‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor,’ ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’ Get an Oscars Boost From DOC NYC

The documentary festival’s annual Short List, an accurate predictor of Oscars success, also includes “RBG,” “Three Identical Strangers,” “Free Solo,” “Quincy” and “Jane Fonda: A Life in Five Acts”

Mister Rogers Won't You Be My Neighbor
Jim Judkis / Focus Features

Do you want to know what film is going to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature next February?

It’ll either be Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9,” Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s “RGB,” Tim Wardle’s “Three Identical Strangers,” Susan Lacy’s “Jane Fonda: A Life in Five Acts,” Morgan Neville’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” or one of these 10 other docs:

“Crime + Punishment,” Stephen Maing; “Free Solo,” Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin; “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” RaMell Ross; “Minding the Gap,” Bing Liu; “On Her Shoulders,” Alexandra Bombach; “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word,” Wim Wenders; “Quincy,” Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks; “Reversing Roe,” Annie Sundberg & Ricki Stern; “The Sentence,” Rudy Valdez; “Shirkers,” Sandi Tan.

Those, at least, are the 15 films on the annual Short List compiled by the documentary festival DOC NYC. Since its inception in 2012, the list has been an accurate predictor of the films that will end up on the Academy shortlist and then go on to be nominated for and win the Oscar.

For the last five years, the DOC NYC list has included nine or 10 of the 15 films that have made the Oscar shortlist every year. It has included all five Oscar nominees for the last three years in a row and four of the five for the two years before that, and has included the eventual Oscar winner every year.

This year’s list includes the three top-grossing nonfiction films of the year: Neville’s Mr. Rodgers doc “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” which has made $22.6 million to become the 12th-highest-grossing doc of all time; West and Cohen’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg film “RGB,” at $14 million; and Wardle’s stranger-than-fiction tale “Three Identical Strangers,” at $12.2 million.

Other entries include “Fahrenheit 11/9,” which drew largely positive reviews after its Toronto Film Festival premiere on Sept. 6, and “Free Solo,” about Alex Honnold’s attempt to climb Yosemite’s El Capitan without ropes, which won the audience award in Toronto.

Seven of the 15 docs are directed or co-directed by women, a record total for the list. Three of the titles are from Netflix and two each are from HBO Documentary Films, Focus Features and Magnolia Pictures.

The list is compiled by the programming team at the New York-based festival, led by the festival’s artistic director, Thom Powers.

For the first time, DOC NYC also compiled a short list of documentary shorts, which includes Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s “End Game,” Kristi Jacobson and Roger Ross Williams’ “Take Back the Harbor,” Kim A. Snyder’s “Lessons From a School Shooting: Notes From Dunblane” and Charlie Tyrell’s “My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes,” which appeared at TheWrap’s recent ShortList Film Festival.

In addition, DOC NYC announced that this year’s festival, which runs from November 8 thorugh 15, will open with John Chester’s “The Biggest Little Farm,” a well-received film at the recent Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals that deals with the attempt to create a sustainable family farm outside Los Angeles.

DOC NYC is the largest documentary festival in the United States.

The short lists:

“Crime + Punishment” (IFC Films / Hulu), Stephen Maing
“Fahrenheit 11/9” (Briarcliff Entertainment), Michael Moore
“Free Solo” (National Geographic Documentary Films), Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening” (Cinema Guild), RaMell Ross
“Jane Fonda: A Life in Five Acts” (HBO Documentary Films), Susan Lacy
“Minding the Gap” (Magnolia Pictures / Hulu), Bing Liu
“On Her Shoulders” (Oscilloscope Laboratories / RYOT), Alexandria Bombach
“Pope Francis: A Man of His Word” (Focus Features), Wim Wenders
“Quincy” (Netflix), Rashida Jones & Alan Hicks
“RBG” (Magnolia Pictures / Participant Media / CNN Films), Betsy West & Julie Cohen
“Reversing Roe” (Netflix), Annie Sundberg & Ricki Stern
“The Sentence” (HBO Documentary Films), Rudy Valdez
“Shirkers” (Netflix), Sandi Tan
“Three Identical Strangers” (NEON / CNN Films), Tim Wardle
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (Focus Features), Morgan Neville

“’63 Boycott” (Kartemquin), Gordon Quinn
“Earthrise” (New York Times Op-Docs / POV), Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
“End Game” (Netflix), Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman
“The Girl and the Picture” (USC Shoah Foundation / Cause & Affect Media), Vanessa Roth
“The Head & the Hand” (Lost Time Media), Marc Serpa Francoeur
“Lessons From a School Shooting: Notes From Dunblane” (Netflix), Kim A. Snyder
“My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes” (New York Times Op-Docs), Charlie Tyrell
“RX Early Detection: A Cancer Journey With Sandra Lee” (HBO Documentary Films), Cathy Chermol Schrijver
“Sidelined” (A&E IndieFilms / Lifetime Films), Galen Summer
“Take Back the Harbor” (Discovery / Motto Pictures), Kristi Jacobson & Roger Ross Williams
“We Are Not Done Yet” (HBO Documentary Films), Sareen Hairabedian
“Zion” (Netflix), Floyd Russ