“All In: The Fight for Democracy”
“Boys State”
“Crip Camp”
“Dick Johnson Is Dead”
“The Mole Agent”
“My Octopus Teacher”
“The Painter and the Thief”
“76 Days”
“The Truffle Hunters”
“Welcome to Chechnya”

Today, the Academy announced the shortlist for the Best Documentary Feature category as part of the delayed 93rd Academy Awards. Starting as two hundred thirty-eight eligible films, the Academy’s Documentary Branch members whittled that down to the fifteen we see today. Among the list included ten of the fifteen documentaries on my own shortlist predictions and all five that I predicted as ultimately getting nominations (which I will stick with). The one I’m most surprised not to see make the shortlist is “I Am Greta.”

Per the Academy’s press release:

Nominations voting begins on Friday, March 5, 2021, and concludes on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.
Nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards will be announced on Monday, March 15, 2021.
The 93rd Oscars® will be held on Sunday, April 25, 2021, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.


Magnolia Pictures

“Dick Johnson Is Dead”


“76 Days”
MTV Documentary Films

Amazon Studios


IMDB Synopsis: Director Alexander Nanau follows a crack team of investigators at the Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor as they try to uncover a vast health-care fraud that enriched moguls and politicians and led to the deaths of innocent citizens.

WHY’S IT GOING TO GET NOMINATED: Not only did “Collective” make the shortlist for Best Documentary Feature, it is also the Romanian entry for the Best International Feature category, meaning the film could be a double nominee, but like “Honeyland” was last year. “Collective” has been winning critics awards and is highly rated on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.


IMDB Synopsis: A daughter helps her father prepare for the end of his life.

WHY’S IT GOING TO GET NOMINATED: Director Kirsten Johnson was behind the lens of Oscar-winning documentary “Citizenfour” and directed the much-talked-about documentary “Cameraperson.” In this documentary, she takes a personal approach and I can already tell this is going to be a tearjerker.

#3: “GUNDA” — NEON

IMDB Synopsis: Documentary looks at the daily life of a pig and its farm animal companions: two cows and a one-legged chicken.

WHY’S IT GOING TO GET NOMINATED: Produced by Joaquin Phoenix, “Gunda” seems just crazy enough to land on some people’s radars. Offering a nice balance of getting a message across without being too serious, I believe this one could have what it takes to get a nomination.

#4: “76 DAYS” — MTV Documentary Films

IMDB Synopsis: Raw and intimate, this documentary captures the struggles of patients and frontline medical professionals battling the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan.

WHY’S IT GOING TO GET NOMINATED: Timely doesn’t even begin to cover this one. “76 Days” covers the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan. I think everyone’s going to want to see this one.


IMDB Synopsis: Fox Rich fights for the release of her husband, Rob, who is serving a 60-year sentence in prison.

WHY’S IT GOING TO GET NOMINATED: Probably the most nominated and award-winning documentary coming into award season, this documentary has been acclaimed from Sundance through the end-of-year critics’ awards.

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