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Oscar: 145 Documentaries to Compete

Glenn here. Despite writing about (at least) one documentary a week since March, it feels like we've barely made a dint in covering the mammoth list of 145 titles that will be competing for the five coveted nominations in Best Documentary Feature category at the upcoming Oscars. Collectively, The Film Experience has reviewed 32 of the list, and we hope to cover a bunch more as we get closer to nominations.

Making it to the 15-strong shortlist will be tough even for noteworthy titles. It's worth remembering that big titles are left off and smaller little-known titles get elevated every year. What big titles will be left off? Will the recent scandals help or hinder Weiner, the year's most zeitgeisty doc hit. Will too many films about race cancel out one of the bigger titles? Will Herzog and Alex Gibney give the competition some behind-the-scenes star power?

If I had to take a complete stab in the dark guess of what those 15 titles would be based on what I have seen, what we know of this branch, and the buzz on certain titles, I would go with the following:

Audrey & Daisy - Fire at Sea - Gleason - Hooligan Sparrow
I Am Not Your Negro - Into the Inferno - The Ivory Game - Life Animated
Newtown - O.J. Made in America - 13th - Tower - Trapped - Weiner - Zero Days

The only real big names missing seem to be ones we already suspected wouldn't be on the list like Andrew Dominik's One More Time with Feeling, Sergei Loznitsa's found footage doc The Event, Chantal Akerman's swansong No Home Movie, Morgan Spurlock's Rats, the duelling queer festival hits Strike a Pose and Kiki and Albert Maysles' final project, In Transit. Although if someone can explain the absence of Gillian Armstrong's Women He's Undressed that would be nice. And I bemoan the loss of one of my absolutely favourite docs of the year, Here Come the Videofreex, a tiny analogue-doc about the early days of underground political news reporting. I do see, however, that O.J.: Made in America is indeed on the list, but whether the branch chooses to recognise an eight-hour made-for-television episodic documentary remains to be seen. My thoughts on this are known, but we'll wait and see if the branch take the bait before examining it much further.

For now you can read the full list after the break (with links to reviews).

“The Abolitionists”
“Abortion: Stories Women Tell”
“All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone”
“Almost Holy”
“Amanda Knox” (Glenn's review)
“Among the Believers”
“Anne Frank Then and Now”
“The Anthropologist"
“Apparition Hill”
“Art Bastard”
“The Ataxian”
“Audrie & Daisy” (Glenn's review)
“Author: The JT Leroy Story”
“The Bad Kids”
“Be Here Now (The Andy Whitfield Story)”
“The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years” (Glenn's review)
“A Beautiful Planet”
“Beauty Bites Beast”
“Becoming Mike Nichols” (Glenn's review)
“Before the Flood”
“Behind Bayonets and Barbed Wire”
“Behind the Cove – The Quiet Japanese Speak Out!”
“Best and Most Beautiful Things”
“The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits”
“Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened”
“A Billion Lives”
“Black Women in Medicine”
“Blood on the Mountain”
“Boy 23: The Forgotten Boys of Brazil”
“The Brainwashing of My Dad”
“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds”
“By Sidney Lumet”
“The C Word”
“Cameraperson” (Glenn's review, BFCA nominee)
“Citizen Soldier”
“City of Gold”
“Class Divide”
“Colliding Dreams”
“Command and Control”
“Danny Says”
“Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War”
“Disturbing the Peace”
“Do Not Resist”
“Don’t Blink – Robert Frank”
“The Eagle Huntress” (Nathaniel's review)
“Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words” (Glenn's review)

“Eating You Alive”
“Equal Means Equal”
“Eva Hesse”
“Everything Is Copy – Nora Ephron: Scripted & Unscripted” (Glenn's review)
“A Family Affair”
“Finding Babel”
“Fire at Sea” (Amir's review, Jose's interview, BFCA nominee)
“The First Monday in May” (Jose's interview)
“Floyd Norman: An Animated Life”
“Generation Startup”
“Gimme Danger”
“Gleason” (BFCA nominee)
“Harry & Snowman”
“Hate Rising with Jorge Ramos”
“Holy Hell”
“Hooligan Sparrow”
“How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“Indian Point”
“Into the Inferno” (Glenn's review)
“Iron Moon”
“Ivory. A Crime Story”
“The Ivory Game”
“Jim: The James Foley Story”
“Kate Plays Christine” (Glenn's review)
“Keepers of the Game”
“Landfill Harmonic”
“The Last Man on the Moon”
“Life, Animated” (BFCA nominee)
“Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World” (Glenn's review)

“Look at Us Now, Mother!”
“The Lovers and the Despot” (Glenn's review)
“Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA”
“Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures” (Manuel's review)
“Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing”
“Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame”
“Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise”
“Mifune: The Last Samurai”
“Miss Sharon Jones!” (Glenn's review)
“The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble”
“My Love, Don’t Cross That River” (Glenn's review)
“National Bird”
“National Parks Adventure”
“Never Surrender”
“Newtown” (Glenn's review)
“Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You” (Glenn's review)

“Notes on Blindness”
“Nuts!” (Glenn's review)
“O.J.: Made in America” (Glenn's review, BFCA nominee)

“Off the Rails”
“Older than Ireland”
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice”
“On the Map”
“100 Years, One Woman’s Fight for Justice”
“Our Last Tango”
“Presenting Princess Shaw”
“The Red Pill”
“Rigged 2016”
“The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip across Latin America”
“Rooted in Peace”
“The Ruins of Lifta”
“The Seventh Fire”
“Shadow World”
“Silicon Cowboys”
“Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang”
“Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four” (Glenn's review)
“Starving the Beast”
“The Syndrome”
“Thank You for Your Service”
“Theo Who Lived”
“They Will Have to Kill Us First – Malian Music in Exile”
“13th” (Glenn's review, BFCA nominee)
“This Is Life”
“Tickled” (Josh's review, BFCA nominee)
“Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru” (Glenn's review)
“Tower” (Glenn's review, BFCA nominee)

“The Trans List”
“Trapped” (Glenn's review)
“Trezoros: The Lost Jews of Kastoria”
“USS Indianapolis The Legacy”
“The Uncondemned”
“Under the Gun”
“Under the Sun” (Glenn's review, APSA nominee)
“Underfire: The Untold Story of Pfc. Tony Vaccaro”
“Unlocking the Cage”
“Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe”
“Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience”
“We Are X”
“Weiner” (Daniel's review, BFCA nominee)
“When Two Worlds Collide”
“The Witness” (Glenn's review, BFCA nominee)
“Zero Days” (Glenn's review)

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Reader Comments (3)

City of Gold is an amazing documentary.

October 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterIan

Ian, it is now on my list!

October 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Something tells me that the Academy will snub OJ: Made in America. Lots of these docs make an appearance on TV at some point in their roll-out, but the number of people who have publicly questioned whether OJ is a movie or a miniseries might just make them take a stand against it.

October 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

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