetime Achievement Award, is named for legendary documentarian D.A. Pennebaker, who passed away in 2019. The award will be presented to Cutler by Pennebaker’s producing partner and wife, Chris Hegedus.
Cutler (pictured) is an award-winning producer and director with a decades-long career. His latest project, on young popstar Billie Eilish, was nominated for four Emmys. His other work includes three-time Critics Choice-nominated Belushi, the Oscar-nominated The War Room, the Emmy-nominated A Perfect Candidate, the Sundance Award-winning The September Issue, the Peabody Award-winning Listen to Me Marlon, the Grierson Award-winning Thin and The World According to Dick Cheney.
Cutler has also been a pioneer in non-fiction television, creating shows like American High (Emmy winner for Outstanding Non-Fiction Television Series), Freshman Diaries, 30 Days and Dear…, which is currently in production on its second season for AppleTV+.
“Throughout his distinguished career, R.J. Cutler has created category-defining films and television series, and we are honored to have him as our recipient of this prestigious award,” said Critics Choice Association CEO Joey Berlin in a release.
“With his work as a documentarian beginning as a producer of D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’ landmark 1993 film, The War Room, that collaboration serves as a link between generations, and R.J. has continued to honor Penny’s pioneering legacy in the arena of observational cinema, from his directorial debut, A Perfect Candidate, and his docuseries American High through to his latest feature, the coming-of-age portrait of teenage global superstar, Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry. He also continues to explore other directions in documentary, as with the unique archival films Listen to Me Marlon, which he produced, and last year’s Belushi, which he produced and directed.”
Nominations for the Critics Choice Documentary Awards will be announced on October 18, with winners selected by members of the Critics Choice Association, followed by the awards gala on November 14.