Oscar History

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Documentary Finalists for Oscar

Cameraperson is the best film of the year. Nothing else is even close. -Mark

Command and Control should be required viewing in public schools. Too bad we are entering a coupon voucher era. - Minerva

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Entries in documentaries (232)


Documentary Oscar Race Narrows to 14 Films (Plus 1 Mini-Series)

Oscar has winnowed down that massive Best Documentary Semi-Finals list to a more manageable fifteen. We've reviewed just over two thirds of them. Nine are currently available to stream online (handy links provided) and four are in select theaters. The finalists for the five nominations are...

What's missing? Well, what isn't. There are always scads of depressing omissions. Let us focus our tears on the delicious Sondheim retrospective reflection about "Merrily We Roll Along" The Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened which really deserves a big audience. But all told this list is not surprising finals list. In fact I am quite shocked to tell you that in my Top 20 Most Likely To Oscar chart page (being revised at the moment) I missed only two of these fifteen (Command and Control and The Witness) in favor of films like Newtown and Miss Sharon Jones


Doc Corner: 'Mavis!' and 'We Are X' Spotlight the Music

Every year there are so many documentaries about musicians that it sometimes feels as if we will surely run out. We of course all know that will never be the case, and in this landscape of film distribution, documentaries like these are the easiest sells so it’s hard to blame the makers. In 2016 alone we’ve see films about The Beatles, Nick Cave, Oasis, Frank Zappa, and the late Sharon Jones. Jim Jarmusch has released Gimme Danger about Iggy Pop and The Stooges and there has even been yet another Rolling Stones doc called The Rolling Stones Ole Ole Ole!: A Trip Across Latin America that I never knew existed.

This week we’re looking at two more that are on this year’s Oscar eligibility long-list and which focus on polar-opposite worlds of music: rhythm and blues icon Mavis Staple and Japanese hard-rock phenomenon X.

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Doc Corner: China Comes Into Focus in Documentaries

by Glenn Dunks

Two weeks ago (I had to take a week off to help put on an award show!) when discussing Zhang Zanbo’s The Road, I mentioned the rise of documentaries not just by Chinese filmmakers, but about China in general. A fascinating convergence in the rise of China as a global and controversial super-power with the rise of documentary filmmaking as a populist artform. It seems appropriate then to look at a recent trio of documentaries that focus on China and that each tackle a compelling and important subject: women’s sexual rights, animal poaching, and the destruction of the Earth...

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The Finalists in All "Short Film" Categories 

Oscar announced the finalists in the documentary short film category a month ago but now we have the live action and animated finalists as well so the charts have been updated with links and information.

Inner Working

As expected Pixar's Piper which played before Finding Dory and Disney's hilarious Inner Workings, which is playing before Moana are both in the running. But if you're interested in seeing glimpses of their competition for those coveted five nominations, all the other trailers are after the jump...

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Doc Corner: From the Chiffon Jungle to the Great Outdoors at DOC NYC

Last week we looked at a group of films among the mammoth collection of titles playing Doc NYC. The festival continues and so we're looking at a few more films, taking a sort of cinematic road trip from the big city, down the highway to the Rocky Mountains and then back again.

The “chiffon jungle” is what the subject of Otis Mass’ debut film, The Incomparable Rose Hartman, a fashion and pop culture photographer whose images are as iconic as they are striking, labels her home of New York City. A place where fashion is as integral to daily life as breath is to life. Feel to free disagree, but as the first person to understand the appeal of the decadent backstage of celebrity life and master it into something truly artful, Hartman soon built a reputation that put her subjects at ease and made her none synonymous with New York’s cultural scene in a more extravagant way than the likes of Bill Cunningham. Whether she was photographing the models backstage and on the runways of  Donna Karen, Caroline Herrera or Halston, or capturing the more candid, celebratory side of celebrities like Jerry Hall, Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Liza Minnelli and Cher at Studio 54, her work is justifiably as iconic as it is extraordinary...

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