Kedi, an extraordinary documentary about the street cats of Istanbul, leads all contenders in nominations for the second annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards, set for November 2 at BRIC in Brooklyn.

With nods for Best Documentary, Best First Documentary, Most Innovative Documentary, Best Director for Ceyda Torun, as well as the Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary honor for its four-legged stars, Kedi made an impressive showing while also clearly establishing itself as a major threat for Oscar in the Documentary Feature category. It was a top-grossing hit in theaters for Oscilloscope after its February release. A number of films received runner-up status with three nominations each including the inventive and nostalgic California Typewriterthe harrowing and impressive City of Ghosts, from director Matthew Heineman; Evgeny Afineevsky’s powerful Cries From Syria; Netflix’s strong Chasing Coral; and the remarkable Dawson City: Frozen in Time.

California Typewriter
Gravitas Ventures

The HBO showbiz docu Bright Lights, which offered unprecedented access into the lives of the late Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, also garnered a Best Documentary nomination among others. Agnes Varda and JR’s delightful Faces Places, legendary documentarian Fredrick Wiseman’s Ex-Libris: The New York Public Library, and the climate-change docu An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power also were key nominees in numerous categories including a nom for the latter’s star Al Gore, who is competing against surfing legend Laird Hamilton, those Turkish cats among others for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary. You can’t say these nominations aren’t imaginative.

An Inconvenient Sequel
Paramount Pictures

Because of confusion and changing methods of distribution, the Broadcast Film Critics Association and sister group the Broadcast Television Journalists Association have merged candidates for theatrically released docus and TV/streaming docus into a single category for Best Documentary, as well as First Docu and Director. The other categories are unaffected by this distinction. The change is a direct response to films like O.J.: Made in America and 13th, which strode the lines between Oscars and Emmys last season — nominated and winning in both. The CCDA powers that be decided to erase the difference and let them play in the same sandbox. Such is the nature of documentary distribution these days.

Separate select committees choice final contenders in both Theatrical Documentary and TV/Streaming categories. Full disclosure: I am a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and participated in the selection of these nominees.

Here are the nominees for the second annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards :

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail – Director: Steve James (PBS / Blue Ice Films, Mitten Media, Motto Pictures, Kartemquin Films Production)

Beware the Slenderman – Director: Irene Taylor Brodsky (HBO, Warner Bros. Television Distribution / HBO Documentary Films, Vermilion Films)

Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds – Directors: Alexis Bloom, Fisher Stevens (HBO / Bloomfish Pictures, HBO Documentary Films, Insurgent Docs, RatPac Documentary Films)

California Typewriter – Director: Doug Nichol (Gravitas Ventures / American Buffalo Pictures)

Chasing Coral – Director: Jeff Orlowski (Netflix / Exposure Labs)

City of Ghosts – Director: Matthew Heineman (Amazon Studios, A&E IndieFilms, IFC Films / Our Time Projects)

Cries From Syria – Director: Evgeny Afineevsky (HBO / Afineevsky – Tolmor Production, Cinepost Barrandov, Levy Entertainment Group, Studio Malibu)

Dawson City: Frozen Time – Director: Bill Morrison (Kino Lorber / Hypnotic Pictures, Picture Palace Pictures)

Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis – Director: Colin Hanks (HBO / Live Nation Productions, Company Name)

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library – Director: Frederick Wiseman (Zipporah Films)

Faces Places – Directors: Agnès Varda & JR (Cohen Media Group / Ciné Tamaris, Social Animals, Rouge International, Arte France Cinéma, Arches Films)

Jane – Director: Brett Morgen (National Geographic Documentary Films / National Geographic Studios, Public Road Productions)

Kedi – Director: Ceyda Torun (Oscilloscope Laboratories, YouTube Red / Termite Films)

One of Us – Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady (Netflix / Loki Films)

Spettacolo – Directors: Jeff Malmberg, Chris Shellen (Grasshopper Film / Open Face)

Strong Island – Director: Yance Ford (Netflix / Yanceville Films, Louverture Films)

