‘Kedi’ Leads Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards Nominations

Kedi
Courtesy Oscilloscope Films


By Pat Mullen

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in Canada, but in Hollywood it was the first day of award season. The Broadcast Film Critics’ Association unveiled the nominations for the second annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards. Any awards dished out this early in the year are somewhat questionable, but one must appreciate the effort to spotlight documentary. The early jumpstart also gives the show some influence over December’s Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary Feature, which becomes increasingly competitive each year.

The critics give two paws up for the Turkish cat doc Kedi, which leads the nominations with five bids, including one for the cats themselves who will compete alongside former US Vice President Al Gore in the category of Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary. (Expect it to be the former Veep’s most crushing defeat since losing to Bush.) Kedi, a crowd-pleasing box-office hit, is a favourite in this year’s documentary race.

On Kedi’s heels with three nominations each are Steve James’s Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, about a Chinatown family bank’s extraordinary legal battle; Bill Morrison’s Dawson: City Frozen Time, a stunningly-realized treasure trove of film history; Doug Nichol’s California Typewriter, which hits Canadian screens this month; Matthew Heinemen’s City of Ghosts and Evgeny Afineevsky’s Cries from Syria, which lead a competitive field of docs about the Civil War in Syria; Jeff Orlowski’s Chasing Coral, the popular follow-up to Chasing Ice; and An Inconvenient Sequel, which missed the top category for Best Documentary. Rumble represents Canadian documentary this year with a nod in the category for Best Music Documentary.

One notable move on the awards front, however, is the voters’ decision to merge categories for theatrical releases and streaming, which accounts for the much larger pool of nominees and removes forms of exhibition from the equation.

This year’s nominees for the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards are:

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail – Director: Steve James
Beware the Slenderman – Director: Irene Taylor Brodsky
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds – Directors: Alexis Bloom, Fisher Stevens
California Typewriter – Director: Doug Nichol
Chasing Coral – Director: Jeff Orlowski
City of Ghosts – Director: Matthew Heineman
Cries From Syria – Director: Evgeny Afineevsky
Dawson City: Frozen Time – Director: Bill Morrison
Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis – Director: Colin Hanks
Ex Libris: The New York Public Library – Director: Frederick Wiseman
Faces Places – Directors: Agnès Varda & JR
Jane – Director: Brett Morgen
Kedi – Director: Ceyda Torun
One of Us – Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
Spettacolo – Directors: Jeff Malmberg, Chris Shellen
Strong Island – Director: Yance Ford

BEST DIRECTOR

Evgeny Afineevsky – Cries from Syria
Amir Bar-Lev – Long Strange Trip
Matthew Heineman – City of Ghosts
Bill Morrison – Dawson City: Frozen Time
Doug Nichol – California Typewriter
Jeff Orlowski – Chasing Coral
Irene Taylor Brodsky – Beware the Slenderman
Ceyda Torun – Kedi
Agnès Varda & JR – Faces Places
Frederick Wiseman – Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY

California Typewriter – Director: Doug Nichol
Kedi – Director: Ceyda Torun
Nowhere to Hide – Director: Zaradasht Ahmed
Step – Director: Amanda Lipitz
Strong Island – Director: Yance Ford
Whose Streets? – Director: Sabaah Folayan, Co-Director: Damon Davis

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY

11/8/16 – Directors: Duane Andersen, Don Argott & Sheena M. Joyce, Yung Chang, Garth Donovan, Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker, Vikram Gandhi, Raul Gasteazoro, Jamie Goncalves, Andrew Beck Grace, Alma Har’el, Daniel Junge, Alison Klayman, Ciara Lacy, Martha Shane, Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Bassam Tariq
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail – Director: Steve James
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power – Directors: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
City of Ghosts – Director: Matthew Heineman
Dolores – Director: Peter Bratt
The Reagan Show – Directors: Sierra Pettengill, Pacho Velez

BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY

AlphaGo – Director: Greg Kohs
Disgraced – Director: Pat Kondelis
Icarus – Director: Bryan Fogel
Speed Sisters – Director: Amber Fares
Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton – Director: Rory Kennedy
Trophy – Directors: Christina Clusiau, Shaul Schwarz

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY

Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of our Lives – Director: Chris Perkel
Contemporary Color – Directors: Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross
Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis – Director: Colin Hanks
I Called Him Morgan – Director: Kasper Collin
Long Strange Trip – Director: Amir Bar-Lev
Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World – Director: Catherine Bainbridge, Co-Director: Alfonso Maiorana

MOST COMPELLING LIVING SUBJECT OF A DOCUMENTARY

The Cats of Istanbul – Kedi
Etty – One of Us
Al Gore – An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Laird Hamilton – Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton
Dolores Huerta – Dolores
Gigi Lazzarato – This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous
The Sung Family – Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

MOST INNOVATIVE DOCUMENTARY

78/52 – Director: Alexandre O. Philippe
Casting JonBenet – Director: Kitty Green
Dawson City: Frozen Time – Director: Bill Morrison
Karl Marx City – Directors: Petra Epperlein, Michael Tucker
Kedi – Director: Ceyda Torun
Last Men in Aleppo – Director: Firas Fayyad, Co-Director: Steen Johannessen

BEST SONG IN A DOCUMENTARY

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power – “Truth to Power” – OneRepublic
Chasing Coral – “Tell Me How Long” – Kristen Bell
Cries From Syria – “Prayers for This World” – Cher
Dina – “Best I Can” – Michael Cera featuring Sharon Van Etten
Served Like a Girl – “Dancing Through the Wreckage” – Pat Benatar
Step – “Jump” – Cynthia Erivo (

BEST LIMITED DOCUMENTARY SERIES (TV/STREAMING)

The Defiant Ones
Five Came Back
The Keepers
The Nineties
Planet Earth II
The Vietnam War

BEST ONGOING DOCUMENTARY SERIES (TV/STREAMING)

30 for 30
American Masters
Frontline
Independent Lens
POV
VICE

CRITICSCHOICE IMPACT AWARD
Joe Berlinger

Winners will be announced November 2nd.