‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor,’ ‘Free Solo’ Lead Oscar Documentary Shortlist

Shortlist finalists in nine categories were released by the Academy

Won't You Be My Neighbor Mr. Rogers
Focus Features

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the shortlists in nine categories, including Best Feature Documentary, where hit documentaries like “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and “Free Solo” are among the list of contenders.

While a few of the films on the doc-feature shortlist were not nominated or singled out by other awards groups – “Charm City,” “Communion” and “The Distant Barking of Dogs” being the biggest surprises – for the most part, the list stays true to the nonfiction films that have garnered the most critical and commercial attention in 2018.

Crucially, it includes the four top-grossing nonfiction films of the year: “Free Solo,” “RBG,” “Three Identical Strangers” and the presumed frontrunner, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” But the most-honored films of the year are also accounted for, including “Minding the Gap,” “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” “Crime + Punishment,” “Of Fathers and Sons” and “Shirkers.”

Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” is conspicuously missing, but that film was considered a longshot given the tepid reaction it received after its Toronto Film Festival debut. The Quincy Jones doc, “Quincy,” also failed to make the list, along with other showbiz films “Hal” and “Filmworker.” And legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman, recipient of an Honorary Academy Award for his work, was bypassed for his latest film, “Monrovia, Indiana.”

In the Best Documentary Short category, Netflix, which won its first-ever Oscar two years ago for the doc short “The White Helmets,” made the shortlist with two films, “End Game” and “Zion.” The list also includes “My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes,” a film from the New York Times Op-Docs series which also took part in TheWrap’s ShortList Film Festival this year.

The full list of Oscar nominees will be announced on Jan. 22. See the full list of finalists for Best Documentary Feature and Short below.

Best Documentary Feature
“Charm City”
“Crime + Punishment”
“Dark Money”
“The Distant Barking of Dogs”
“Free Solo”
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening”
“Minding the Gap”
“Of Fathers and Sons”
“On Her Shoulders”
“The Silence of Others”
“Three Identical Strangers”
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

Best Documentary Short
“Black Sheep”
“End Game”
“Los Comandos”
“My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes”
“A Night at the Garden”
“Period. End of Sentence.”
“’63 Boycott”
“Women of the Gulag”