'The Act of Killing,' 'Stories We Tell' take top awards at Cinema Eye Honors

Posted by · 9:10 am · January 9th, 2014

The other day somebody asked me what my money was on for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar, and I realized I had no answer. Unlike last year, when “Searching for Sugar Man” swept all before it on its way to the Oscar podium, documentary honors have been generously dispersed this season — and that trend of spreading the wealth continued at last night’s Cinema Eye Honors in New York.

Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” — one of the year’s clear critical favorites in the category — won the night’s top award, as well as Outstanding Achievement in Production. But not everything went its way: Sarah Polley, who has thus far picked up wins from the Los Angeles and New York critics’ groups, among others, took the Best Director award for her intimate family memoir “Stories We Tell.”

Both films, of course, are on the Academy’s documentary shortlist, as are two other films recognized by Cinema Eye last night. Those would be Zachary Heinzerling’s “Cutie and the Boxer,” the night’s only other multiple prizewinner with awards for Best Debut, Music and Graphic Design, and Lucy Walker’s “The Crash Reel” — a HBO production that, while eligible for the Oscar, was named the year’s best TV documentary.

Other notable awards include a particularly well-deserved cinematography win for avant-garde seafaring portrait “Leviathan” and the Heterodox Award — which recognized narrative features that incorporate documentary techniques — for Carlos Reygadas’ divisive Cannes winner “Post Tenebras Lux.” Meanwhile, the Audience Prize went to rocker-turned-filmmaker Dave Grohl for “Sound City.” Something for everyone, then.

Full list of winners:

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking
“The Act of Killing,” directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen

Outstanding Achievement in Direction
Sarah Polley, “Stories We Tell”

Outstanding Achievement in Production
Signe Byrge Sørensen, “The Act of Killing”

Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film
Zachary Heinzerling, “Cutie and the Boxer”

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, “Leviathan”

Outstanding Achievement in Editing
Nels Bangerter, “Let the Fire Burn”

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Score
Yasuaki Shimizu, “Cutie and the Boxer”

Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design and Animation Art
Jail, “Cutie and the Boxer”

Audience Choice Prize
“Sound City,” directed by Dave Grohl

Heterodox Award
“Post Tenebras Lux,” directed by Carlos Reygadas

Outstanding Nonfiction Film for Television

“The Crash Reel,” directed by Lucy Walker, produced by Julian Cautherley and Lucy Walker

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking
“A Story for the Modlins,” directed by Sergio Oksman

Spotlight Award
“The Last Station,” directed by Cristian Soto and Catalina Vergara

Legacy Award
“Harlan County, USA,” directed and produced by Barbara Kopple

Hell Yeah Prize
Josh Fox, “Gasland” and “Gasland, Part 2”

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