The Critics Choice Association (CCA) unveiled the winners of the Seventh Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards at a gala event in New York City. Good Night Oppy took home five trophies in all including the top award of the evening, winning Gold for Best Documentary Feature. The film’s other victories were Ryan White for Best Director, Best Score for Blake Neely, as well as Best Narration (written by Helen Kearns and Ryan White, performed by Angela Bassett), and Best Science/Nature Documentary.
The Critics Choice Documentary Awards recognize the year’s finest achievements in documentaries released in theaters, on TV and on major digital platforms, as determined by the voting of qualified CCA members.
This year, for the first time, the Critics went one step further and recognized the top three finishers in the category of Best Documentary Feature. Fire of Love was the Silver medal winner, while the Bronze medal went to Navalny.
Fire of Love also won Best Archival Documentary and Navalny was named Best Political Documentary.
The Beatles: Get Back was another of the evening’s double award-winners, with wins for both Best Music Documentary and Best Limited Documentary Series.
The award for Best First Documentary Feature went to David Siev for Bad Axe.
Brett Morgen took home the award for Best Editing for Moonage Daydream.
Descendant was named Best Historical Documentary.
The Best Biographical Documentary award was given to Sidney.
There was a tie for Best Sports Documentary with both Citizen Ashe and Welcome to Wrexham winning in the category.
The Best Short Documentary was awarded to Nuisance Bear.
30 for 30 won the Best Ongoing Documentary Series award.
At the ceremony, the Pennebaker Award was presented to acclaimed documentarian Barbara Kopple. The award, formerly known as the Critics Choice Lifetime Achievement Award, is named in honor of D A Pennebaker, a past winner. It was presented to Kopple by Chris Hegedus, Pennebaker’s long-time collaborator and widow.
Award-winning documentarian Dawn Porter received the prestigious Critics Choice Impact Award which recognizes documentarians whose work has resulted in tangible societal changes, presented by Jacqueline Glover, Head of Documentary at Disney’s Onyx Collective.
Christopher Campbell, Co-President of the Critics Choice Association’s Documentary Branch said, “Tonight was a whole new Doc Awards – hosting the ceremony in a new, bigger venue in Manhattan and streaming it live for the first time. We are thrilled to continue the celebration of so many groundbreaking and thought-provoking films while highlighting the works of so many brilliant filmmakers.”
“This evening was magical and we were once again able to celebrate an amazing talent pool of women like the legendary Barbara Kopple and the ferociously brave Dawn Porter. Both women continue to blaze trails for the many generations poised to follow in their footsteps,” stated Carla Renata, Co-President of the Critics Choice Association’s Documentary Branch. “It has been thrilling to witness and honor such distinguished documentarians. Their impressive art spanned subjects that made us weep or made our hearts swell, proving that documentary film – and its power to educate, inform, and inspire – remains a viable and pliable form of the cinematic landscape.”
Hosted by Wyatt Cenac, the star-studded event featured presenters and attendees including Rob McElhenney, Idina Menzel, Jeremy Sisto, Paul Shaffer, Brett Morgen, Kathy Ireland, Reginald Hudlin, Richard Kind, Reginald Hudlin, Soledad O’Brien, Tonya Lewis Lee, Tamara Tunie, Ryan White, Erich Bergen, Andrew Jarecki, Shoshana Bean, and Willie Colón, among others.
For the second year in a row, the Critics Choice Documentary Awards welcomed National Geographic Documentary Films as the Presenting Sponsor.
The Catalyst Sponsors for the Seventh Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards were Netflix, Peacock, and Showtime Documentary Films.
Last year at the Sixth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) received the award for every category in which it was nominated, including the evening’s most prestigious award for Best Documentary Feature, as well as Best Director (TIE), Best First Documentary Feature, Best Editing, Best Archival Documentary, and Best Music Documentary. Subsequently, the film took home the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Film.
To stream the ceremony, learn more about the Critics Choice Documentary Awards, and see the full list of winners, visit the Critics Choice Association website.
Winners of the Seventh Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Gold: Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)
Silver: Fire of Love (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon)
Bronze: Navalny (HBO Max/CNN Films/Warner Bros. Pictures)
Ryan White – Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)
BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
David Siev – Bad Axe (IFC Films)
The Cinematography Team – Our Great National Parks (Netflix)
Brett Morgen – Moonage Daydream (Neon/HBO Documentary Films)
Blake Neely – Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)
Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)
Written by Helen Kearns, Ryan White
Performed by Angela Bassett
BEST ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTARY
Fire of Love (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon)
BEST HISTORICAL DOCUMENTARY
BEST BIOGRAPHICAL DOCUMENTARY
Sidney (Apple TV+)
BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY
The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+)
BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY
Navalny (HBO Max/CNN Films/Warner Bros. Pictures)
BEST SCIENCE/NATURE DOCUMENTARY
Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)
BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY (TIE)
Citizen Ashe (HBO Max/CNN Films)
Welcome to Wrexham (FX)
BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY
Nuisance Bear (The New Yorker Studios)
BEST LIMITED DOCUMENTARY SERIES
The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+)
BEST ONGOING DOCUMENTARY SERIES
30 for 30 (ESPN)
About the Critics Choice Awards
The Critics Choice Documentary Awards are an offshoot of the Critics Choice Awards, which are bestowed annually by the CCA to honor the finest in cinematic and television achievement. Historically, the Critics Choice Awards are the most accurate predictor of Academy Award nominations.
The Critics Choice Awards ceremony will be held on January 15, 2023 at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Century City, CA, and will be broadcast live on the CW.
About the Critics Choice Association (CCA)
The Critics Choice Association is the largest critics organization in the United States and Canada, representing more than 580 media critics and entertainment journalists. It was established in 2019 with the formal merger of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, in recognition of the intersection between film, television, and streaming content. For more information, visit: www.CriticsChoice.com.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.