3rd Annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards

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I was disappointed about two events I couldn’t make it to recently. The first was a screening and reception of the movie Green Book in L.A., with stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. It made world wide news when Mortensen was trying to make a point and used the n-word. He soon issued an apology, and I hope it doesn’t hurt this lovely film. People need to realize that Mortensen is a foreigner, and sometimes things like that play into how you’re trying to make a point. Folks also need to realize what the point was he was trying to make.

The bigger event I missed attending, but was proud to vote on — was the 3rd Annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.

I knew Free Solo would win an award, but I didn’t think it would win three.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor was named Best Documentary. It’s the feel good documentary of the year, although I was surprised Morgan Neville won for Best Director, as I felt it could’ve been a little stronger in that department. It also scored a statue for Best Editing.

Michael Moore was honored with the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by Robert De Niro. No word on if they bashed the President when they got to the microphone.

Moore certainly deserves an award for making the documentary a picture that garners more attention than they ever did, and actually make money at the box office. It’s just a shame that after his first few, I’ve grown disillusioned by how he edits them and creates fictional elements that sometimes distort the truth. It’s something other documentaries started doing when following suit (I’m looking at you, Black Fish).

Renowned documentarian Stanley Nelson was honored with the Critics’ Choice Impact Award, presented by Joe Berlinger (who received the award last year).

A few of the folks that attended I would’ve loved to have met — Matt Dillon, Rashida Jones, and D.A. Pennebaker. He was given an honorary Oscar for a lifetime of great documentaries (who hasn’t seen his Bob Dylan documentary Don’t Look Back?). He’s a legend in this business.

I was thrilled to see that what I voted for in the category of Best Limited Documentary Series went to The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling. Judd Apatow did a great job with an awful lot of material.

Nobody was surprised that the Best Ongoing Documentary Series went to Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

The Best Political Documentary winner was RBG. Of course, she’s been in the news lately because of a fall that broke three ribs.

No matter which way you lean politically, you have to respect Ruth Ginsberg, and everyone will enjoy that documentary.

Other winners included Quincy for Best Music Documentary, and a tie for Best First Time Director, between Bing Liu (Minding the Gap) and Cristina Costantini/Darren Foster (Science Fair).

Bill Nye hosted the event at BRIC in Brooklyn, and I’ll be hoping that next year they can bring it to the West Coast, like they do for the Critics’ Choice Awards (which you can see January 13th at a theatre…errr…TV station near you!)

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