Oscars Documentary Race Gets Bigger, More Competitive With New Batch of 33 Films

Steve Pond
·4-min read

The Academy dropped another 33 feature films into the online screening room for members of its Documentary Branch on Oct. 30, giving the Oscars doc race its biggest influx of new films to date. The branch now has 86 films to consider, with two or three more batches of films (and potentially more than 50 additional contenders) likely to be added to the field by early January.

Coming the same week that the Critics Choice Documentary Awards announced its nominees and the International Documentary Association’s IDA Documentary Awards revealed the 30-film shortlist from which it will make its final choices, the Academy move kicked the Oscar doc race into another gear in a year that promises to be highly competitive.

Among the docs that were made available to voters this week were Bryce Dallas Howard’s film about fatherhood, “Dads,” which means she’ll be competing against her father, Ron Howard, who is in the race with “Rebuilding Paradise.” (He also appears in “Dads.”)

Also Read: 'Boys State,' '76 Days,' 'Truffle Hunters' Shortlisted for IDA Documentary Awards

Other new additions include the Sundance winner “Boys State”; the Romanian doc “Collective,” which is also that country’s submission in the Oscar international race; Kirsten Johnson’s “Dick Johnson Is Dead” and Garrett Bradley’s “Time,” both critical favorites on the festival circuit; Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw’s “The Truffle Hunters” and Dror Moreh’s “The Human Factor,” both of which are being released by Sony Pictures Classics; and a number of music-oriented films, including “The Go-Go’s,” “Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time,” “My Darling Vivian” and “River City Drumbeat.”

Prior to the 33 films that were added to the screening room in October, the Academy had made 25 films available in July, 12 in August and 16 in September.

The November and December batches of docs that will be added to the Oscar screening room are likely to be robust as well; of the more than 80 films that qualified for this year’s Oscars by being selected for or winning awards at film festivals, fewer than 30 are currently in the screening room.

Also Read: 'Crip Camp,' 'Gunda,' 'Mr. Soul!' Lead Critics Choice Documentary Nominations

High-profile films that are not yet available to members but have either qualified or are expected to qualify include “Assassins,” “City Hall,” “The Dissident,” “Once Upon a Time in Venezuela,” “Gunda,” “MLK/FBI,” “Notturno,” “76 Days,” “Fireball” and “Totally Under Control.”

Here are the films that are in the Documentary Branch screening room as of the end of October. Each member of the branch has been randomly assigned 20% of these films (around 17) as required viewing, but is free to see any others.

Films with an asterisk were either one of the 14 nominees in the Best Documentary Feature category at the Critics Choice Documentary Awards or placed on the 30-film shortlist for the IDA Documentary Awards.

“Acasa, My Home” *
“Aggie”
“All I Can Say”
“All In: The Fight for Democracy”
“Apocalypse ’45”
“Athlete A” *
“Be Water”
“Becoming”
“Bedlam”
“Beyond the Visible: Hilma Af Klint”
“Boys State” *
“Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn”
“Capital in the Twenty-First Century”
“Childhood 2.0”
“Circus of Books”
“Coded Bias”
“Collective” *
“Colombia in My Arms”
“Coronation”
“Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words”
“Crip Camp” *
“Dads”
“Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time”
“David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet”
“Descent”
“Dick Johnson Is Dead” *
“Disclosure” *
“The Dog Doc”
“Elementa”
“Epicentro”
“Erased, ____ Ascent of the Individual”
“Fandango at the Wall”
“Father Solider Son”
“Feels Good Man” *
“The Fight” *
“Find Your Groove”
“Flannery”
“For They Know Not What They Do”
“The Ghost of Peter Sellers”
“The Go-Go’s” *
“The Human Factor”
“iHuman”
“Irmi”
“The Infiltrators”
“John Lewis: Good Trouble”
“Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl”
“A Kid from Coney Island”
“Kingdom of Silence”
“Lance”
“The Lost Paradise”
“Mayor”
“Miss Americana”
“The Mole Agent” *
“A Most Beautiful Thing”
“Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado”
“My Darling Vivian”
“My Octopus Teacher” *
“Oliver Sacks: His Own Life”
“Olympia”
“On the Record”
“Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band”
“Our Time Machine”
“Pahokee”
“The Painter and the Thief” *
“Planet of the Humans”
“The Pollinators”
“Queen of Hearts: Audtry Flack”
“Rebuilding Paradise”
“Red Penguins”
“Rewind”
“Ringside”
“Rising Phoenix”
“River City Drumbeat”
“Slay the Dragon”
“The Social Dilemma” *
“Songs of Repression”
“Spaceship Earth”
“Stars and Strife”
“A Thousand Cuts”
“Time” *
“The Truffle Hunters” *
“We Are the Radical Monarchs”
“Welcome to Chechnya” *
“Wild Daze”
“You Cannot Kill David Arquette”
“Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn”

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