Critics' Choice For Best Documentary: "Won’t You Be My Neighbor?"
Fred Rogers on the set of his show “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” from the film, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” (photo by Jim Judkis/courtesy of Focus Features)
Morgan Neville's film about Fred Rogers additionally wins Best Director and Editor honors; "Free Solo" also scores 3 awards
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Director Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Focus Features) won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Documentary this evening (11/10) during a gala ceremony hosted by Bill Nye at BRIC in Brooklyn. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? not only won the 3rd annual competition’s top honor but also Best Director distinction for Neville and the Best Editor mantle for Jeff Malmberg and Aaron Wickenden.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? delves into the life of iconic children’s television show creator/host Fred Rogers. Earlier this year, Neville told SHOOT that Rogers, who died of stomach cancer in 2003, has an undying relevancy. “He was dealing with fundamentally human emotions--like Shakespeare, like in the Bible. He was trying to help children figure out how to be people,” related Neville. His main demographic was two to six year olds, helping them to navigate, as he said, ‘the difficult modulations of life,’ how to treat other people, how to treat yourself and make sense of a world that can be scary. Those are things adults need to do. We live in a time when there’s quite a bit of cultural trauma and we don’t process it. Most of our society is set to capitalize on it. That’s dangerous. Mister Rogers was nurturing a neighborhood as a loving, giving place.”

Like Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Free Solo won three Critics’ Choice Awards--for Best Sports Documentary, Best Innovative Documentary and Best Cinematography (Jimmy Chin, Matt Clegg, Clair Popkin, Mikey Schaefer). Directed by Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Free Solo follows Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite’s 3,000-foot high El Capital Wall sans ropes or safety gear.

The award for Best Limited Documentary Series went to The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling.

The Best Ongoing Documentary Series award went to Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

The Best Political Documentary winner was RBG.

Quincy took home the award for Best Music Documentary.

There was a tie for Best First Time Director between Bing Liu for Minding the Gap and Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster for Science Fair. (Liu directs commercials and branded content via Nonfiction Unlimited.)

During the awards show, filmmaker Michael Moore was honored with the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Robert De Niro. Renowned documentarian Stanley Nelson was honored with the Critics’ Choice Impact Award, presented by Joe Berlinger, who received the same honor last year.

The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards are determined by qualified members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA).

Here’s a full category-by-category rundown of 3rd annual Critics Choice Documentary Award winners:

Best Documentary: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Best Limited Documentary Series: The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling

Best Ongoing Documentary Series: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Best Director: Morgan Neville for Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Best First Time Director: TIE between Bing Liu for Minding the Gap, and Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster for Science Fair

Best Political Documentary: RBG

Best Sports Documentary: Free Solo

Best Music Documentary: Quincy

Most Innovative Documentary: Free Solo

Best Cinematography: Free Solo

Best Editing: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?


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