Sun. Oct 25th, 2020

2021 Oscar Predictions: DOCUMENTARY FEATURE (October)

Another Academy branch that makes strange and sometimes sketchy choices with their nominations is the documentary branch. They’ve changed their rules and voting procedures over the years after wild snubs happen (think 1994’s Hoop Dreams) but major snubs are still the name of the game with the group consistently overlooking the year’s most popular and widely seen docs: Jane, Won’t You Be My Neighbor and last season’s Apollo 11 all ended up on the outside looking in.

What will they go for in this caustic and vitriol-laden election year? Well, it probably will depend on the outcome of the Presidential election on November 3, but we have a handful of political docs that are at the top of the list for now. We have everything from films about a summer camp for disabled people (Crip Camp), impending death (Dick Johnson is Dead) and lauding one of the United States’ greatest civil rights leaders (John Lewis: Good Trouble). There’s music docs about Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift and the quiet and resilient life of truffle hunters in Italy that recalls last year’s Honeyland.

Although I predicted the Apollo 11 snub based on how this branch’s history has gone, this year might be tougher so it’s going to be favorites and hits until it’s not.

Here are my ranked 2021 Oscar predictions in Documentary Feature for October.

1. All In: The Fight for Democracy (Amazon Studios)
Lisa Cortes, Liz Garbus

2. John Lewis: Good Trouble (Magnolia Pictures)
Dawn Porter

3. Boys State (Apple TV+)
Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss

4. Dick Johnson is Dead (Netflix)
Kirsten Johnson

5. The Truffle Hunters (Sony Pictures Classics)
Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw


Other Contenders

76 Days (MTV Documentary Films)
Weixi Chen, Hao Wu

Assassins (Greenwich Entertainment)
Ryan White

Belushi (Showtime Documentary Films)
R.J. Cutler

Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry (Apple TV+)
R.J. Cutler

Collective (Magnolia Selects)
Alexander Nanau

Crip Camp (Netflix)
James Lebrecht, Nicole Newnham

The Dissident (Briarcliff Entertainment)
Bryan Fogel

Giving Voice (Netflix)
James D. Stern, Fernando Villena

The Human Factor (Sony Pictures Classics)
Dror Moreh

I Am Greta (Hulu)
Nathan Grossman

Miss Americana (Netflix)
Lana Wilson

MLK/FBI (IFC Films)
Sam Pollard

Oliver Sacks: His Own Life (Zeitgeist Films)
Ric Burns

On the Record (HBO Max)
Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering

Rebuilding Paradise (National Geographic Documentary Films)
Ron Howard

The Social Dilemma (Netflix)
Jeff Orlowski

A Thousand Cuts (PBS Distribution and FRONTLINE PBS)
Ramona S. Diaz

Time (Amazon Studios)
Garrett Bradley

Totally Under Control (Neon)
Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan , Suzanne Hillinger

The Way I See It (Focus Features)
Dawn Porter

Welcome to Chechnya (HBO Documentary Films)
David France

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