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March 27, 2015 at 6:19 am #183120
Which documentaries are leading contenders for Oscar.March 27, 2015 at 6:43 am #183122
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief could be the most polarizing film of the year. It certainly will be polarizing within the industry. It paints an unflattering picture of the church and it will be interesting to see if it can get nominated amid all the controversy.It is from acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney and is airing on HBO. Unfortunately I don’t have HBO so I’ll have to wait and see if it comes out on Netflix or Amazon. The reviews seem to be really good and airing in HBO gives it a big boost. Docs like this can stir up debate and often achieve things that fiction can’t.March 27, 2015 at 6:59 am #183123
Kirby Dick has a doc about campus rape from Radius/TWC that will air on CNN and will be a leading contender. He has done great work previously with the doc Outrage.March 27, 2015 at 7:04 am #183124
I forgot to mention the name of the Kirby Dick doc. It is called The Hunting GroundMarch 27, 2015 at 4:21 pm #183125
I would rename this to 2015 Documentary Oscar Contenders to get action on this forum
The Hunting Ground
The Wrecking Crew
Seymour: An Introduction
Those are the big four as of now.March 29, 2015 at 9:30 pm #183126
Is Going Clear eligiable for Oscars? Did it play in theaters before HBO?March 29, 2015 at 9:48 pm #183127
Going Clear is based on the wonderful book by the same name. I wonder if the fact that the filmmaker is working with existing information rather than finding his own story will make a difference to voters in the branch. It kind of seems like it might.March 29, 2015 at 9:53 pm #183128
I believe Going Clear will have a limited release in theaters but I’m not convinced of it’s eligibility.March 29, 2015 at 9:58 pm #183129
I renamed the title so it’s not as confusing.March 29, 2015 at 10:09 pm #183130
Going Clear was in a handful of theaters March 13 and was on HBO March 29.March 29, 2015 at 10:13 pm #183131
If they are familiar with the filmmaker and like his work then the source material may not matterMarch 29, 2015 at 10:45 pm #183132
It’s really good. I think if it keeps momentum alive it could get in.March 30, 2015 at 6:42 am #183133
I saw The Hunting Ground at Sundance. I, personally, loved it, but more for how it holds such powerful institutions accountable for their borderline-evil inaction than for its craft elements. I would be surprised to see it still in the conversation of the year’s crème de la crème docs. Lady GaGa could get a song nomination for it, though (I mean, gag, but people seemed to be so impressed that she could hold a note this year lol).
Going Clear is fascinating, but I wonder how divisive it will be in the Academy ranks. It’s hard to tell how many of them are under the grasp of Scientology or not, but it is striking that The Master didn’t even get a screenplay nomination. Docs from Sundance I might look out for as being more critical stories throughout the year include The Wolfpack (revelatory Grand Prize winner about a large family who had basically been locked in their Lower East Side apartment throughout adolescence by their father and lived their lives vicariously through cinema), Western (visually striking view of rural America which won prizes at both Sundance and SXSW), 3 1/2 Minutes (very relevant in terms of contemporary race relations and violence against black bodies; got a standing ovation when it won a prize at Sundance), The Russian Woodpecker (fucking incredible look at Ukrainian activism in the face of corruption and increasing Russian aggression), Pervert Park (okay that’s less likely but it’s a challenging look at the US sex offender system that might get a Spirit Award mention) , and (T)ERROR (cold for my tastes, but the access into covert US targeting of American Muslims is striking).May 1, 2015 at 7:02 pm #183134
Iris is playing in select theaters now. I haven’t seen it yet but could Albert Maysles earn a farewell nomination with Iris?May 7, 2015 at 7:14 am #183136
I imagine that The Look of Silence, a follow-up to Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2013 film The Act of Killing, could be a big player. Reception so far, based on its festival run last year, is immensely positive. RT score is currently at 93% (with 14 reviews) and Metacritic is at 91 (based on 9 reviews).
Also, while it could be a bit out of the Academy’s wheelhouse, I might as well point out that Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck has earned very positive notices. Right now, it’s sitting at 98% on RT (based on 48 reviews) and 84 on Metacritic (19 reviews). Like Going Clear, it debuted in cinemas before being shown on HBO a few weeks later.