BEST DIRECTOR

Evgeny Afineevsky – Cries from Syria (HBO / Afineevsky – Tolmor Production, Cinepost Barrandov, Levy Entertainment Group, Studio Malibu)

Amir Bar-Lev – Long Strange Trip (Amazon / Amazon Studios, Double E Pictures, Sikelia Productions, AOMA Sunshine Films)

Matthew Heineman – City of Ghosts (Amazon Studios, A&E IndieFilms, IFC Films / Our Time Projects)

Bill Morrison – Dawson City: Frozen Time (Kino Lorber / Hypnotic Pictures, Picture Palace Pictures)

Doug Nichol – California Typewriter (Gravitas Ventures / American Buffalo Pictures)

Jeff Orlowski – Chasing Coral (Netflix / Exposure Labs)

Irene Taylor Brodsky – Beware the Slenderman (HBO, Warner Bros. Television Distribution / HBO Documentary Films, Vermilion Films)

Ceyda Torun – Kedi (Oscilloscope Laboratories, YouTube Red / Termite Films)

Agnès Varda & JR – Faces Places (Cohen Media Group / Ciné Tamaris, Social Animals, Rouge International, Arte France Cinéma, Arches Films)

Frederick Wiseman – Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (Zipporah Films)

BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY

California Typewriter – Director: Doug Nichol (Gravitas Ventures / American Buffalo Pictures)

Kedi – Director: Ceyda Torun (Oscilloscope Laboratories, YouTube Red / Termite Films)

Nowhere to Hide – Director: Zaradasht Ahmed (East Village Entertainment / Ten Thousand Images)

Step – Director: Amanda Lipitz (Fox Searchlight / Impact Partners, Stick Figure Productions)

Strong Island – Director: Yance Ford (Netflix / Yanceville Films, Louverture Films)

Whose Streets? – Director: Sabaah Folayan, Co-Director: Damon Davis (Magnolia Pictures)

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY

11/8/16 – Directors: Duane Andersen, Don Argott & Sheena M. Joyce, Yung Chang, Garth Donovan, Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker, Vikram Gandhi, Raul Gasteazoro, Jamie Goncalves, Andrew Beck Grace, Alma Har’el, Daniel Junge, Alison Klayman, Ciara Lacy, Martha Shane, Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Bassam Tariq (The Orchard / Cinetic Media)

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail – Director: Steve James (PBS / Blue Ice Films, Mitten Media, Motto Pictures, Kartemquin Films Production)

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power – Directors: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk (Paramount / Actual Films, Participant Media)

City of Ghosts – Director: Matthew Heineman (Amazon Studios, A&E IndieFilms, IFC Films / Our Time Projects)

Dolores – Director: Peter Bratt (PBS Distribution / 5 Stick Films)

The Reagan Show – Directors: Sierra Pettengill, Pacho Velez (Gravitas Ventures, CNN Films)

BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY

AlphaGo – Director: Greg Kohs (Submarine Entertainment / Moxie Pictures, Reel As Dirt)

Disgraced – Director: Pat Kondelis (Showtime Networks / Bat Bridge Entertainment)

Icarus – Director: Bryan Fogel (Netflix / Alex Productions, Diamond Docs, Impact Partners)

Speed Sisters – Director: Amber Fares (First Run Features)

Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton – Director: Rory Kennedy (Sundance Selects / Moxie Firecracker Films)

Trophy – Directors: Christina Clusiau, Shaul Schwarz (CNN Films, The Orchard / Candescent Films, Pulse Films, Reel Peak Films)

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY

Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of our Lives – Director: Chris Perkel (Apple Music / IM Global, Scott Free Productions)

Contemporary Color – Directors: Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross (Oscilloscope / The Department of Motion Pictures, Public Domain, Todo Mundo)

Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis – Director: Colin Hanks (HBO / Live Nation Productions, Company Name)

I Called Him Morgan – Director: Kasper Collin (FilmRise, Submarine Entertainment / Kasper Collin Produktion, Sveriges Television, Film i Väst)

