Cinema Eye Honors nominations: Oscar preview of Best Documentary Feature?

The Cinema Eye Honors announced its nominees on Nov. 2 for its annual awards honoring exemplary craft and innovation in nonfiction filmmaking. The Cinema Eye Honors, along with the International Documentary Assn. which announced its own nominees on Nov. 1, are the best indicators of where the Oscar race for Documentary Feature is headed.

Last year, Cinema Eye Honors matched three of five nominees with Oscar, ultimately giving their top prize to “The Look of Silence” while the Oscar went to “Amy.” In 2014, the group previewed two of the five academy choices and both bodies named “Citizenfour” as their winner.

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Between Cinema Eye Honors and the IDA there is a consensus emerging. All five of the CEH’s nominees, listed below, also contend for the top prize with IDA, which has a sixth nominee with Ava DuVernay’s “13th.”

The 10th Annual Cinema Eye Honors Ceremony will be held on January 11 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens.

“Cameraperson” (Director: Kirsten Johnson)
Using her own footage shot over decades of traveling around the world, Johnson reveals the power of the camera in this memoir. She is best known for her work as a cinematographer having won multiple awards for her work in that role on the Oscar-winning “Citizenfour” in 2014.

“Cameraperson” currently holds scores of 86 on Metacritic (based on 17 reviews) and 100% on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 47 reviews). It’s also nominated in the Best Documentary Feature Film (Theatrical Premiere) category at the inaugural Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Best Documentary at the Gotham Film Awards and Best Feature with the International Documentary Association.

“Fire at Sea” (Director: Gianfranco Rosi)
Having won the Golden Lion at this year’s Berlinale and chosen by Italy as its submission in the Foreign Language Film race, “Fire at Sea” is already one of the year’s leading contenders at the Oscars. The film juxtaposes the ordinary life of the inhabitants of the Sicilian island of Lampedusa with the refugees escaping into the European Union from across the Mediterranean Sea.

“Fire at Sea” currently holds scores of 87 on Metacritic (based on 19 reviews) and 92% on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 51 reviews). It’s also nominated in the Best Documentary Feature Film (Theatrical Premiere) category at the inaugural Critics Choice Documentary Awards and Best Feature with the International Documentary Association.

“I Am Not Your Negro” (Director: Raoul Peck)
Winner of the People’s Choice Award for documentaries at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, Peck’s film explores the history of race relations in the U.S. based on author James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript “Remember This House,” including his takes on the lives and work of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Jr.

“I Am Not Your Negro” currently holds scores of 97 on Metacritic (based on 4 reviews) and 86% on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 7 reviews). It’s also nominated for Best Documentary at the Gotham Film Awards and Best Feature with the International Documentary Association.

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O.J.: Made in America” (Director: Ezra Edelman)
Exploring the life and celebrity of O.J. Simpson through the lens of race relations in America, the ESPN documentary “30 for 30: O.J.: Made in America” is a five-part television series that premiered at Sundance and had an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run. Edelman is best known as a sports documentary filmmaker having won multiple Sports Emmys for “Brooklyn Dodgers: Ghosts of Flatbush” in 2008, but is new to the Oscar race.

“O.J.: Made in America” currently holds scores of 96 on Metacritic (based on 21 reviews) and 100% on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 38 reviews). It’s also nominated in the Best Documentary Feature Film (Theatrical Premiere) category at the inaugural Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Best Documentary at the Gotham Film Awards and Best Feature with the International Documentary Association.

“Weiner” (Directors: Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg)
Chronicling his 2013 New York City mayoral campaign and image rehabilitation after the 2011 leaked photo scandal that ended his career in Congress, Anthony Weiner is the subject of this 2016 Sundance Grand Jury Prize: Documentary winner. This is directorial debut of both Kriegman and Steinberg.

“Weiner” currently holds scores of 84 on Metacritic (based on 33 reviews) and 96% on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 139 reviews). It’s also nominated in the Best Documentary Feature Film (Theatrical Premiere) category at the inaugural Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Best Documentary at the Gotham Film Awards and Best Feature with the International Documentary Association.

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