Summer of Soul: Sweeps Critics Choice Documentary Awards

‘Summer of Soul’ Sweeps Critics Choice Docu Awards

Questlove’s documentary won in all six categories it was nominated, including best documentary, the top prize of the night.

 

Summer Of Soul (Or, When The

Questlove’s Summer of Soul won all six categories in which it was nominated at the 2021 Critics Choice Documentary Awards, which were handed out Sunday in Brooklyn.

Among the film’s awards was the trophy for best documentary, the top award of the night. In his speech, Questlove said, “Hands down, this is the best night of my life.”

Going into the ceremony, Summer of Soul was tied for the most nominations with with Jessica Kingdon’s Ascension–both are from first-time directors.

Summer of Soul won the first award of the night for best first documentary feature. “I’ve been in this industry for 30-plus years and I always thought celebrating something was a weakness. When my first album came out or when my first book came out or my first day of teaching class, I sort of just pushed it to the side like it was nothing. I’ve learned that it’s safe to celebrate an achievement so how ironic that this new journey in my life starts now,” Questlove said in his acceptance speech.

Summer of Soul also was named best archival documentary. Questlove kicked off his second speech with, “This isn’t awkward at all.” The film also went on to win best music documentary and best editing, the latter of which Questlove presented, giving out a little shout of excitement — saying “Woo!” — before announcing the winner. Questlove also tied for best director alongside Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin for The Rescue. The best director award was presented by Dana Delaney, who called Questlove the MVP of the night.

Another two films were each nominated for five awards: Liz Garbus’ Becoming Cousteau and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s The Rescue. Edgar Wright’s The Sparks Brothers, Todd Haynes’ The Velvet Underground and Leo Scott and Ting Poo’s Val Kilmer exploration Val were each nominated for four awards.

After winning the award for best historical or biographical documentary for Val, Poo dedicated the award to Kilmer. For his part, Kilmer and his son Jack also were winners, taking home the prize for best narrator for Val.

Ascension, Summer of Soul, Becoming Cousteau and The Rescue were all up for the top prize of best documentary feature along with three-time nominees AtticaThe Crime of the CenturyIntroducing, Selma BlairMy Name is Pauli Murray; two-time nominees A Crime on the Bayou and Flee; and single nominees The Lost Leonardo and Procession.

R.J. Cutler, whose most recent film is Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, which was up for best music documentary, received the D.A. Pennebaker Award, from Chris Hegedus, the longtime partner of the award’s late namesake, D.A. Pennebaker.

The sixth annual awards, an offshoot of the Critics Choice Awards, were hosted by The Daily Show‘s Roy Wood Jr. at BRIC in Brooklyn. The honors recognize the best theatrical, TV and digital documentaries.

While the documentary community wasn’t able to gather last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020’s top winner was Dick Johnson Is Dead, with filmmaker Kirsten Johnson also winning best director.

Summer of Soul (Searchlight, July 2, trailer)

A full list of this year’s winners follows.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu) (WINNER)
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/Participant)
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)

BEST DIRECTOR (TIE)

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films) (WINNER)
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson – Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu) (WINNER)

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/Participant)
Edgar Wright – The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)

BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson – Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu) (WINNER)
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)
Edgar Wright – The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

David Katznelson, Ian Seabrook and Picha Srisansanee – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films) (WINNER)
Jessica Beshir – Faya Dayi (Janus Films)
Jonathan Griffith, Brett Lowell and Austin Siadak – The Alpinist (Roadside Attractions)
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

Joshua L. Pearson – Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu) (WINNER)
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)
Julian Quantrill – The Real Charlie Chaplin (Showtime)

 

BEST NARRATION

Val (Amazon Studios) (WINNER)
Jack Kilmer, Narrator
Val Kilmer, Writer

9/11: Inside the President’s War Room (Apple TV+)
Jeff Daniels, Narrator

Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)
Vincent Cassel, Narrator
Mark Monroe and Pax Wassermann, Writers

The Crime of the Century (HBO Documentary Films)
Alex Gibney, Narrator & Writer

The Neutral Ground (PBS)
CJ Hunt, Narrator & Writer

The Real Charlie Chaplin (Showtime)
Pearl Mackie, Narrator
Oliver Kindeberg, Peter Middleton and James Spinney, Writers

The Year Earth Changed (Apple TV+)
David Attenborough, Narrator

BEST SCORE

Daniel Pemberton – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films) (WINNER)
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)
Rachel Portman – Julia (Sony Pictures Classics)
Dirac Sea – Final Account (Focus Features)

BEST ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTARY

Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)(Searchlight Pictures/Hulu) (WINNER)
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)
Val (Amazon Studios)
The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)

BEST HISTORICAL OR BIOGRAPHICAL DOCUMENTARY

Val (Amazon Studios) (WINNER)
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)

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY

Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)(Searchlight Pictures/Hulu) (WINNER)
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)
Tina (HBO Documentary Films)
The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY

The Crime of the Century (HBO Documentary Films) (WINNER)
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) (WINNER)
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)(WINNER)
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

The Queen of Basketball (The New York Times)(WINNER)
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)
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+)