‘OJ: Made in America,’ ‘Weiner,’ ‘Fire at Sea’ Make Oscars Documentary Shortlist

“Cameraperson,” “The Ivory Game,” “Life, Animated” and “Tower” also make the 15-film shortlist

Last Updated: December 6, 2016 @ 12:22 PM

“Cameraperson,” “Fire at Sea,” “I Am Not Your Negro,” “O.J.: Made in America” and “Weiner” have reached the second round of voting in the Oscars race for Best Documentary Feature, the Academy announced on Tuesday.

Those five films were also nominated by the two main shows that honor nonfiction filmmaking, the IDA Documentary Awards and the Cinema Eye Honors, making them odds-on favorites to become Oscar nominees.

Ava DuVernay’s “13th,” which was not eligible for the Cinema Eye Honors, also made the shortlist, as did “Tower,” “Life, Animated” and “The Eagle Huntress.”

Also on the list: “Command and Control,” “Gleason,” “Hooligan Sparrow,” “The Ivory Game,” “The Witness” and “Zero Days.”

Nothing on the shortlist was unexpected, with many of the year’s most high-profile nonfiction films making the cut. Notable films that did not make the list include Leonardo DiCaprio’s climate-change doc, “Before the Flood,” Werner Herzog’s “Into the Inferno,” “Newtown,” “Audrie & Daisy,” “Amanda Knox” and several films about music and show business, including “Miss Sharon Jones!,” “Becoming Mike Nichols,” “The Music of Strangers,” “We Are X” and Ron Howard’s “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years.”

“O.J.: Made in America” is shaping up to be the most honored nonfiction film of the year. The doc recently won awards from the New York and Los Angeles film critics, with the New York critics pointing out in a press release that its inclusion led to an argument about whether it was a TV doc rather than a theatrical film.

The film was made for ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, but before it aired on the network in five parts, it had a theatrical qualifying run as a seven-and-a-half-hour film.

The films were chosen from 145 qualifying docs by members of the Academy’s Documentary Branch, which received screener DVDs of all the eligible films. Each member was randomly assigned to watch a small percentage of those films, but was then allowed to watch anything else that qualified.

Since the Oscars doc system was changed to eliminate small committees and go for a branch-wide vote, complaints about the composition of the shortlists have decreased, as the lists have typically consisted of most of the most high-profile and acclaimed nonfiction films of the year.

A second round of voting by the branch will now narrow the field to the five nominees. Nominations will be announced on January 24.

The shortlist:

“Cameraperson,” Big Mouth Productions
“Command and Control,” American Experience Films/PBS
“The Eagle Huntress,” Stacey Reiss Productions, Kissiki Films and 19340 Productions
“Fire at Sea,” Stemal Entertainment
“Gleason,” Dear Rivers Productions, Exhibit A and IMG Films
“Hooligan Sparrow,” Little Horse Crossing the River
“I Am Not Your Negro,” Velvet Film
“The Ivory Game,” Terra Mater Film Studios and Vulcan Productions
“Life, Animated,” Motto Pictures and A&E IndieFilms
“O.J.: Made in America,” Laylow Films and ESPN Films
“13th,” Forward Movement
“Tower,” Go-Valley
“Weiner,” Edgeline Films
“The Witness,” The Witnesses Film
“Zero Days,” Jigsaw Productions