2019 PGA Awards documentary nominations include Oscar frontrunners ‘Free Solo,’ ‘Three Identical Strangers’ and ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced the seven nominees for Best Documentary on Tuesday. The winner will be revealed at the 30th Annual PGA Awards on Jan. 29 in Los Angeles. The remaining PGA Awards nominations, including those for the Oscar bellwether Best Picture, will be unveiled on Jan. 4, 2019. The lucky seven documentary features in the running are:

“The Dawn Wall”
“Free Solo”
“Into the Okavango”
“Three Identical Strangers”
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

Three of these films have already picked up major precursor nominations. “Free Solo,” which follows Alex Honnold as he strives to be the first person to free solo climb El Capitan in Yosemite, was nominated by the Critics Choice Documentary Awards (CCDA) and International Documentary Association (IDA). “Three Identical Strangers,” which tells the tale of triplets separated at birth and adopted into different families, was also nominated by the CCDA. While it was snubbed by the IDA, it was cited by the Cinema Eye Honors (CEH) and won a jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. And “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” which chronicles the life and lessons of Fred Rogers, won with the CCDA and has racked up nominations with the IDA, CEH and both the Gotham and Independent Spirit awards.

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On Dec. 17, the academy will announce a 15-title short list culled from the 166 documentary features submitted for consideration. Last year only three of the PGA documentary nominees made this short list (“Jane,” “Chasing Coral” and “Cries from Syria”) and none of them went on to be Oscar-nominated. In both 2016 and 2015  four PGA-nominated films made the first cut with the documentary branch of the academy, with two then being Oscar-nominated. And the PGA previewed the Oscar winner both times (“O.J.: Made in America” and “Amy”).

With that in mind, Oscar hopefuls like “Minding the Gap” and “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” both of which have earned their own share of significant recognition already this season, shouldn’t be so worried about being snubbed by the PGA.

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