Oscar Contenders

2014 Oscars Best Documentary Short List Revealed

Strong list of contenders and no real surprises

2014 Oscars Best Documentary Short List

The Academy revealed the 15 documentaries that will be competing for the Best Documentary (Feature) category at the 2014 Oscars and among them are the expected contenders including The Act of Killing, Blackfish, Stories We Tell, 20 Feet from Stardom and The Square. Also included, and the only other title I've watched so far, is Cutie and the Boxer.

I have several of these here on screener waiting to be seen such as The Armstrong Lie, The Crash Reel, Dirty Wars and Tim's Vermeer, but I have yet to receive a screener for the rest though Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer has been a much talked about doc and one I would love to see before offering up my final predictions for the category.

Of the titles I've seen, The Act of Killing, which won at the Gotham Awards last night, seems like a strong contender for a win. The Square, focusing on recent events in Egypt is extremely powerful, Blackfish has clearly captured the attention of many, 20 Feet from Stardom, centering on the work of back-up singers is quite great and I know there is an out-pouring of love for Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell, even though I didn't fall for it as much as most.

I'm disappointed not to see Herblock among the nominees as I personally loved it and I know others are discussing the absence of After Tiller and Leviathan.

I still have to add a few of these to the database before I can begin predictions, but for now here is the short list of 15. The Academy's Documentary Branch determined the shortlist in a preliminary round of voting and branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles.

  • The Act of Killing - Final Cut for Real
  • The Armstrong Lie - The Kennedy/Marshall Company
  • Blackfish - Our Turn Productions
  • The Crash Reel - KP Rides Again
  • Cutie and the Boxer - Ex Lion Tamer and Cine Mosaic
  • Dirty Wars - Civic Bakery
  • First Cousin Once Removed - Experiments in Time, Light & Motion
  • God Loves Uganda - Full Credit Productions
  • Life According to Sam - Fine Films
  • Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer - Roast Beef Productions
  • The Square - Noujaim Films and Maktube Productions
  • Stories We Tell - National Film Board of Canada
  • Tim's Vermeer - High Delft Pictures
  • 20 Feet from Stardom - Gil Friesen Productions and Tremolo Productions
  • Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington - Tripoli Street

The Oscars nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

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  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

    I am VERY glad to see Dirty Wars on the shortlist!

  • Michael Askari

    No Sound City! :(

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

      That was a good one, yeah shame its not on the list.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

    The Crash Reel is my favourite to win as is a terrific story that contains many highs and lows, either had me in awe or sobbing. I'd also be very happy to see Stories We Tell win as well as is beautifully told. Also desperate to see Life According to Sam and First Cousin Once Removed but i'll get to them all eventually.
    The docs category is the only one i truly care about, aside from those i have money one haha

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

    Hope Dirty Wars goes on to make the top 5. *fingers crossed*

    • IngmarTheBergman

      It will.

  • Shaun Heenan

    Nice surprise to see Which Way is the Front Line From Here on the list. I actually liked it more than Restrepo.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

      Did you rent that online by any chance? Tis not on Itunes.

      • Shaun Heenan

        I saw it at the Sydney Film Festival back in June.

  • http://letterboxd.com/criterion10/ Criterion10

    Dirty Wars was very good, so I'm glad to see that here. Still need to watch The Act of Killing, Stories We Tell, and Blackfish.

  • thebioscopist

    The thing with the Act of Killing, is that it's not necessarily a well made documentary, it's just that the subject matter is so good that even a competent director could have made it work.

    • Auxerre84

      Except that it is a marvelously made documentary and, of those nominated, the clear should-be winner. The only two of the final five that don't belong are "Dirty Wars" and "20 Feet From Stardom." They should have been replaced by "Stories We Tell" (the true deserving winner) and "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer." Would have been cool to see "At Berkeley" nominated, too, but only five slots.

  • Bertram J. Krogh

    But but but where is ma One Direction docx?

  • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

    Yeah, Dirty Wars! The only doc in my top ten this year thus far! So good!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/lalecture/ lalecture

    I've only seen Stories We Tell and loved it. On the surface it seems like some light family drama. But the film making process turns it into art.
    I'm happy that they are getting a shot at a nom.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Travis/ Travis

    I watched "Which Way Is the Front Line From Here?" in class earlier this year. Pretty good doc, but not sure it will go top 5

  • JAB

    This looks to be the best short list of docs in years. I've ony seen --& was floored by-- "Blackfish", but can't wait to catch "The Crash Reel" & "The Armstrong Lie" among others.

  • IngmarTheBergman

    I'm glad We Steal Secrets isn't here.