‘Fire Of Love’, ‘Good Night Oppy’ Top Nominees For Critics Choice Documentary Awards

Kicking off the nomination season, Fire of Love and Good Night Oppy lead all comers in nominations for the seventh annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards.

Both are nominated in the marquee Best Documentary Feature category and also will square off against each other for Best Director, Music Score, Editing, Narration and Science/Nature docu.

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Fire of Love, the adventure love story of a pair of volcano hunters and scientists, has a leading seven noms and also is a contender for Best Archival docu. The doc has been in theatrical release from National Geographic Films and Neon, which picked it up after a Sundance debut.

Oppy, which comes from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin and Amazon Studios, with special effects via Industrial Light & Magic, has been on the fall festival circuit and will open in theaters November 4 before streaming on Amazon three weeks later. It chronicles the 14-plus-year Mars Rover mission and is a tear-jerking story that plays like a cross between The Martian and Wall-E.

Other nominees for Best Docu Feature include Hulu’s Aftershock; The Automat; Netflix’s The Descendant; Briarcliff Entertainment’s Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down; HBO’s The Janes; HBO/Neon’s David Bowie docu Moonage Daydream; HBO, CNN and Warner Bros. Pictures’ Navalny; and Apple TV+’s Sidney Poitier biodoc Sidney, which recently premiered at Toronto.

Films earning three or more nominations include The Automat, The Janes, Moonage Daydream, Sidney, Three Minutes: A Lengthening, Navalny, The Beatles: Get Back, George Carlin’s American Dream, Descendant, Lucy and Desi, Our Great National Parks, The Territory and Cow.

Coming up short on expectations was Laura Poitras’ Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, which missed the cut for the all-important Best Documentary Feature’s 10 nominees. It wasn’t completely shut out, with a couple of mentions in other categories.

New to the ceremony this year are two categories previously included in the Critics Choice Real TV Awards but instead will be presented here: Best Ongoing Documentary Series and Best Limited Documentary Series. In the running for the latter are The Beatles: Get Back, Hostages, The Last Movie Stars, The Lincoln Project, Our Great National Parks, The U.S. and the Holocaust and We Need to Talk About Cosby. For Ongoing Series, nominees are 30 for 30, American Masters, Cheer, The Circus, Unsolved Mysteries and Welcome to Wrexham.

“This year’s nominees prove that documentaries of all lengths and formats are advancing nonfiction media like never before,” said Christopher Campbell, co-president of the Critics Choice Association Documentary Branch. “And we are excited to celebrate the tremendous talents who contributed to all of these brilliant films and series.”

Carla Renata, co-president of the Critics Choice Association Documentary Branch, added: “We are also thrilled to witness an exemplary number of women filmmakers and female-focused subjects being represented, further solidifying the Critics Choice Documentary Awards’ commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the documentary landscape.”

Last year, Summer of Soul received the award in each of the six categories in which it was nominated, including the evening’s most prestigious Documentary Feature. Subsequently, the film took home the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature Film.

In addition to the competitive categories, The Pennebaker Award will be presented to veteran docu filmmaker Barbara Kopple.

Winners will be revealed November 13 at 7 p.m. ET in a ceremony at the Edison Ballroom in New York City hosted by actor-comedian Wyatt Cenac. The awards will also be livestreamed on Facebook Live and Instagram Live, with viewing links available on the CCA website. National Geographic Documentary Films is the presenting sponsor for a second year in a row.

Viewing and voting for nominees was done by a select committee of Critics Choice Association member volunteers. Full disclosure: I am a member of CCA and the Documentary nominee selection committee.

Here is a full list of the nominees:

Aftershock (Hulu)
The Automat (A Slice of Pie Productions)
Descendant (Netflix)
Fire of Love (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon)
Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down (Briarcliff Entertainment)
Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)
The Janes (HBO)
Moonage Daydream (HBO/Neon)
Navalny (HBO/CNN/Warner Bros. Pictures)
Sidney (Apple TV+)

Judd Apatow, Michael Bonfiglio – George Carlin’s American Dream (HBO)
Margaret Brown – Descendant (Netflix)
Sara Dosa – Fire of Love (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon)
Reginald Hudlin – Sidney (Apple TV+)
Brett Morgen – Moonage Daydream (HBO/Neon)
Laura Poitras – All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (HBO/Neon)
Daniel Roher – Navalny (HBO/CNN/Warner Bros. Pictures)
Ryan White – Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)

Andrea Arnold – Cow (IFC Films)
Lisa Hurwitz – The Automat (A Slice of Pie Productions)
Jono McLeod – My Old School (Magnolia Pictures)
Amy Poehler – Lucy and Desi (Amazon Studios)
Alex Pritz – The Territory (National Geographic Documentary Films)
David Siev – Bad Axe (IFC Films)
Bianca Stigter – Three Minutes: A Lengthening (Neon)

