The list of feature documentaries still in contention for the Oscars has been cut to 15 finalists, a brutal culling from a contingent of 167 qualifiers. The annual shortlist announcement leaves a handful of filmmakers celebrating, many more disappointed, and documentary watchers with much to debate.
from Oscar winners Davis Guggenheim and Roger Ross Williams, and Oscar nominees Matthew Heineman, Maite Alberdi and Kaouther Ben Hania. The shortlist brought recognition to filmmakers from Tunisia, Denmark, Poland, Ukraine, Chile, Uganda, Canada, and the U.S., further evidence of the way international members of the Oscar Documentary Branch have become definitive in determining the nonfiction films that continue in the race for nominations.
Snubs and surprises abounded in the shortlist. The new episode of Doc Talk explores why legends like Errol Morris and Frederick Wiseman missed the cut, and why the trans-themed Kokomo City – winner of prizes from Sundance to Berlin – may have been too frank for Doc Branch tastes. And Ridley, the Oscar-winning filmmaker and director, expresses his dismay (is outrage too strong a word?) over the diss delivered to one documentary that took a highly original approach to its investigation of a neglected region of America. “I am beyond disappointed,” by the omission, Ridley says. “This is a hard, direct snub.”
Ridley and Carey highlight the posthumous recognition given to a beloved figure in documentary who passed away unexpectedly over the summer, only a few weeks after the release of her film exploring the cultural relevance of one of the 1960s’ most important movies.
That’s on the latest episode of Doc Talk, the podcast produced by Deadline and Ridley’s Nō Studios. Doc Talk is presented with support from National Geographic Documentary Films.