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.