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To Kill a Tiger Lands on Oscar Documentary Shortlist

15 docs advance in the Oscar races for Best Feature and Best Short

5 mins read

To Kill a Tiger is among the 15 documentary features to advance in this year’s Oscar shortlist. The doc directed by Nisha Pahuja and produced by Pahuja, Cornelia Principe, and David Oppenheim became an industry and audience favourite as it opened in the USA this fall after an acclaimed run on the festival circuit. The film brings the National Film Board of Canada into the Oscar race after nearly a decade when Stories We Tell was an industry favourite. To Kill a Tiger follows a family that defies the status quo in its small Indian village as they seek justice for their daughter following a sexual assault. The doc won three Canadian Screen Awards earlier this year and found favour with executive producers including Mindy Kaling and Dev Patel, who helped champion the film to audiences.

Other docs shortlisted in the feature category, which is the most open the race has been in years, include Matthew Heineman’s Jon Batiste doc American Symphony. The Netflix doc also landed in the shortlists for Score and Song. Other docs in the hunt include Sundance winners The Eternal Memory, A Still Small Voice, Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project, Beyond Utopia, and 20 Days in Mariupol. The latter Ukrainian film is one of three docs to make the shortlist for Best International Feature alongside Four Daughters (Tunisia) and The Mother of All Lies (Morocco). Four Daughter also made the doc shortlist, but The Mother of All Lies did not, which proved one of the surprises of the day. The list arguably offers one of the most internationally diverse shortlists in recent memory.

Also shortlisted is previous winner David Guggenheim, who looks to add a second Oscar to his win for An Inconvenient Truth with Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie. Guggenheim faces a hurdle as the doc branch rarely goes for repeat winners (the last director to win a second Oscar in the category was Barbara Kopple for 1991’s American Dream) or big budget docs. The list also has a sentimental favourite in the citation for late director Nancy Buirski with Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy.

Canadian Oscar winner Ben Proudfoot, meanwhile, is back in the hunt after taking home the prize in the shorts category two years ago for The Queen of Basketball. He’s shortlisted this year with frequent collaborator Kris Bowers for The Last Repair Shop. Justine Martine also made the shorts shortlist for Oasis, a poetic portrait of brothers during an idyllic summer.


The documentary and international Oscar shortlists are as follows. The nominations will be announced on January 23, 2023.


Documentary Feature

American Symphony
Apolonia, Apolonia
Beyond Utopia
Bobi Wine: The People’s President
Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy
The Eternal Memory
Four Daughters
Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project
In the Rearview
Stamped from the Beginning
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
A Still Small Voice
32 Sounds
To Kill a Tiger
20 Days in Mariupol


Documentary Short Film

The ABCs of Book Banning
The Barber of Little Rock
Between Earth & Sky
Black Girls Play: The Story of Hand Games
Camp Courage
Deciding Vote
How We Get Free
If Dreams Were Lightning: Rural Healthcare Crisis
Island in Between
The Last Repair Shop
Last Song from Kabul
Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó
Wings of Dust


International Feature

Armenia, Amerikatsi
Bhutan, The Monk and the Gun
Denmark, The Promised Land
Finland, Fallen Leaves
France, The Taste of Things
Germany, The Teachers’ Lounge
Iceland, Godland
Italy, Io Capitano
Japan, Perfect Days
Mexico, Totem
Morocco, The Mother of All Lies
Spain, Society of the Snow
Tunisia, Four Daughters
Ukraine, 20 Days in Mariupol
United Kingdom, The Zone of Interest

Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

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