Oscars Documentary Race Tops 200 Entries to Shatter Old Record (Exclusive)

Steve Pond
·6-min read

The Academy has added 93 more films to the members-only screening room devoted to entries in the Best Documentary Feature category, bringing the total number of eligible contenders to a record-shattering 215.

The previous record for entries was 170 in 2017. And this year’s crop of nonfiction films is expected to pass that number by an even bigger margin — at least 50 — once a final, smaller group of films is added to the screening room in January.

New eligibility rules that were passed in the wake of the COVID-19 theater closings made it easier for documentaries to qualify this year by allowing them to do so by playing at film festivals, even virtual ones, and by easing requirements for theatrical runs. In an email to members detailing the new additions, the Academy said, “The Documentary Branch Executive Committee felt it was important to be inclusive and supportive of documentary filmmakers in this unprecedented and challenging year.”

Also Read: 10 Best Documentaries of 2020, From 'Crip Camp' to 'Totally Under Control' (Photos)

The new films in the race, by far the largest number of films in any of the Academy’s monthly additions to the Documentary Branch screening room, are still being processed and are not all ready for viewing yet.

The films are largely low-profile docs that have not won prizes or nominations at the nonfiction awards shows that have taken place so far. The list, however, does include a number of notable contenders, including Frederick Wiseman’s “City Hall,” Julien Temple’s “Crock of Gold,” Sam Pollard’s “MLK/FBI,” Errol Morris’ “My Psychedelic Love Story” and “9to5: The Story of a Movement,” from reigning Oscar documentary winners Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar.

Also on the list: the award-winning “Gunda,” the COVID chronicle “76 Days” and Alex Winter’s “Zappa.”

The record number of documentaries creates a substantial amount of new work for voters in the doc branch. Typically, each member is randomly assigned a set of films as required viewing, in order to ensure that every eligible film is viewed by enough voters. With the total number of entries now passing 200 for the first time ever, required viewing for voters in the branch could top 40 films each.

Also Read: Dozens of Documentaries Are Now Paying for Spots in Oscars Best Picture Screening Room

Here is the complete list of films currently in the Best Documentary Feature screening room. Films with an asterisk were added in December.

