‘Summer of Soul’ Sweeps Critics Choice Documentary Awards

Written by on November 15, 2021

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(Hollywood Reporter) – Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s Summer of Soul won all six categories in which it was nominated at the 2021 Critics Choice Documentary Awards, which were handed out Sunday in Brooklyn.

The film, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, features footage, largely forgotten and unseen for 50 years, of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, featuring Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder and more.

Among the film’s awards haul was the trophy for best documentary, the top award of the night. In his speech, Questlove said, “This is hands down the best night of my life.”

Summer of Soul also was named best archival documentary. Questlove kicked off his second speech with, “This isn’t awkward at all.” The film also went on to win best music documentary and best editing, the latter of which Questlove presented, giving out a little shout of excitement before announcing the winner. Questlove also tied for best director alongside Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin for The Rescue. The best director award was presented by Dana Delany, who called Questlove the MVP of the night.

Before the awards, Questlove told The Hollywood Reporter that a win would be a “cherry on top” of the effort that went into the film.

“There’s a lot of hard work that went into this and to see something in fruition after 50 years of a stalled car would be rather sweet,” he said.

When asked what he hopes viewers take away from the film, his answer was simple: “joy.”

“This is probably definitely one of the happiest documentaries that I’ve ever seen, even though I’m a part of it,” he said. “To see it is something to behold.”

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