Oscar Predictions: Best Documentary Feature – ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’ Gets NYFCC Boost, but Will It Sustain?

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages are Davis’ assessment of the current standings of the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any film or performance. Like any organization or body that votes, each individual category is fluid and subject to change. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

LAST UPDATED: Dec. 2, 2022

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2023 Oscars Predictions: Best Documentary Feature

All That Breathes
All That Breathes

CATEGORY COMMENTARY: NOTE: The list below is not yet complete and more films will be added over the coming weeks.

See the latest film predictions, in all 23 categories, in one place on Variety’s Oscars Collective. To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.

Find the SAG Awards predictions for film and Golden Globe predictions in all of the film categories on their respective pages.

See the 2022-2023 Awards Season calendar for all key dates and timelines.

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

BAD AXE, from left: Chun Siev, Rachel Siev, 2022. © IFC Films / Courtesy Everett Collection
BAD AXE, from left: Chun Siev, Rachel Siev, 2022. © IFC Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

And The Predicted Nominees Are:

Rank

Film

Director(s) and Producer(s)

Distributor

1

“Good Night Oppy”

Ryan White (director), Brandon Carroll, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Matt Goldberg, Jessica Hargrave (producers)

Amazon Studios

The film follows Opportunity, the Mars Exploration Rover affectionately dubbed Oppy by her creators and scientists at NASA. Oppy was originally expected to live for only 90 days but she ultimately explored Mars for nearly 15 years.

2

“All That Breathes”

Shaunak Sen (director and producer), Teddy Leifer, Aman Mann (producers)

HBO Documentary Films / Sideshow

The darkening backdrop of Delhi’s apocalyptic air and escalating violence, two brothers devote their lives to protect one casualty of the turbulent times: the bird known as the Black Kite.

3

“Fire of Love”

Sara Dosa (director, producer), Shane Boris, Ina Fichman (producers)

National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon

Intrepid scientists and lovers Katia and Maurice Krafft died in a volcanic explosion doing the very thing that brought them together: unraveling the mysteries of volcanoes by capturing the most explosive imagery ever recorded.

4

“Descendant”

Margaret Brown (director, producer), Essie Chambers, Kyle Martin (producers)

Netflix

Follows descendants of the survivors from the Clotilda, the last ship that carried enslaved Africans to the United States, as they reclaim their story.

5

“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”

Laura Poitras (director and producer), Howard Gertler, Nan Goldin, Yoni Golijov, John S. Lyons (producers)

Neon

It follows the life of artist Nan Goldin and the downfall of the Sackler family, the pharmaceutical dynasty who was greatly responsible for the opioid epidemic’s unfathomable death toll.

Next in Line

6

“Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb”

Lizzie Gottlieb (director, producer), Joanne Nerenberg, Jen Small (producers)

Sony Pictures Classics

Follows the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro and his editor, the literary giant Robert Gottlieb, in this chronicle of a unique 50-year professional relationship.

7

“Retrograde”

Matthew Heineman (director), Caitlin McNally (producer)

National Geographic Films

Tells the story of the last months of the 20-year war in Afghanistan through the intimate relationship between American Green Berets and the Afghan officers they trained.

8

“Sr.”

Chris Smith (director), Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey, Emily Barclay Ford, Kevin Ford (producers)

Netflix

Follow the tender but appropriately irreverent account of the life and career of Robert Downey, Sr., the fearless and visionary American director who set the standard for countercultural comedy in the 1960s and 1960s.

9

“Bad Axe”

David Siev (director, producer), Jude Harris, Diane-Moy Quon, Katarina Vasquez (producers)

IFC Films

A real-time portrait of 2020 unfolds as an Asian-American family in Trump’s rural America fights to keep their restaurant and American dream alive in the face of a pandemic, Neo-Nazis, and generational scars from the Killing Fields.

10

“Navalny”

Daniel Roher (director), Diane Becker, Shane Boris, Melanie Miller, Odessa Rae (producers)

CNN/Warner Bros.

