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2014 Oscar Predictions: Best Documentary Feature

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire February 15, 2014 at 8:36PM

Blackbusters versus tear jerkers. Here's Indiewire's take on the best documentary feature category.
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"The Act of Killing"
Drafthouse Films A musical sequence from "The Act of Killing."

Indiewire will provide regular updates of our predictions for the 86th Academy Awards through March 2nd, when the winners are announced.

For the second time, all Academy members are sent screeners of all the docs and can all vote in the category (as opposed to a select group, in previous years), which does suggest that this might go to the populist choice, as it did with Malik Bendjelloul's "Searching For Sugar Man" last year. That choice is surely Morgan Neville's backup singer film "20 Feet From Stardom," which is the only box office hit among the five nominees, and definitely the one with the most mainstream appeal. However, the only major doc precursor it won was the Critic's Choice Award. Alex Gibney's "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks" and Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell" won the PGA and WGA, respectively, but they aren't even nominated here.  However, Jehane Noujaim's nominated "The Square" won the DGA and IDA awards, and Joshua Oppenheimer's nominated "The Act of Killing" topped the Cinema Eye Honors, Gotham Awards and European Film Awards. Those are some notable hauls, and puts both films -- which may feel like more imperative subject matters to Oscar voters -- firmly in this sincerely three-way race.

Nominees and predictions below. Check out all predictions in all the categories here.

The nominees:
“The Act of Killing”Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
“Cutie and the Boxer” Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
“Dirty Wars” Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
“The Square” Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
“20 Feet from Stardom” Nominees to be determined

Will win: “The Square” Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
Could win: “20 Feet from Stardom” Nominees to be determined
Should win: “The Act of Killing”Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
Shoulda been here: "Stories We Tell"

Check out all predictions in all the categories here.

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This article is related to: Academy Awards