Oscar Circuit: Best Documentary Feature



Despite some upset over popular word-of-mouth documentaries like SeaWorld expose Blackfish and Sarah Polley’s deeply personal and acutely self-aware film Stories We Tell getting snubbed at the Academy Awards this year, the five nominees for Best Documentary Feature still stand strong.

The nominated documentary features include:

  • The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sorensen)
  • Cutie and the Boxer (Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher)
  • 20 Feet from Stardom (Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen and Caitrin Rogers)
  • Dirty Wars (Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill)
  • The Square (Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer)

This year’s line-up offers a diverse selection. There are the politically-driven and visual-journalistic pieces like Dirty Wars and The Square. There’s the biographical and artsy Cutie and the Boxer about the life of a financially-struggling couple attempting to get their art exhibited in a high-stakes, high-competition medium. There’s also the commercially appealing, musical-tale 20 Feet from Stardom about the high’s and low’s of backup singers who clandestinely helped made the hits of some of American’s most known songs. Then there’s The Act of Killing which belongs in a category all to itself, and it’s this novelty to achieve something rarely done before that will probably help lock it as Best Documentary Feature at this year’s Oscar ceremony.

Normally the Golden Globes act as a prophetic precursor for determining the Academy Award winners. But when it comes to best documentary, this category is inexplicably absent at the Globes ceremony. This makes predicting the winner that much more difficult, because if any nominee stands to be competition for The Act of Killing and take home the top prize, it’s The Square.

Here’s a breakdown of the five nominees: