It’s NatGeo vs. HBO at the 2022 Documentary Motion Picture PGA Awards

Nanfu Wang's "In the Same Breath" goes up against "The Rescue," from the filmmakers behind Oscar-winning "Free Solo."
In the Same Breath
"In the Same Breath"

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) has revealed eight 2022 Documentary Motion Picture nominees that will advance to the final round of voting for the 33rd Annual Producers Guild Awards. 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 eight non-fiction motion-picture nominees. Some 8,000 PGA members will make their picks before the 33rd Annual Producers Guild of America Awards ceremony on Saturday, February 26, 2022.

With the over-crowded documentary awards field, being seen is the first order. Box-office buzz is not a factor in this pandemic year, which gives deep-pocketed distributors like NatGeo an advantage. It has a long list of strong, widely seen contenders that yielded two of the eight PGA nominations: Thai cave thriller “The Rescue” and COVID diary “The First Wave.” HBO also landed two nominees, Nanfu Wang’s portrait of China during COVID, “In the Same Breath,” and Megan Mylan’s Syrian migrant documentary “Simple As Water.”

The Producers Guild Award winners sometimes repeat on Oscar night. Last year, producer Craig Foster won the PGA award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Picture for popular Netflix feature “My Octopus Teacher,” which documented Foster’s bonding with an octopus off the coast of South Africa; the movie also won the Oscar, as did PGA winners “The Cove,” “Searching for Sugar Man,” “Amy,” and “O.J.: Made in America.”

But some PGA winners didn’t land Oscar nominations, including “Apollo 11,” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,”  “Jane,” and “Life Itself.”

“The Rescue”NatGeo

The films nominated for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures are listed below in alphabetical order. Six are listed as frontrunners in our Best Documentary Feature Oscar predictions. 

Jessica Kingdon’s “Ascension” (MTV Documentary Films)
Matt Heineman’s “The First Wave” (NatGeo)
Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s “Flee” (Neon)
Nanfu Wang’s “In The Same Breath” (HBO Documentary Films)
E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s “The Rescue” (NatGeo)
egan Mylan’s “Simple As Water” (HBO Documentary Films)
Ahmir (“Questlove”) Thompson’s “Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” (Searchlight)
Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas’ “Writing With Fire” (Music Box Films)

Nominees for Sports, Children’s, and Short Form Television Programs will be announced on Thursday, January 13. The nominees for Theatrical Motion Pictures, Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures, Television Series/Specials, and Televised/Streamed Motion Pictures will be announced on Thursday, January 27.

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