Long Strange Trip – Director: Amir Bar-Lev (Amazon / Amazon Studios, Double E Pictures, Sikelia Productions, AOMA Sunshine Films)

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World – Director: Catherine Bainbridge, Co-Director: Alfonso Maiorana (Kino Lorber / ARTE G.E.I.E, Rezolution Pictures)

MOST COMPELLING LIVING SUBJECT OF A DOCUMENTARY

The Cats of Istanbul – Kedi (Oscilloscope Laboratories, YouTube Red / Termite Films)

Etty – One of Us (Netflix / Loki Films)

Al Gore – An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (Paramount / Actual Films, Participant Media)

Laird Hamilton – Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton (Sundance Selects / Moxie Firecracker Films)

Dolores Huerta – Dolores (PBS / 5 Stick Films)

Gigi Lazzarato – This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous (YouTube Red / SelectNext, Cabin Creek Films)

The Sung Family – Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (PBS / Blue Ice Films, Mitten Media, Motto Pictures, Kartemquin Films Production)

MOST INNOVATIVE DOCUMENTARY

78/52 – Director: Alexandre O. Philippe (IFC Midnight / ARTE, Exhibit A Pictures, Milkhaus, Screen Division, Sensorshot Productions)

Casting JonBenet – Director: Kitty Green (Netflix / Forensic Films, Symbolic Exchange, Meridian Entertainment)

Dawson City: Frozen Time – Director: Bill Morrison (Kino Lorber / Hypnotic Pictures, Picture Palace Pictures)

Karl Marx City – Directors: Petra Epperlein, Michael Tucker (Bond/360 / Pepper & Bones)

Kedi – Director: Ceyda Torun (Oscilloscope Laboratories, YouTube Red / Termite Films)

Last Men in Aleppo – Director: Firas Fayyad, Co-Director: Steen Johannessen (Grasshopper Film / Aleppo Media Center, Larm Film)

BEST SONG IN A DOCUMENTARY

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power – “Truth to Power” – OneRepublic (Paramount / Actual Films, Participant Media)

Chasing Coral – “Tell Me How Long” – Kristen Bell (Netflix / Exposure Labs)

Cries From Syria – “Prayers for This World” – Cher (HBO / Afineevsky – Tolmor Production, Cinepost Barrandov, Levy Entertainment Group, Studio Malibu)

Dina – “Best I Can” – Michael Cera featuring Sharon Van Etten (The Orchard / Cinereach, El Peligro, Killer Films)

Served Like a Girl – “Dancing Through the Wreckage” – Pat Benatar (Entertainment Studios, Freestyle Digital Media)

Step – “Jump” – Cynthia Erivo (Fox Searchlight / Impact Partners, Stick Figure Productions)

BEST LIMITED DOCUMENTARY SERIES (TV/STREAMING)

The Defiant Ones (HBO)

Five Came Back (Netflix / Amblin Television, IACF Productions, Netflix, Passion Pictures, Rock Paper Scissors Entertainment)

The Keepers (Netflix / Film 45, Tripod Media)

The Nineties (CNN / CNN, Playtone, Herzog & Company)

Planet Earth II (BBC America, AMC, SundanceTV / BBC Natural History Unit, BBC America, ZDF, Tencent, France Télévisions)

The Vietnam War (PBS / Florentine Films, WETA-TV Washington)

BEST ONGOING DOCUMENTARY SERIES (TV/STREAMING)

30 for 30 (ESPN / ESPN Films)

American Masters (PBS / WNET New York City)

Frontline (PBS / WGBH-TV Boston)

Independent Lens (PBS / Independent Television Service, Inc.)

POV (PBS / American Documentary, Inc.)

VICE (HBO / VICE Media)

Academy Award and seven-time Emmy nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger will be the recipient of a special honor, the Critics Choice Impact Award.

Qualified members of BFCA and BTJA will choose the winners from among the nominees in voting October 30-31.