Follows the man who survived an assassination attempt by poisoning with a lethal nerve agent in August 2020. During his months-long recovery he makes shocking discoveries about the attempt on his life and decides to return home

Other Top-Tier Contenders

11

“Aftershock”

Paula Eiselt, Tonya Lewis Lee (directors)

Hulu/Onyx

12

“Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song”

Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine (directors, producers)

Sony Pictures Classics

13

“Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues”

Sacha Jenkins (director, producer), Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Julie Anderson (producers)

Apple Original Films

14

“In Her Hands”

Tamana Ayazi, Marcel Mettelsiefen (directors), Juan Camilo Cruz, Jonathan Schaerf (producers)

Netflix

15

“Moonage Daydream”

Brett Morgen (director, producer)

Neon

16

“The Territory”

Alex Pritz (director, producer), Darren Aronofsky, Sigrid Dyekjær, Lizzie Gillett, Will N. Miller, Gabriel Uchida

National Geographic

17

“Riotsville, U.S.A.”

Sierra Pettengill (director), Sara Archambault, Jamila Wignot (producers)

Magnolia Pictures

18

“Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

Evgeny Afineevsky (director, producer), Inna Goncharova, Galyna Sadomtseva-Nabaranchuk, Shahida Tulaganova, Will Znidaric (producers)

Self-Distributed

19

“I Didn’t See You There”

Reid Davenport (director), Keith Wilson (producer)

POV

20

“Is That Black Enough for You?”

Elvis Mitchell (director), Ciara Lacy (producer)

Netflix

Also In Contention

21

“The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlile”

Christopher Clements, Julie Goldman, Carolyn Hepburn, Kathlyn Horan

Sony Pictures Classics

22

“Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams”

Luca Guadgnino (producer), Francesco Melzi d’Eril, Gabriele Moratti (producers)

Sony Pictures Classics

23

“Eternal Spring”

Jason Loftus (director, producer), Kevin Koo, Yvan Pinard

Self-Distributed

24

“Second Chance”

Ramin Bahrani (director, producer), Charles Dorfman, Johnny Galvin, Jacob Grodnik, Daniel M. Turcan (producer)

Showtime

25

“Gabby Giffords; Won’t Back Down”

Julie Cohen, Betsy West (directors), Lisa Erspamer, Sam Jinishian (producers)

Briarcliff Entertainment

26

“Let Me Be Me”

Dan Crane, Katie Taber (director), Joe Plummer (producer)

Greenwich Entertainment

27

“Sidney”

Derik Murray (director), Oprah Winfrey (producer)

Apple Original Films

28

“Beba”

Rebecca Huntt (director)

Neon

29

“Wildcat”

Trevor Beck Frost, Melissa Lesh (directors), Alysa Nahmias, Joshua Altman (producers)

Amazon Studios

30

“The Janes”

Tia Lessin (director), Emma Pildes (producer and director), Daniel Arcana, Jessica Levin (producers)

HBO Documentary Films

All Contenders Listed (Unranked-Alphabetical)

“A House Made of Splinters”

Simon Lereng Wilmont (director), Monica Hellström (producer)

Madman Entertainment

“A Star Without a Star”

Kirk E. Kelleykahn (director, producer), Darnell W. Tyler, Tracy Wren (producers)

No U.S. Distribution

“Aftershock”

Paula Eiselt, Tonya Lewis Lee (directors)

Hulu/Onyx

“All That Breathes”

Shaunak Sen (director and producer), Teddy Leifer, Aman Mann (producers)

HBO Documentary Films

“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”

Laura Poitras (director and producer), Howard Gertler, Nan Goldin, Yoni Golijov, John S. Lyons (producers)

Neon

“Art & Krimes by Krimes”

Alysa Nahmias (director)

MTV Documentary Films

“Bad Axe”

David Siev (director, producer), Jude Harris, Diane-Moy Quon, Katarina Vasquez (producers)

IFC Films

“Battleground”

Cynthia Lowen (director, producer), Rebecca Stern (producer)

Abramorama

“Beba”

Rebecca Huntt (director)

Neon

“Being BeBe”

Emily Branham (director, producer), Jonathan Goodman Levitt, Marc Smolowitz

To be added

“Bitterbrush”

Emelie Mahdavian (director, producer), Su Kim (producer)

Magnolia Pictures

“Black Ice”

Hubert Davis (director), Vinay Virmani (producer)

Elevation Pictures

“Blue Island”

Tze Woon Chan (director), Peter Yam (producer)

Icarus Films

“Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power”

Nina Menkes (director, producer), Dehanza Rogers (producer)

