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Final Oscars Predictions: Documentary Feature – ‘Navalny’ Gets Visibility During Key Voting Period

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: March 9, 2023

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2023 Oscars Predictions: Best Documentary Feature

FIRE OF LOVE, volcanologist Maurice Krafft, (shown in archival footage), 2022. © Neon / Courtesy Everett Collection
FIRE OF LOVE, volcanologist Maurice Krafft, (shown in archival footage), 2022. © Neon / Courtesy Everett Collection

CATEGORY COMMENTARY:

“Navalny” is timely and riding high after winning BAFTA and PGA. In addition to Dasha Navalnaya, the daughter of jailed Russian dissident Alexey Navalny appearing on CNN at the top of voting, it may have received the needed push to clear the finish line.

Don’t count out “Fire of Love” which won DGA.

Will Win: “Navalny” (CNN/Warner Bros.) – Daniel Roher, Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Shane Boris
Could Win: “Fire of Love” (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon) – Sara Dosa, Shane Boris and Ina Fichman
Should Win: “Fire of Love”
Should have been here: “Retrograde” (National Geographic) – Matthew Heineman, Caitlin McNally

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.

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

Countdown to the Oscars with Variety here.

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

And The Nominees Are:

Rank

Film

Director(s) and Producer(s)

Distributor

1

“Navalny”

Daniel Roher, Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller and Shane Boris

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

2

“Fire of Love”

Sara Dosa, Shane Boris and Ina Fichman

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.

3

“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”

Laura Poitras, Howard Gertler, John Lyons, Nan Goldin and Yoni Golijov

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.

4

“All That Breathes”

Shaunak Sen, Aman Mann and Teddy Leifer

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.

5

“A House Made of Splinters”

Simon Lereng Wilmont and Monica Hellström

Giant Pictures

Children and staff in a special kind of home: an institution for children who have been removed from their homes while awaiting court custody decisions. Staff do their best to make the time children have there safe and supportive.

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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