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‘The Act of Killing,’ ‘Stories We Tell’ and ‘Cutie and the Boxer’ Top Cinema Eye Honors

'The Act of Killing,' 'Stories We Tell' and 'Cutie and the Boxer' Top Cinema Eye Honors

While only five films will compete for the best documentary Oscar after nominations are announced next week, many more were celebrated last night at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens during the seventh annual Cinema Eye Honors, which recognize the finest non-fiction accomplishments of the year.

Two acclaimed documentaries from 2013 capped the night, with Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” winning the Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking and Sarah Polley nabbing Outstanding Achievement in Direction for “Stories We Tell.” However, the biggest winner of the evening was unquestionably Zachary Heinzerling’s “Cutie and the Boxer,” the Sundance-acclaimed portrait of a New York artist and his committed wife, which won three prizes: Outstanding Debut for Heinzerling, Outstanding Graphics and Animation for production company Art Jail and Outstanding Original Score for Yasuaki Shimizu.

Highlights from the evening included a lengthy introduction by Michael Moore, who noted the welcome lack of competition among the communal filmmakers in the room, an appearance by editor Thelma Schoonmaker (who compared editing Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” to working on documentary films), and a Legacy Award presented to Barbara Kopple for her 1976 film “Harlan County USA.”

One of the more touching moments of the evening arrived early on, when Cinema Eye co-founder AJ Schnack paid tribute to filmmaker Laura Poitras, who has been unable to work in the United States due to her role in documenting Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks last year. Schnack played a clip from an acceptance speech Poitras gave at the 2011 Cinema Eye Honors, after her documentary “The Oath” won a prize, in which the filmmaker called for all the documentarians in the room to pledge to go to jail before allowing institutions to censure their work.

Another significant moment arrived when “Gasland” and “Gasland II” director Josh Fox received the Cinema Eye’s “Hell Yeah” prize for his activism. Noting that his attendance at the ceremony meant that he had to miss an Albany protest established to encourage Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban fracking in New York state, Fox asked the entire audience to stand up and shout “Hell yeah!” as a means of endorsing the anti-fraking message, while the filmmaker took a photo he intended to send to both Governor Cuomo and President Barack Obama.

For a full list of last night’s winners, head to the next page.

The following is a complete list of last night’s winners.

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking

The Act of Killing

Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer

Produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen

Presented by Steve James

Outstanding Achievement in Direction

Sarah Polley

Stories We Tell

Presented by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady

Outstanding Achievement in Editing

Nels Bangerter

Let the Fire Burn

Presented by Thelma Schoonmaker

Audience Choice Prize

Sound City

Directed by Dave Grohl

Presented by John Flansburgh and Robin “Goldie” Goldwasser

Outstanding Achievement in Production

Signe Byrge Sørensen

The Act of Killing

Presented by Jennifer Fox and Ross Kauffman

Outstanding Nonfiction Film for Television

The Crash Reel

Directed by Lucy Walker

Produced by Julian Cautherley and Lucy Walker

For HBO Documentary Films: Executive Producer Sheila Nevins and Supervising Producer Sara Bernstein

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking

A Story for the Modlins

Directed by Sergio Oksman

Presented by Kirsten Johnson and Darius Marder

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography

Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel


Presented by Kirsten Johnson and Darius Marder

Heterodox Award

Post Tenebras Lux

Directed by Carlos Reygadas

Presented by Jeremy Saulnier and Angela Tucker

Outstanding Achievement in an Original Music Score

Yasuaki Shimizu

Cutie and the Boxer

Presented by Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman

Spotlight Award

The Last Station

Directed by Cristian Soto and Catalina Vergara

Presented by Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman

Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design and Animation

Art Jail

Cutie and the Boxer

Presented by Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim

Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film

Zachary Heinzerling

Cutie and the Boxer

Presented by Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim

Legacy Award

Harlan County, USA

Directed and Produced by Barbara Kopple

Presented by Kristi Jacobson

Hell Yeah Prize

Josh Fox

Gasland and Gasland, Part 2

Presented by AJ Schnack

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