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Academy Unveils Documentary Shortlist of 15

Academy Unveils Documentary Shortlist of 15

The Academy’s Documentary Branch chose the shortlist in a preliminary round of voting. The members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles. They had to sift through 134 films, a daunting task, but were individually designated lists of 20% of each stack they received to watch, and then could see the others as they chose. This way, in theory, all the films were screened. 

Among the more competitive frontrunners in this race are Laura Poitras’ Edward Snowden doc “Citizenfour,” which is already cleaning up with wins at the Gotham Awards and New York Film Critics Circle this week, along with two films about the art and mystery of photography, “Finding Vivian Maier” and “The Salt of the Earth,” Steve James’ Roger Ebert doc “Life Itself,” Clark Terry mentorship portrait “Keep on Keepin’ On,” HBO South Central expose “Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” Netflix doc “Virunga” and Rory Kennedy’s revelatory “Last Days in Vietnam.” 

Left off the list of 15 are a number of excellent docs including “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” “E-Team,” “Happy Valley,” “Mission: Blue,” “Particle Fever,” “Point and Shoot,” “Rich Hill,” “Supermensch,” international festival fave “Waiting for August,” and two Sony Pictures Classics entries, Russian hockey doc “Red Army” and PGA nominee “Merchants of Doubt.” Their “The Salt of the Earth” did make the cut. 

The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies:
“Art and Craft,” Purple Parrot Films
“The Case against 8,” Day in Court
“Citizen Koch,” Elsewhere Films
“CitizenFour,” Praxis Films
“Finding Vivian Maier,” Ravine Pictures
“The Internet’s Own Boy,” Luminant Media
“Jodorowsky’s Dune,” City Film
“Keep On Keepin’ On,” Absolute Clay Productions
“The Kill Team,” f/8 filmworks
“Last Days in Vietnam,” Moxie Firecracker Films
“Life Itself,” Kartemquin Films and Film Rites
“The Overnighters,” Mile End Films West
“The Salt of the Earth,” Decia Films
“Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” Lafayette Film
“Virunga,” Grain Media
The 87th Academy Awards® nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 15, 2015, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 22, 2015. 

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