15 finalists remain for nominations in Best Documentary Feature

weiner documentary
Yesterday, the Academy announced one of their long lists, whittling down the Best Animated Feature contenders to just 15 finalists. They went from an initial listing of 145 titles, making this comparatively a very short list. It consists of all of the year’s big contenders, as you’ll see shortly, but it also has relatively few snubs. I’ll get into that momentarily, but that’s a nice change of pace. This is always somewhat of a crapshoot, category wise, so knowing there’s a ton of quality here is never a bad thing at all. Anyway, this is more information to take into account when doing your Oscar predictions. The puzzle is slowly coming together, ladies and gentlemen!

Nothing too unexpected was left off this list, though Leonardo Dicaprio and Fisher Stevens’ Before the Flood, Werner Herzog’s Into the Inferno, Ron Howard’s The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time, Michael Moore’s Michael Moore in TrumpLand, and Kim Snyder’s Newtown didn’t make the cut in somewhat surprising fashion. The same can be said of things like Amanda Knox, Audrie & Daisy, Author: The JT Leroy Story, Everything Is Copy – Nora Ephron: Scripted & Unscripted, Miss Sharon Jones!, and more. Honestly, though nothing here is a tragic snub, you easily could have wound up with a final five of Audrie & Daisy, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, Before the Flood, Into the Inferno, and Newtown that would have been highly respectable. The ones you’ll see below are mostly the better works (Newtown excluded, which is incredible), so there’s that.

Considering how strong a year for documentary 2016 has been, AMPAS really couldn’t have gone wrong with whatever made this list. Still, having things like, to name a few, 13th, Cameraperson, Gleason, I Am Not Your Negro, Life, Animated, O.J.: Made in America, Tower, and Weiner make the cut is just a delight. I had actually been worried that Weiner wouldn’t make it this far, so that’s a solid sign of its chances. We shall see though. This is just step one in a longer process. Anyway, enough talk, right? I’m sure you want to see what the finalists now are in Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards!

Here are the 15 finalists for Best Documentary Feature:

“Cameraperson,” (Kirsten Johnson) Big Mouth Productions
“Command and Control,” (Robert Kenner) American Experience Films/PBS
“The Eagle Huntress,” (Otto Bell) Stacey Reiss Productions, Kissiki Films and 19340 Productions
“Fire at Sea,” (Gianfranco Rosi) Stemal Entertainment
“Gleason,” (Clay Tweel) Dear Rivers Productions, Exhibit A and IMG Films
“Hooligan Sparrow,” (Nanfu Wang) Little Horse Crossing the River
“I Am Not Your Negro,” (Raoul Peck) Velvet Film
“The Ivory Game,” (Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani) Terra Mater Film Studios and Vulcan Productions
“Life, Animated,” (Roger Ross Williams) Motto Pictures and A&E IndieFilms
“O.J.: Made in America,” (Ezra Edelman) Laylow Films and ESPN Films
“13th,” (Ava DuVernay) Forward Movement
“Tower,” (Keith Maitland) Go-Valley
“Weiner,” (Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg) Edgeline Films
“The Witness,” (James D. Solomon) The Witnesses Film
“Zero Days,” (Alex Gibney) Jigsaw Productions

At the moment, my predicted five of 13th, I Am Not Your Negro, Life, Animated, O.J.: Made in America, and Weiner remain the same, though I do think that Fire at Sea, Gleason, and Tower are right there nipping at the heels of the predicted docs. As for the frontrunner, that remains to be seen. Conventional wisdom suggests 13th, but I have a hunch that we might actually end up seeing O.J.: Made in America wind up taking it when all is said and done. Sit tight, as more precursors will potentially help clarify this soon. In the meantime, we now know the fifteen shooting to ultimately be five…

Stay tuned to see which five docs eventually become the Oscar nominees in Best Documentary Feature!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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