Oscars Shortlist: 15 Documentary Features Shortlisted for 88th Academy Awards

Documentary Features have gone from a pool of 124 down to 15, now with a much clearer vision of what could come down as the winner. The odds-on favorite, in my opinion, is still the documentary about Amy Winehouse, simply titled “Amy,” which has had tons of support since its release and was just recognized as the National Board Of Review’s Best Documentary of the Year. Currently, and this could and probably will change as time goes are, and also note I have not seen these films, just the trailers, my strongest guess as to what will be picked are:

  • AMY: The obvious front-runner, with strong support and knowing the Academy loves music documentaries.
  • CARTEL LAND: Of all the trailers for documentaries I’ve seen this year, this one had me the most excited, telling an interesting story in an interesting way.
  • GOING CLEAR: It’s topical and timely, having heard plenty of people talking about this Scientology documentary around the water-cooler.
  • THE LOOK OF SILENCE: The follow up to the documentary “The Act Of Killing,” which I thought should have one in its year, this is produced by Werner Herzog, who is often recognized by the Academy.
  • WINTER ON FIRE: Netflix has been representing at the Oscars now, since it started releasing documentaries with “Virunga” last year and “The Square” the year prior. Strong bets should be on it doing so again this year and with the music documentary “Amy” already covering that base, it probably won’t be “What Happened, Miss Simone?”

Obviously all bets are still off. Malala has been in the news quite a bit lately, so her general popularity could easily see “He Named Me Malala” land in one of the spots. As mentioned, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” could replace “Winter On Fire” for the Netflix nominated spot. Or both could somehow get in. “Meru” is popped up a few times in Oscar discussion, “Heart Of A Dog” is one of Sasha Stone’s (Awards Daily) picks, never count out Michael Moore and his “Where To Invade Next,” and “3 1/2 Minutes” seems almost to topical to not get nominated.

  1. “Amy,” On the Corner Films and Universal Music
  2. “Best of Enemies,” Sandbar
  3. “Cartel Land,” Our Time Projects and The Documentary Group
  4. “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” Jigsaw Productions
  5. “He Named Me Malala,” Parkes-MacDonald and Little Room
  6. “Heart of a Dog,” Canal Street Communications
  7. “The Hunting Ground,” Chain Camera Pictures
  8. “Listen to Me Marlon,” Passion Pictures
  9. “The Look of Silence,” Final Cut for Real
  10. “Meru,” Little Monster Films
  11. “3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets,” The Filmmaker Fund, Motto Pictures, Lakehouse Films, Actual Films, JustFilms, MacArthur Foundation and Bertha BRITDOC
  12. “We Come as Friends,” Adelante Films
  13. “What Happened, Miss Simone?,” RadicalMedia and Moxie Firecracker
  14. “Where to Invade Next,” Dog Eat Dog Productions
  15. “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” Pray for Ukraine Productions

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