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by Peter Knegt
February 18, 2013 5:24 PM
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2013 Oscar Predictions: Best Documentary Feature

"Searching for Sugar Man."
Indiewire will provide regular updates of our predictions for the 85th Academy Awards through February 24th, when the winners are announced.

Sure, Malik Bendjelloul's "Searching For Sugar Man" feels like the frontrunner here. It's the only real box office hit, and is coming off wins with the PGA, WGA and DGA. But this category is notoriously hard to predict, and this year for the first time all Academy members were sent screeners of all the docs and can all vote in the category, which entirely changes voting patterns and gives this category no precedent. So while "Sugar Man" has the momentum, it's easy to see Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi's "5 Broken Cameras" or Dror Moreh's "The Gatekeepers" or David France's "How To Survive a Plague" or Kirby Dick's "The Invisible War" pushing through. For one, they all feel like much more "important" documentaries, which may or may not help them (last year's winner -- high school football doc "Undefeated" -- did not have that sense about it compared to its fellow nominees). Our guess, though -- and pretty much everyone else's -- is that "Sugar Man" wins in the end.

Nominees and predictions below. Check out all predictions in all the categories here, and this list of all the Oscar-nominated films available ON DEMAND right now.

The nominees:
"5 Broken Cameras"
"The Gatekeepers"
"How to Survive a Plague"
"The Invisible War"
"Searching for Sugar Man"

Will win: "Searching For Sugar Man"
Could win: "The Gatekeepers"
Should win: They're all great.

Check out all predictions in all the categories here.

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14 Comments

  • monkeypox6 | April 15, 2013 8:29 PMReply

    How I think it should have been:

    1. "Bully", Lee Hirsch
    2. "How to Survive a Plague", David France
    3. "The Imposter", Bart Layton
    4. "The Invisible War", Kirby Dick*(WINNER)
    5. "Searching for Sugar Man", Malik Bendjelloul*(Runner-up)

  • Ellegi | February 22, 2013 7:02 PMReply

    Sugar man is the only choice in my opinion. One of the best documentaries I've ever seen. Of course it doesn't beat documentaries like "The Two Escobars, but it really should win it. It's Sweden's big chance!

  • playbot | January 17, 2013 7:40 PMReply

    i just check frinzee.com and "How To Survive a Plaque" got the most votes for Best Documentary. Is it official? Check it out guys

  • MVP MIKE | January 23, 2013 9:37 PM

    The Invisible War got the 2nd Place! Searching for Sugar Man maybe catching up after a week or two! But predictions are still predictions...

  • mehrdad | January 10, 2013 3:45 AMReply

    This list sooms to be fixed even after all the awards "This is not a film" received from different circles of critics...!!!
    Sorry to say but am quite sure that Jafar panahi would be on the final nomination list...!

  • Joseph Philistine | January 9, 2013 6:51 AMReply

    Sugar man should win this

  • Steven Krams | December 18, 2012 5:58 PMReply

    Samsara deserved to be in yhr top 10 contenders for best Doc Feature. It was extraordinary in every way.

  • Cinema | December 11, 2012 10:06 PMReply

    I so hope Bully gets nominated. It so deserves it.

  • TheGrave | December 11, 2012 5:51 PMReply

    No Indie Game: The Movie? That was easily one of the best documentaries of the year. Though I suppose it isn't exactly Oscar-friendly.

  • Jim | December 10, 2012 9:12 AMReply

    I find it ridiculous that Obama 2016 isn't on the list. ANYWHERE. Hmmm.... I wonder why....

  • Jim Libbe | February 21, 2013 4:21 PM

    There is more truth in 2016 than there is in any of Michael Moore's documentaries which always seem to win.

  • matt | December 25, 2012 6:45 PM

    because its garbage propaganda

  • Francesco | December 4, 2012 1:02 PMReply

    Because of TWC, I have a feeling Bully will at least be nominated. Sadly, the controversy surrounding Iran pulling out of the Foreign Language Film race probably means This is Not a Film will be snubbed. Such a pity.

  • Daniel Pratt | December 4, 2012 11:46 AMReply

    I'm astonished that The Imposter has made the short-list. 2012 saw so many incredible documentaries that, in my opinion, were far superior. Off the top of my head, what about Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Gerhard Richter Painting or Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present? While I'll admit The Imposter was certainly a compelling viewing experience it was reminiscent of something you'd see on Dateline NBC.