Benjamin Bernhard, Riju Das – All That Breathes (HBO)
Magda Kowalczyk – Cow (IFC Films)
Lucas Tucknott – McEnroe (Showtime)
Gabriela Osio Vanden, Jack Weisman, Sam Holling – Nuisance Bear (The New Yorker)
The Cinematography Team – Our Great National Parks (Netflix)
Alex Pritz, Tangãi Uru-eu-wau-wau – The Territory (National Geographic Documentary Films)

Jabez Olssen – The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+)
Erin Casper, Jocelyne Chaput – Fire of Love (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon)
Joe Beshenkovsky – George Carlin’s American Dream (HBO)
Helen Kearns, Rejh Cabrera – Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)
Brett Morgen – Moonage Daydream (HBO/Neon)
Langdon Page, Maya Daisy Hawke – Navalny (HBO/CNN/Warner Bros. Pictures)
Katharina Wartena – Three Minutes: A Lengthening (Neon)

Hummie Mann – The Automat (A Slice of Pie Productions)
Nicolas Godin – Fire of Love (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon)
Blake Neely – Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)
Max Avery Lichtenstein – The Janes (HBO)
David Schwartz – Lucy and Desi (Amazon Studios)
Marius de Vries, Matt Robertson – Navalny (HBO/CNN/Warner Bros. Pictures)

Deep in the Heart: A Texas Wildlife Story (Fin and Fur Films)
Written by Ben Masters; Performed by Matthew McConaughey
Fire of Love (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon)
Written by Shane Boris, Erin Casper, Jocelyne Chaput, Sara Dosa; Performed by Miranda July
Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)
Written by Helen Kearns, Ryan White; Performed by Angela Bassett
Our Great National Parks (Netflix)
Performed by Barack Obama
Riotsville, U.S.A. (Magnolia Pictures)
Written by Tobi Haslett; Performed by Charlene Modeste
Three Minutes: A Lengthening (Neon)
Written by Bianca Stigter; Performed by Helena Bonham Carter

The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+)
Fire of Love (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon)
Moonage Daydream (HBO/Neon)
Nothing Compares (Showtime)
Riotsville, U.S.A. (Magnolia Pictures)
Three Minutes: A Lengthening (Neon)

The Automat (A Slice of Pie Productions)
Descendant (Netflix)
The Janes (HBO)
Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power (Peacock)
Still Working 9 to 5 (Mighty Fine Entertainment)
Three Minutes: A Lengthening (Neon)
The U.S. and the Holocaust (PBS)

George Carlin’s American Dream (HBO)
The Last Movie Stars (HBO Max)
Lucy and Desi (Amazon Studios)
The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks (Peacock)
Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams (Sony Pictures Classics)
Sidney (Apple TV+)
Sr. (Netflix)

The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+)
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song (Sony Pictures Classics)
If These Walls Could Sing (Disney Original Documentary)
Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues (Apple TV+)
Moonage Daydream (HBO/Neon)
Nothing Compares (Showtime)
The Return of Tanya Tucker – Featuring Brandi Carlile (Sony Pictures Classics)

Aftershock (Hulu)
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (HBO/Neon)
Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down (Briarcliff Entertainment)
The Janes (HBO)
Navalny (HBO/CNN/Warner Bros. Pictures)
Retrograde (National Geographic Documentary Films)
Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (Netflix)

All That Breathes (HBO)
Cow (IFC Films)
Fire of Love (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon)
Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)
Nuisance Bear (The New Yorker)
Return to Space (Netflix)
The Territory (National Geographic Documentary Films)

Citizen Ashe (Magnolia/HBO)
Hockeyland (Greenwich Entertainment)
Kaepernick & America (Dark Star Pictures)
McEnroe (Showtime)
The Redeem Team (Netflix)
Welcome to Wrexham (FX/Hulu)

38 at the Garden (HBO)
Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices From a Plantation Prison (MTV Documentary Films)
The Flagmakers (National Geographic Documentary Films)
Four Seasons Total Documentary (MSNBC)
My Disability Roadmap (The New York Times Op Docs)
Nuisance Bear (The New Yorker)
Stranger at the Gate (The New Yorker)

The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+)
Hostages (HBO)
The Last Movie Stars (HBO Max)
The Lincoln Project (Showtime)
Our Great National Parks (Netflix)
The U.S. and the Holocaust (PBS)
We Need to Talk About Cosby (Showtime)

30 for 30 (ESPN)
American Masters (PBS)
Cheer (Netflix)
The Circus (Showtime)
Unsolved Mysteries (Netflix)
Welcome to Wrexham (FX/Hulu)

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