Kino Lorber

“Buried: The 1982 Alpine Meadows Avalanche”

Jared Drake, Steven Siig (directors)

Greenwich Entertainment

“Civil”

Nadia Hallgren (director, producer), Kenya Barris, Roger Ross Williams (producers)

Netflix

“Cow”

Andrea Arnold (director), Kat Mansoor (producer)

IFC Films

“Descendant”

Margaret Brown (director, producer), Essie Chambers, Kyle Martin (producers)

Netflix

“Eternal Spring”

Jason Loftus (director, producer), Kevin Koo, Yvan Pinard

Self-Distributed

“Fire of Love”

Sara Dosa (director, producer), Shane Boris, Ina Fichman (producers)

National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon

“Framing Agnes”

Chase Joynt (director, producer), Morgan M. Page (producer)

Kino Lorber

“Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

Evgeny Afineevsky (director, producer), Inna Goncharova, Galyna Sadomtseva-Nabaranchuk, Shahida Tulaganova, Will Znidaric (producers)

Self-Distributed

“Gabby Giffords; Won’t Back Down”

Julie Cohen, Betsy West (directors), Lisa Erspamer, Sam Jinishian (producers)

Briarcliff Entertainment

“Good Night Oppy”

Ryan White (director), Matt Carroll, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Matt Goldberg, Jessica Hargrave (producers)

Amazon Studios

“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The Final Elton John Performances and the Years That Made His Legend”

R.J. Cuutler, David Furnish (directors)

Disney+

“Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song”

Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine (directors, producers)

Sony Pictures Classics

“Hello, Bookstore”

A.B. Zax (director, producer), Mark Franks, Melissa Nathan, Sydney Flint (producers)

Greenwich Entertainment

“Hidden Letters”

Violet Du Feng (director, producer), Mette Cheng Munthe Kaas, Su Kim, Jean Tsien (producers)

Cargo Film & Releasing

“I Didn’t See You There”

Reid Davenport (director), Keith Wilson (producer)

POV

“Icarus: The Aftermath”

Bryan Fogel (director, producer), Jon Bertain, Mark Monroe, Jake Swantko (producers)

No U.S. distribution

“If These Walls Could Sing”

Mary McCartney (director), John Battsek, Sarah Thomson (producers)

Walt Disney Pictures

“In Her Hands”

Tamana Ayazi, Marcel Mettelsiefen (directors), Juan Camilo Cruz, Jonathan Schaerf (producers)

Netflix

“Is That Black Enough for You?”

Elvis Mitchell (director), Ciara Lacy (producer)

Netflix

“Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story”

Frank Marshall, Ryan Suffern (directors, producers), Sean M. Stuart (producer)

Sony Pictures Classics

“Jerry Lewis: Trouble in Mind”

Ethan Coen (director), Peter Afterman, Steve Bing, T Bone Burnett, Mick Jagger, Victoria Pearman (producers)

A24

“Last Flight Home”

Ondi Timoner (director), David Turner (producer)

MTV Documentary Films

“Let Me Be Me”

Dan Crane, Katie Taber (director), Joe Plummer (producer)

Greenwich Entertainment

“Loudmouth”

Josh Alexander (director, producer), Daniel J. Chalfen, Mike Jackson, Kedar Massenburg (producers)

To be added

“Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues”

Sacha Jenkins (director, producer), Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Julie Anderson (producers)

Apple Original Films

“Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power”

Geeta Gandbhir, Sam Pollard (directors), Jessica Devaney, Dema Paxton Fofang, Anya Rous (producers)

Greenwich Entertainment

“Mickey: The Story of a Mouse”

Jeff Malmberg (director), Morgan Neville, Chris Shellen, Meghan Walsh (producers)

Walt Disney Pictures

“Midwives”

Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing (director, producer), Mila Aung-Thwin, Ulla Lehmann, Bob Moore (producers)

POV

“Mija”

Isabel Castro (director, producer), Tabitha Breese, Yesenia Tiahuel (producers)

Walt Disney Pictures

“Moonage Daydream”

Brett Morgen (director, producer)

Neon

“My Old School”

Jono McLeod (director), John Archer, Olivia Lichtenstein (producers)

Magnolia Pictures

“Navalny”

Daniel Roher (director), Diane Becker, Shane Boris, Melanie Miller, Odessa Rae (producers)

CNN/Warner Bros.

