“The Territory” led the Cinema Eye Honors nominations
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article now contains ★ to represent the winners, announced on January 12th. The rest of the text is from the original article.
The Oscar race for Best Documentary Feature didn’t use to have so many ‘precursors’ to consider but interest in and awards for documentaries have grown considerably in the 21st century. The Cinema Eye Honors, which began in 2007, were the first awards organization to recognize documentaries above and beyond “Best Documentary” by honoring them for several craft achievements too in multiple categories. They’ve just announced their nominees for their 16th annual NonFiction Film Awards. The nomination leaders are the box office hit Fire of Love and critical darling The Territory…
Unfortunately, as with the abundant prizes for narrative features the ever-expanding amount of awards bodies for documentaries have not expanded opinions about “best”. As with narrative awards, we see mostly the same movies recognized across every organization. The six nominees for Cinema Eye Honors top category include five films that also snagged honors with Critics Choice Association, IDA Finalist list and the DOC NYC Shortlist. Their only deviation is a top nomination for the documentary A Night of Knowing Nothing which is an experimental Indian doc about a university student’s love letters to her boyfriend. It premiered at Cannes in 2021 and won the L’Œil d’or prize. Interestingly in the top category, it’s up against All That Breathes which won that same exact prize at Cannes this past summer.
So the interest is mostly in seeing which patterns emerge from organization to organization. And/or what’s missing. For example Cinema Eye ignored Goodnight Oppy, The Janes, Aftershock which all scored with CCA. Full list of nominees and and a few more comments below.
Outstanding Nonfiction Feature
“A Night of Knowing Nothing”
★ All That Breathes Directed and Produced by Shaunak Sen Produced by Aman Mann and Teddy Leifer
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed Directed and Produced by Laura Poitras Produced by Howard Gertler, John Lyons, Nan Goldin and Yoni Golijov
Fire of Love Directed and Produced by Sara Dosa Produced by Shane Boris and Ina Fichman
Navalny Directed by Daniel Roher Produced by Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller and Shane Boris
A Night of Knowing Nothing Directed by Payal Kapadia Produced by Thomas Hakim, Julien Graff and Ranabir Das
The Territory Directed and Produced by Alex Pritz Produced by Darren Aronofsky, Gabriel Uchida, Sigrid Dyekjær, Lizzie Gillett and Will N. Miller
All of these are already on our top ten of what’s in the mix for Oscar’s nominations… with the exception of A Night of Knowing Nothing since we’re not sure yet on eligibility.
All That Breathes Shaunak Sen
★ All the Beauty and the Bloodshed Laura Poitras
Beba Rebeca Huntt
Descendant Margaret Brown
Fire of Love Sara Dosa
A Night of Knowing Nothing Payal Kapadia
Majority female lineup in Best Director. (Documentaries have long been a more welcoming avenue for female directors.) Interestingly both here and at the Critics Choice Nominations, Descendant did not make the feature list but did make the directing list.
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed Amy Foote, Joe Bini and Brian A. Kates
★ Fire of Love Erin Casper and Jocelyne Chaput
Moonage Daydream Brett Morgen
Riotsville, USA Nels Bangerter
Three Minutes: A Lengthening Katharina Wartena
Point of interest: Riotsville USA and Three Minutes only scored editing nominations with this organization. This is also the only category where we’ve reviewed every single nominee at The Film Experience.
This vaguely titled award is for achievement of the producers themselves.
“A House Made of Splinters”
All That Breathes Aman Mann, Shaunak Sen and Teddy Leifer
A House Made of Splinters Monica Hellström
In Her Hands Juan Camilo Cruz and Jonathan Schaerf
★ Navalny Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller and Shane Boris
The Territory Alex Pritz, Darren Aronofsky, Gabriel Uchida, Sigrid Dyekjær, Lizzie Gillett and Will N. Miller
Point of Interest: A House Made of Splinters, about a home for kids awaiting custody decisions in Ukraine, is also up for the European Film Awards but it’s otherwise been absent in recent awards announcements. That said it did start it’s awards journey in a big way with a Directing win for World Cinema Documentary at Sundance in January.