John Ridley's Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 earns NBR Freedom of Expression award
Unlike 2016 when O.J.: Made in America ran away with almost every award available, this is not a consensus year for what constitutes the best documentary.
So far prizes and nominations have been distributed widely, and that trend continued with the announcement of the National Board of Review winners on Tuesday.
Brett Morgen's film Jane, about the pioneering primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall, was named best documentary by the organization made up of "film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals and academics of varying ages and backgrounds."
Earlier this month, Jane won best documentary at the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards, but in an indication of the lack of consensus pervading this awards season, it did not earn a best feature nomination for the prestigious International Documentary Association Awards.
Along with Jane, The National Board of Review included five more films on its list of top documentaries:
>ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail, directed by Steve James
>Brimstone and Glory, directed by Viktor Jakovlevski
>Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, directed by Lili Fini Zanuck
>Faces Places, directed by Agnès Varda and JR
>Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS, directed by Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested
Interestingly, Yance Ford's Strong Island did not make that list. His film claimed best documentary honors at the IFP Gotham Awards Monday night.
Related: Brett Morgen on why he worked with Jane Goodall on a documentary neither of them (initially) wanted to make
NBR saluted an additional documentary, giving John Ridley's Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 its Freedom of Expression Award. The film reexamines what many people refer to as the "LA Riots" (Ridley says the more appropriate term is "uprising'), and what led up to those devastating events in April 1992.
Let It Fall has qualified for Oscar consideration this year after a limited theatrical run. A shorter version of the film aired on ABC, home to Ridley's fictional TV series American Crime.
Related: John Ridley tracked down key witnesses, participants for doc on LA Riots/uprising: 'These memories are incredibly present for a lot of people'
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.