15 films make Oscar’s Best Documentary shortlist: ‘Life Itself,’ ‘Citizenfour’ …

The motion picture academy has narrowed down the race for Best Documentary Feature to 15 semifinalists, selected from 134 eligible films. Those 15 films will now advance to the next stage of voting, which will select the final five nominees.

Will Roger Ebert doc ‘Life Itself’ get thumbs up from Oscars?

The shortlist includes high profile favorites like “Citizenfour,” Laura Poitras‘s documentary about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden; “Life Itself,” Steve James‘s biographical film about the late film critic Roger Ebert; “Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” a crime documentary about a serial killer in South Central Los Angeles; and “Last Days in Vietnam,” about the conflicts that plagued the end of the Vietnam War.

After picking up a bid for “The Square” last year, Netflix is back in the mix with “Virunga,” about the mission to save gorillas in the war-torn Congo. HBO contends as well, for “The Case Against 8,” which documents the legal battle against Proposition 8, California’s gay-marriage ban.

But there are also notable omissions. The science documentary “Particle Fever” missed the cut, as did “Merchants of Doubt,” the expose of climate deniers directed by Robert Kenner, who previously contended at the Oscars for “Food Inc.” “Happy Valley,” “Mission Blue,” and Mike Myers‘s “Supermensch” are also absent from the lineup.

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The complete shortlist of documentaries is as follows:

“Art and Craft,” Purple Parrot Films
“The Case against 8,” Day in Court
“Citizen Koch,” Elsewhere Films
“CitizenFour,” Praxis Films
“Finding Vivian Maier,” Ravine Pictures
“The Internet’s Own Boy,” Luminant Media
“Jodorowsky’s Dune,” City Film
“Keep On Keepin’ On,” Absolute Clay Productions
“The Kill Team,” f/8 filmworks
“Last Days in Vietnam,” Moxie Firecracker Films
“Life Itself,” Kartemquin Films and Film Rites
“The Overnighters,” Mile End Films West
“The Salt of the Earth,” Decia Films
“Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” Lafayette Film
“Virunga,” Grain Media

The final Oscar nominees in all categories will be announced on Thursday, January 15, while winners will be presented during the live Oscar telecast on February 22.

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