It’s starting to get real. Tuesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the 15 films that will be contention for the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature and it’s a heated group of films that traverse through a host of topical issues. Politics, unsurprisingly in a contentious period, plays an important role throughout the line-up whether outrightly (as in the summer hit Weiner), gun-rights debates (Tower) or reflections of race in America (13th, I Am Not Your Negro, O.J.: Made in America).
The inclusion of O.J.: Made in America is a particularly interesting entry as the ESPN-produced documentary (which runs just short of 8 hours) aired as a five-part documentary on the sports channel’s 30 for 30, something which may stoke a bit of controversy for cinema loyalists. The film, directed by Ezra Edelman, premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and racheted early raves from critics (and complemented the simulteanous but unrelated FX limited series American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson; an Emmy behomenth a few months back). The film also won Best Documentary honors from the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle.
Check out the list of 15 below. This list will be shortened to five when the Oscar nominations are announced Tuesday, January 24th.
Cameraperson, Big Mouth Productions
Command and Control, American Experience Films/PBS
The Eagle Huntress, Stacey Reiss Productions, Kissiki Films and 19340 Productions
Fire at Sea, Stemal Entertainment
Gleason, Dear Rivers Productions, Exhibit A and IMG Films
Hooligan Sparrow, Little Horse Crossing the River
I Am Not Your Negro, Velvet Film
The Ivory Game, Terra Mater Film Studios and Vulcan Productions
Life, Animated, Motto Pictures and A&E IndieFilms
O.J.: Made in America, Laylow Films and ESPN Films
13th, Forward Movement
Weiner, Edgeline Films
The Witness, The Witnesses Film
Zero Days, Jigsaw Productions