Dick Johnson Is Dead Tops Critics Choice Documentary Award Winners

Dick Johnson Is Dead

By Pat Mullen

Kirsten Johnston’s acclaimed Dick Johnson Is Dead topped the 2020 Critics Choice Documentary Award winners this morning. Johnson’s personal tribute to her father scored prizes for best film and best director, as well as a special mention for her father Dick in the (awkward) category honouring the most compelling living subject of a documentary. Other compelling live subjects included Taylor Swift and Greta Thunberg. Dick Johnson Is Dead trumped Totally Under Control, which scored the most nominations for its urgent study of the Trump administrations mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Control won the editing prize, as well as a living-subject shout-out to whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright, one of the film’s interviewees, but thankfully not Donald Trump. The Critics Choice Awards mark the first major wins of an extended award season with the Oscars deferred until late April.

The complete list of winners is as follows:

Best Documentary Feature: Dick Johnson Is Dead)

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)

Best Archival Documentary: MLK/FBI (Field of Vision/IFC Films)

Best Historical/Biographical Documentary: John Lewis: Good Trouble (Magnolia Pictures/Participant)

Best Music Documentary: Beastie Boys Story (Apple) and The Go-Go’s (Showtime) [tie]

Best Political Documentary: Boys State (Apple)

Best Science/Nature Documentary: My Octopus Teacher (Netflix)

Best Sports Documentary: Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes (HBO) and Athlete A (Netflix) [tie]

Best Short Documentary: St. Louis Superman (MTV Documentary Films)

Most Compelling Living Subjects of a Documentary:
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)