ESPN has shown significant awards ambitions for its 30 for 30 documentary, O.J.: Made in America. It will be quite a while before we know if the film gets the Academy Awards love that the network is hoping for. But awards contenders often have to build up to that sort of recognition. O.J.: Made in America may have taken an important first step on that path, however. And another sports documentary could be right behind it.

The first annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards announced its nominations on Monday morning, and both O.J.: Made in America and Gleason drew the most nominations among eligible films. Each film notched five nominations. (Also earning five nominations was 13th, Ava DuVernay’s documentary about the 13th Amendment and the disparity toward African Americans in the nation’s prison population).

Interestingly, both O.J.: Made in America and 13th were produced for television, with Made in America playing on ESPN and ABC, while 13th was made for Netflix. That surely speaks to television being a better outlet for documentaries than theatrical releases, typically. Both films did get brief theatrical releases to qualify for awards consideration, however. Gleason was co-produced by Amazon Studios, but was released in theaters nationwide.

O.J.: Made in America was nominated in the Best Documentary Feature, Best Political Documentary, Best Sports Documentary, and Best Limited Documentary Series categories, while director Ezra Edelman also received a nomination in the Best Direction of a Documentary Feature category.

Gleason earned nominations in the Best Documentary Feature and Best Sports Documentary categories. Director Clay Tweel was nominated for Best Direction of a Documentary Feature, while “Hoping and Healing” by Mike McCready earned a nomination in the Best Song in a Documentary category. Additionally, Steve Gleason the former New Orleans Saints player who’s the subject of the film, is among seven honorees in the Most Compelling Subject of a Documentary category. (No single winner will be awarded in that particular category.)

Voting in the Critics Choice Documentary Awards will be determined by the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. The awards ceremony will be held at BRIC in Brooklyn, New York on Nov. 3.


About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.