In any crowded awards field, being seen is the first order of business. Last year, several box office hits led the Producers Guild of America’s nominated documentary features, and moon-landing documentary “Apollo 11” (Neon, $9 million) eventually took home the award. The 2020 nominees for Documentary Motion Picture included one Netflix movie, “American Factory,” which did not win the PGA prize, but did take home the Oscar.
Box-office buzz is not a factor in this pandemic year, which gives Netflix an advantage. It has a long list of strong, widely seen contenders that yielded three of the seven PGA nominations: “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet;” Kirsten Johnson’s imaginative ode to her father, “Dick Johnson Is Dead;” and heart-tugging audience favorite “My Octopus Teacher.”
The nominees for the Documentary category are selected by the Documentary Nomination Jury, made up of at least fifty documentary producers who select between three and seven non-fiction motion-picture nominees. Some 8,000 PGA members can make their picks between March 12 and March 19.
The other nominees to receive a much-needed boost are Garrett Bradley’s lauded “Time,” festival favorite “The Truffle Hunters,” and Ramona S. Diaz’s “A Thousand Cuts,” featuring heroic Philippine journalist Maria Ressa.
Also welcoming the PGA spotlight is the less-known “Softie,” a Kenyan documentary film about activist Boniface Mwangi.
Check out some of the nonfiction titles that did not make the PGA cut here: Oscars 2021: Best Documentary Feature Predictions.
Films nominated for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures are listed below in alphabetical order:
● “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet” (Netflix)
● “Dick Johnson Is Dead” (Netflix)
● “My Octopus Teacher” (Netflix)
● “Softie” (Roco Films)
● “A Thousand Cuts” (PBS)
● “Time” (Amazon Studios)
● “The Truffle Hunters” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Previous winners in this category, “O.J.: Made in America,” “Amy,” and “Searching for Sugar Man,” all went on to win the Oscar.
PGA nominees for Sports, Children’s and Short Form Television Programs will be announced February 26. PGA nominees for Theatrical Motion Pictures, Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures, Television Series/Specials, and Televised/Streamed Motion Pictures will be announced March 8. Winners will be revealed at the virtual 32nd Annual Producers Guild of America Awards Show on March 24.