The competition for the next Oscar for Best Documentary Feature is heating up. This year’s 15 titles shortlisted for the award have just been unveiled by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. As always, there aren’t a lot of surprises as far as what made the list, but there are some that surprisingly were left off, such as the audience favorite The Wolfpack. Not that it’s good enough, though quite a few on the shortlist are among our least favorites of the year.
As for those among our most favorites of the year, we have to obligatorily whine about some of the films that were “snubbed.” Looking back at the 124 submitted and qualified nonfiction features, we see these unfortunate omissions: In Jackson Heights, Iris, Stray Dog, Of Men and War, The Russian Woodpecker, Finders Keepers, Dior and I, (T)error, Song from the Forest, 1971, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, Ballet 422 and, well, a lot more.
With those films that did make the shortlist, 20 Feet From Stardom helmer Morgan Neville is going for a second Academy Award. And so are Alex Gibney (past winner for Taxi to the Dark Side), Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) and Michael Moore (Sicko), Meanwhile, Kirby Dick could make this his third chance at the Oscar, and Joshua Oppenheimer, Liz Garbus and Hubert Sauper could each wind up with their second nomination.
One more obligatory thing. As hard to guess at this point as it is, here are my nominee predictions now: Amy, Best of Enemies, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence and Winter on Fire. Those nominees (or another five from the below 15) will be announced on January 14th.
Here’s the shortlist:
Amy, On the Corner Films and Universal Music
Best of Enemies, Sandbar
Cartel Land, Our Time Projects and The Documentary Group
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Jigsaw Productions
He Named Me Malala, Parkes-MacDonald and Little Room
Heart of a Dog, Canal Street Communications
The Hunting Ground, Chain Camera Pictures
Listen to Me Marlon, Passion Pictures
The Look of Silence, Final Cut for Real
Meru, Little Monster Films
3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets, The Filmmaker Fund, Motto Pictures, Lakehouse Films, Actual Films, JustFilms, MacArthur Foundation and Bertha BRITDOC
We Come as Friends, Adelante Films
What Happened, Miss Simone?, RadicalMedia and Moxie Firecracker
Where to Invade Next, Dog Eat Dog Productions
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, Pray for Ukraine Productions