These Are the 15 Films in Competition for an Oscar Best Documentary Nomination
The road to the Oscars is long and winding. Though everyone’s wrapping up their coverage of 2016, formulating lists and bestowing awards, we’ve still got a little under three months until the Academy Awards telecast actually airs on February 26. But some categories do get off and running in advance of the official nominations announcement on January 24, with larger slates of films placed on a shortlist from which five selections are then culled. The race for the Best Documentary Feature prize officially began yesterday, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released their fifteen picks for the cream of this year’s nonfiction crop.
Excepting the glaring omission of Robert Greene’s beguiling Kate Plays Christine (perhaps rendered ineligible due to its status as a docufiction hybrid of sorts), it’s a solid list. There are a few big names here likely to make the final cut — Selma and Queen Sugar director Ava DuVernay kept it 100 this year with 13th, her treatise on the enduring enslavement of black bodies in America via the prison-industrial system. The morbidly entrancing Weiner made a tragic fool out of the controversy-magnet politician and noted dick-pic sender, and Ezra Edelman’s colossal, 467-minute O.J.: Made in America used the celebrity trial as a jumping-off point for a sweeping address on America’s legacy of racial unrest.
While we’re at it, why not fill out the category with a couple more predictions: Kirsten Johnson may have served as cinematographer on past winner Citizenfour, but her directorial collage Cameraperson doesn’t wield the same topical fire. While her skill may be too great to ignore, it will likely bring her nothing more than a nomination. And that last slot ought to go to activist and filmmaker Raoul Peck for his lyrical take on James Baldwin’s I Am Not Your Negro. (Could be a big year for black documentarians! It’s almost as if the Academy had been an object of mockery for their doctrine of blinding whiteness over the past year!)
Take a gander at the full shortlist below, and feel free to weigh in with your outrage/glee over BS omissions/pleasantly surprising inclusions:
Command and Control
The Eagle Huntress
Fire at Sea
Gleason, Dear Rivers Productions
I Am Not Your Negro
The Ivory Game,
O.J.: Made in America