International Documentary Association nominations: How 6 Best Feature nominees have fared on circuit so far

On Nov. 1, the International Documentary Assn. unveiled the nominees for its annual awards. The IDA is one of the first indicators of where the Oscar race for Best Documentary Feature may be headed having previewed three nominees last year and four in 2014. This year’s six IDA nominees for Best Feature were already on our radar based on prior performance at festivals and with other early awards groups like the new Critics Choice Documentary Awards as well as the Gotham Film Awards.

Below, a more detailed look of how each of the six nominees has performed so far on the circuit offering a brief suggestion of where they stand with large pools of voters ahead of the academy’s own unveiling of their short list of 15 titles in December.

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“13th” (Director: Ava DuVernay)
Chosen to open this year’s New York Film Festival, DuVernay’s film turns a sharp eye toward the Thirteenth Amendment, specifically the “punishment for a crime” clause, and its connection to the problem with mass incarceration and institutionalized racism in the United States. DuVernay’s 2014 film “Selma” was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Picture and Best Original Song, and won the latter.

“13th” currently holds scores of 91 on Metacritic (based on 22 reviews) and 98% 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.

“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 and Best Documentary at the Gotham Film Awards.

“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.

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“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.

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 and Best Documentary at the Gotham Film Awards.

“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 and Best Documentary at the Gotham Film Awards.

Predict the Oscar nominations now; change them till January 24

Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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