Fifteen documentary features and fifteen short docs advance in the Oscar race. The Academy released the shortlists today, which included two updates for the documentary categories. The race for Best Documentary Feature tapped many of the expected frontrunners including Laura Poitras’ All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Sara Dosa’s Fire of Love, and Daniel Roher’s Navalny. Among the most notable omissions as Ryan White’s Good Night Oppy, which may have fallen victim to the relative conservatism of the doc branch. The doc uses innovative visual effects to recreate the surface of Mars. The film topped the Critics Choice Documentary Awards earlier this month. The film also missed the visual effects shortlist where it was expected to advance.
Moreover, this year’s documentary shortlist again solidified Sundance’s strength as a launchpad for the doc field. Eight of the fifteen feature docs debuted at Sundance: All that Breathes, Descendant, Fire of Love, A House Made of Splinters, The Janes, Last Flight Home, Navalny, and The Territory.
On the homefront, Canadians Jack Weisman and Gabriela Osio Vanden advanced in the race for their short Nuisance Bear. The film won the Critics Choice Award for Best Short Doc earlier this month. The NFB animated short The Flying Sailor also scored in the Best Animated Short shortlist.
Other documentaries that scored elsewhere among the shortlists included Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me, which made the Best Original Song cut for its title track. Brett Morgen’s David Bowie doc Moonage Daydream, meanwhile, landed on the shortlist for Best Sound in addition to Best Documentary Feature.
The documentary shortlists released today by the Academy are:
Best Documentary Feature
All That Breathes
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
Children of the Mist
Fire of Love
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song
A House Made of Splinters
Last Flight Home
Best Documentary Short
American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton
Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices from a Plantation Prison
As Far as They Can Run
The Elephant Whisperers
Happiness Is £4 Million
How Do You Measure a Year?
The Martha Mitchell Effect
Shut Up and Paint
Stranger at the Gate
38 at the Garden