2021 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards nominations: ‘Ascension’ and ‘Summer of Soul’ lead

Ascension” and “Summer of Soul” lead the sixth annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards with six nominations apiece.  Right behind with five bids each are “Becoming Cousteau” and “The Rescue.” All four number nominations for both Best Documentary Feature and Best Director among their haul.

Rounding out the dozen nominees for Best Documentary Feature are: “Attica,” “The Crime of the Century,” “A Crime on the Bayou,” “Flee,” “Introducing, Selma Blair,” “The Lost Leonardo,” “My Name is Pauli Murray” and “Procession.”

Last year’s nomination leaders with the CCDA were “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution,” “Gunda,” and “Mr. SOUL!” with five bids apiece. However, it was Kirsten Johnson‘s “Dick Johnson is Dead” that took the top prize as well as Best Director. Of these, only “Crip Camp” contended at the Oscars where the winner was “My Octopus Teacher,” which had won both Best Science and Nature Documentary and Best Cinematography from the CCDA.

PREDICT the 2022 Oscar nominees through February 8

In 2019, John Chester‘s seven-time CCDA nominee “The Biggest Little Farm” made the Oscar shortlist but was not selected as one of the final five nominees by the academy. In the end, the CCDA awarded their top prize of 2019 to “Apollo 11,” but that, too, missed the cut at the Oscars. Instead, three other films of the 10 nominated for Best Documentary Feature with the CCDA went on to contend for that same award at the Oscars: “The Cave,” “Honeyland” and the eventual winner “American Factory.”

In 2018 and 2017 the groups also matched on three of their nominees and in 2016 shared the same winner “O.J.: Made in America” in addition to three other nominees. If only three CCDA nominees make the Oscar list this year, which of the 2020 nominees do you think will gain the academy’s attention? See the full list of CCDA nominees below.

The eligibility period for this year began on November 1, 2020 and includes any films or non-series television programs scheduled to premiere by December 31, 2021. Winners will be decided by qualified CCA members and revealed in a Special Announcement on Monday, November 14.

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BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)
Attica (Showtime)
Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)
The Crime of the Century (HBO Documentary Films)
A Crime on the Bayou (Augusta Films/Shout! Studios)
Flee (Neon)
Introducing, Selma Blair (Discovery+)
The Lost Leonardo (Sony Pictures Classics)
My Name is Pauli Murray (Amazon Studios)
Procession (Netflix)
The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)
Summer of Soul (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)

BEST DIRECTOR
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)
Liz Garbus – Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)
Jessica Kingdon – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)
Stanley Nelson and Traci A. Curry – Attica (Showtime)
Jonas Poher Rasmussen – Flee (Neon)
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson – Summer of Soul (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)
Edgar Wright – The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)

BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Jessica Beshir – Faya Dayi (Janus Films)
Rachel Fleit – Introducing, Selma Blair (Discovery+)
Todd Haynes – The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)
Jessica Kingdon – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)
Kristine Stolakis – Pray Away (Netflix)
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson – Summer of Soul (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)
Edgar Wright – The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Jessica Beshir – Faya Dayi (Janus Films)
Jonathan Griffith, Brett Lowell and Austin Siadak – The Alpinist (Roadside Attractions)
David Katznelson, Ian Seabrook and Picha Srisansanee – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)
Jessica Kingdon and Nathan Truesdell – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)
Nelson Hume and Alan Jacobsen – The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 (Bleecker Street Media)
Emiliano Villanueva – A Cop Movie (Netflix)
Pete West – Puff: Wonders of the Reef (Netflix)

BEST EDITING
Francisco Bello, Matthew Heineman, Gabriel Rhodes and David Zieff – The First Wave (National Geographic Documentary Films)

Jeff Consiglio – LFG (HBO Max and CNN Films)

Bob Eisenhardt – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)

Affonso Gonçalves and Adam Kurnitz – The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)

Jessica Kingdon – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)

Joshua L. Pearson – Summer of Soul (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)

Julian Quantrill – The Real Charlie Chaplin (Showtime)

BEST NARRATION
Jeff Daniels – 9/11: Inside the President’s War Room (Apple TV+)
Vincent Cassel – Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)
Alex Gibney – The Crime of the Century (HBO Documentary Films)
CJ Hunt – The Neutral Ground (PBS)
Pearl Mackie – The Real Charlie Chaplin (Showtime)
Jack Kilmer – Val (Amazon Studios)
David Attenborough – The Year Earth Changed (Apple TV+)

BEST SCORE
Jongnic Bontemps – My Name is Pauli Murray (Amazon Studios)
Dan Deacon – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)
Alex Lasarenko and David Little – The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 (Bleecker Street Media)
Cyrus Melchor – LFG (HBO/CNN)
Daniel Pemberton – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)
Rachel Portman – Julia (Sony Pictures Classics)
Dirac Sea – Final Account (Focus Features)

BEST ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTARY
Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)
The Real Charlie Chaplin (Showtime)
The Real Right Stuff (Disney+)
Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (HBO Documentary Films)
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)
Val (Amazon Studios)
The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)

BEST HISTORICAL OR BIOGRAPHICAL DOCUMENTARY
Attica (Showtime)
A Crime on the Bayou (Augusta Films/Shout! Studios)
Fauci (Magnolia Pictures/National Geographic Documentary Films)
Final Account (Focus Features)
Julia (Sony Pictures Classics)
My Name is Pauli Murray (Amazon Studios)
No Ordinary Man (Oscilloscope)
Val (Amazon Studios)

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY
Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry (Apple TV+)
Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James (Showtime)
Listening to Kenny G (HBO Documentary Films)
The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)
Summer of Soul (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)
Tina (HBO Documentary Films)
The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY
The Crime of the Century (HBO Documentary Films)
Enemies of the State (IFC Films)
Four Hours at the Capitol (HBO Documentary Films)
Influence (StoryScope, EyeSteelFilm)
Mayor Pete (Amazon Studios)
Missing in Brooks County (Giant Pictures)
Nasrin (Hulu)
Not Going Quietly (Greenwich Entertainment)

BEST SCIENCE/NATURE DOCUMENTARY
Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)
Fauci (National Geographic Documentary Films)
The First Wave (National Geographic Documentary Films)
The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 (Bleecker Street Media)
Playing with Sharks (National Geographic Documentary Films)
Puff: Wonders of the Reef (Netflix)
The Year Earth Changed (Apple TV+)

BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY
The Alpinist (Roadside Attractions)
Changing the Game (Hulu)
The Day Sports Stood Still (HBO)
Kevin Garnett: Anything is Possible (Showtime)
LFG (HBO Max/CNN Films)
Tiger (HBO)

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY
Audible (Netflix)
Borat’s American Lockdown (Amazon Studios)
Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis (Netflix)
Day of Rage: How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol (The New York Times)
The Doll (Jumping Ibex)
The Last Cruise (HBO Documentary Films)
The Queen of Basketball (The New York Times)
Snowy (TIME Studios)

MOST COMPELLING LIVING SUBJECTS OF A DOCUMENTARY (HONOR)
Ady Barkan – Not Going Quietly (Greenwich Entertainment)
Selma Blair – Introducing, Selma Blair (Discovery+)
Pete Buttigieg – Mayor Pete (Amazon Studios)
Anthony Fauci – Fauci (Magnolia Pictures/National Geographic Documentary Films)
Ben Fong-Torres – Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres (StudioLA.TV)
Val Kilmer – Val (Amazon Studios)
Ron and Russell Mael – The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)
Rita Moreno – Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It (Roadside Attractions)
Valerie Taylor – Playing With Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story (Disney+)

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