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Oscar Documentary Shortlist of 15 Revealed

Oscar Documentary Shortlist of 15 Revealed

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed the 15 films in the Documentary Feature category that will vie for the final five slots in contention for the 88th Academy Awards.  

One hundred twenty-four films were originally submitted in the category.

The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies:
“Amy,” On the Corner Films and Universal Music
“Best of Enemies,” Sandbar
“Cartel Land,” Our Time Projects and The Documentary Group
“Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” Jigsaw Productions
“He Named Me Malala,” Parkes-MacDonald and Little Room
“Heart of a Dog,” Canal Street Communications
“The Hunting Ground,” Chain Camera Pictures
“Listen to Me Marlon,” Passion Pictures
“The Look of Silence,” Final Cut for Real
“Meru,” Little Monster Films
“3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets,” The Filmmaker Fund, Motto Pictures, Lakehouse Films, Actual
Films, JustFilms, MacArthur Foundation and Bertha BRITDOC
“We Come as Friends,” Adelante Films
“What Happened, Miss Simone?,” RadicalMedia and Moxie Firecracker
“Where to Invade Next,” Dog Eat Dog Productions
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” Pray for Ukraine Productions
Of this group, on my Oscar Predictions chart I accorded frontrunner status to NBR-winner “Amy” (Asif Kapadia), “Cartel Land” (Matthew Heineman), Gotham-winner “The Look of Silence” (Joshua Oppenheimer, a follow-up to nominated “The Act of Killing”), “What Happened, Miss Simone?” (Liz Garbus) and “Winter on Fire” (Evgeny Afineevsky).

After them, I listed as Contenders: “Best of Enemies” (Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon), “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” (Alex Gibney), “Heart of the Dog” (Laurie Anderson), “He Named Me Malala” (Davis Guggenheim), “The Hunting Ground” (Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering), “Listen to Me Marlon” (Stevan Riley), “Meru” (Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi) and “Where to Invade Next” (Michael Moore).
Three of my contenders did not make the cut: “Janis: Little Girl Blue” (Amy Berg), “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” (Brett Morgan) and “The Wolfpack” (Crystal Moselle). There were perhaps too many music docs this year, and Moselle is a newcomer to the insular doc community. None of my Long Shots made the list: “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution” (Stanley Nelson), “Frame by Frame” (Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli), “Iris” (Albert Maysles), “In Jackson Heights” (Frederick Wiseman), “Seymour” (Ethan Hawke) or “(T)error” (Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe).

That makes Oscar shortlist entries “3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets” (Marc Silver) and Hubert Sauper’s “We Come as Friends” something of a surprise.

The Academy’s Documentary Branch determined the shortlist in a preliminary round of voting. Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles.

The 88th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 14, 2016, at 5:30 a.m. PT at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The 88th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre, televised live by ABC.

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