“Acasa, My Home”
“Aggie”
“All I Can Say”
“All In: The Fight for Democracy”
“The American Sector” *
“American Selfie: One Nation Shoots Itself” *
“America’s Forgotten” *
“The Antidote” *
“Apocalypse ’45”
“The Art of Political Murder” *
“Assassins”
“Athlete A”
“Babenco – Tell Me When I Die” *
“Be Water”
“Beastie Boys Story”
“Beautiful Something Left Behind” *
“Becoming”
“Bedlam”
“Belly of the Beast”
“Belushi”
“Beyond the Visible: Hilma Af Klint”
“Billie”
“Black Boys”
“Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets”
“The Booksellers” *
“Born to Be” *
“Boys State”
“Bulletproof” *
“Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn”
“Capital in the Twenty-First Century”
“Childhood 2.0”
“Chuck Berry” *
“Circus of Books”
“City Dream” *
“City Hall” *
“Coded Bias”
“Collective”
“Colombia in My Arms”
“Coming Clean”
“Coronation”
“Coup 53” *
“Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words”
“Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine” *
“Crip Camp”
“Crock of Gold – A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan” *
“The Curve” *
“Dads”
“Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time”
“David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet”
“Days of Cannibalism” *
“Dear Santa” *
“Descent”
“Desert One”
“Diana Kennedy: Nothing Special” *
“Dick Johnson Is Dead”
“Disclosure”
“The Dissident”
“The Dog Doc”
“The Donut King”
“Dope Is Death” *
“Down a Dark Stairwell” *
“Downstream to Kinshasa” *
“The Earth Is Blue as an Orange” *
“Elementa”
“Epicentro”
“Erased, ____ Ascent of the Individual”
“Escape From Extinction”
“Everybody Flies”
“F11 and Be There”
“Fandango at the Wall”
“Father Soldier Son”
“Feels Good Man”
“The Fight”
“Find Your Groove”
“Finding Yingying” *
“Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds”
“First Vote” *
“Flannery”
“For They Know Not What They Do”
“The Forbidden Reel” *
“40 Years a Prisoner” *
“The Ghost of Peter Sellers”
“Giving Voice”
“Freak Power: The Ballot or the Bomb” *
“Freedia Got a Gun” *
“The Go-Go’s”
“Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind”
“Gunda” *
“Harry Chapin: When in Doubt, Do Something”
“House of Cardin”
“The Human Factor”
“Human Nature” *
“I Am Greta”
“I Am Not Alone” *
“I Owe You a Letter About Brazil” *
“iHuman”
“Indian Space Dreams”
“Influence” *
“Irmi”
“The Infiltrators”
“(In)visible Portraits” *
“Irradies (Irradiated)” *
“Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President”
“John Lewis: Good Trouble”
“Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl”
“A Kid from Coney Island”
“Kingdom of Silence”
“Kings of Capitol Hill” *
“Kiss the Ground”
“La Madrina: The (Savage) Life of Lorine Padina” *
“Lance”
“Landfall” *
“The Last Blockbuster” *
“Last Call for Tomorrow” *
“Lessons of Love” *
“The Letter” *
“Libelu – Down With the Dictatorship” *
“Life Is Deadly”
“Lift Like a Girl” *
“Lost Course” *
“Lost in Face” *
“The Lost Paradise”
“Love Child”
“Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art” *
“Man in the Arena” *
“Martin Margiela: In His Own Words” *
“Mayor”
“Mighty Ira” *
“Miss Americana”
“MLK/FBI” *
“The Mole Agent”
“The Monster Inside Me” *
“A Most Beautiful Thing”
“Mother to Earth: The Untold Story of Earth Bound” *
“Mr. Soul!” *
“Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado”
“Music Got Me Here” *
“My Darling Vivian”
“My Darling Supermarket” *
“My Octopus Teacher”
“My People: The Jews of Greece” *
“My Psychedelic Love Story” *
“My Rembrandt” *
“Napoli Eden” *
“Narciso Em Ferias” *
“Nasrin” *
“The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel” *
“9/11 Kids” *
“9to5: The Story of a Movement” *
“Notturno” *
“Oliver Sacks: His Own Life”
“Olympia”
“On the Record”
“Once Upon a Time in Venezuela” *
“Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band”
“Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles” *
“Our Time Machine”
“Pahokee”
“The Painter and the Thief”
“A Pandemic: Away From the Motherland” *
“The Phenomenon” *
“Planet of the Humans”
“The Pollinators”
“The Power of Movement”
“Pray: The Story of Patrick Peyton” *
“Queen of Hearts: Audrey Flack”
“The Reason I Jump”
“Rebuilding Paradise”
“Red Penguins”
“Reunited” *
“Rewind”
“Ringside”
“Rising Phoenix”
“River City Drumbeat”
“River Tales”
“Searching for Mr. Rugoff”
“Self Portrait” *
“17 Blocks the Final Cut” *
“76 Days” *
“Sky Blossom” *
“Slay the Dragon”
“The Social Dilemma”
“Softie”
“Some Kind of Heaven” *
“Songs of Repression”
“Soros” *
“Spaceship Earth”
“Stars and Strife”
“The State of Texas vs. Melissa” *
“Stray” *
“Strip Down, Rise Up” *
“System K” *
“This Is Not a Movie” *
“A Thousand Cuts”
“Through the Night”
“Time”
“Totally Under Control”
“Transhood” *
“The Truffle Hunters”
“#Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump” *
“Us Kids”
“The Walrus and the Whistleblower” *
“The Way I See It”
“WBCN and the American Revolution”
“We Are the Radical Monarchs”
“We Don’t Deserve Dogs”
“Welcome to Chechnya”
“White Noise” *
“Wild Daze”
“Wim Wenders, Desperado” *
“With Drawn Arms” *
“Women in Blue” *
“You Cannot Kill David Arquette”
“Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn”
“Zappa” *

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