“No Time to Fail”

Sara Archambult (director), Margo Guernsey (producer)

To be added

“Nothing Compares”

Kathryn Ferguson (director), Eleanor Emptage, Michael Mallie (producers)

Showtime

“Nothing Lasts Forever”

Jason Kohn (director, producer), Amanda Branson Gill, Jared Goldman (producers)

Showtime

“Retrograde”

Matthew Heineman (director), Caitlin McNally (producer)

National Geographic Films

“Return to Seoul”

Davy Chou (director), Katia Khazak, Charlotte Vincent (producers)

Sony Pictures Classics

“Riotsville, U.S.A.”

Sierra Pettengill (director), Sara Archambault, Jamila Wignot (producers)

Magnolia Pictures

“Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams”

Luca Guadgnino (producer), Francesco Melzi d’Eril, Gabriele Moratti (producers)

Sony Pictures Classics

“Second Chance”

Ramin Bahrani (director, producer), Charles Dorfman, Johnny Galvin, Jacob Grodnik, Daniel M. Turcan (producer)

Showtime

“Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me”

Alek Keshishian (director, producer), Michelle An, Caitlin Daley, Aleen Keshishian, Katherine LeBlonde, Stephanie Meurer, Zack Morgenroth (producers)

Apple Original Films

“Sidney”

Derik Murray (director), Oprah Winfrey (producer)

Apple Original Films

“Sr.”

Chris Smith (director), Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey, Emily Barclay Ford, Kevin Ford (producers)

Netflix

“The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales”

Abigail E. Disney and Kathleen Hughes (directors)

Fork Films

“The Automat”

Lisa Hurwitz (director, producer), Alec Shuldiner (producer)

Self-Distributed

“The Corridors of Powers”

Dror Moreh (director, producer), Sol Goodman, Estelle Fialon (producers)

Showtime

“The Exiles”

Ben Klein, Violet Columbus (directors)

No U.S. distribution

“The Janes”

Tia Lessin (director), Emma Pildes (producer and director), Daniel Arcana, Jessica Levin (producers)

HBO Documentary Films

“The Princess”

Ed Perkins (director), Jonathan Chinn, Simon Chinn (producers)

HBO

“The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlile”

Christopher Clements, Julie Goldman, Carolyn Hepburn, Kathlyn Horan

Sony Pictures Classics

“The Territory”

Alex Pritz (director, producer), Darren Aronofsky, Sigrid Dyekjær, Lizzie Gillett, Will N. Miller, Gabriel Uchida (producers)

National Geographic

“The Voice of Dust and Ash”

Mandana Biscotti (producer), Frank Coraci, Fuschia Sumner (producers)

Matilda Productions

“Three Minutes: A Lengthening”

Bianca Stigter (director), Floor Onrust (producer)

Neon/Super

“Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb”

Lizzie Gottlieb (director, producer), Joanne Nerenberg, Jen Small (producers)

Sony Pictures Classics

“We Are Art: Through the Eyes of Annalaura”

Annalaura di Luggo (director, producer)

No U.S. distribution

“What We Leave Behind”

Iliana Sosa (director, producer), Emma D. Miller (producer)

ARRAY

“Wildcat”

Trevor Beck Frost, Melissa Lesh (directors), Alysa Nahmias, Joshua Altman (producers)

Amazon Studios

“Icarus: The Aftermath”

Bryan Fogel (director)

No U.S. distribution

“The Volcano: Rescue From Whakaari”

Rory Kennedy (director, producer), Mark Bailey, Sara Bernstein, Dallas Brennan, Justin Wilkes (producers)

Netflix

2023 Academy Awards Predictions

BEST PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTOR | ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING | SOUND | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | INTERNATIONAL FEATURE | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT

The 95th Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre and televised live on ABC on Sunday, March 12, 2023.

2022 category winner: “Summer of Soul” (Onyx/Searchlight Pictures)

About Variety Awards Circuit:

Variety’s unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online and provides inside reports on all the contenders in this year’s awards season races. In addition to predictions, the section includes — Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders in the race; Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly series featuring interviews with the top contenders in the awards race and an expert roundtable discussion with Variety’s leading editors and columnists; Awards Circuit Predictions Video Series, a deep dive into specific categories, led by the leading pundits.

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