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2015 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Feature-Length Documentary

February 18th, 2016


With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we look at Best Feature-Length Documentary. Last year, this category was in chaos. This year, we have a favorite, a long shot with a shot, and then the rest.

Best Feature-Length Documentary of the Year

Tomatometer Score: 90% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: PGA, DGA, BAFTA
Previous Major Wins: PGA and BAFTA
Notes: This film is the heavy favorite to win the Oscar. It earned two of the three awards it was nominated for and it is also the biggest in terms of box office success. I know box office numbers shouldn't matter, but you can't vote for a film you haven't seen. Additionally, if the movie makes a healthy profit, the studio is more likely to splurge for a Awards Season campaign.

Cartel Land
Tomatometer Score: 90% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: DGA and BAFTA
Previous Major Wins: DGA
Notes: This is the only other film on this year's list that has earned a major award (although there's one more pending, so that could change). It is a long shot, but thanks to its DGA win, it still has a better than average shot of winning.

The Look of Silence
Tomatometer Score: 96% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: PGA and Independent Spirit Awards
Previous Major Wins: None (One pending)
Notes: The only Oscar nominated feature-length documentary to earn an Independent Spirit Award nomination. This help it a little, but it is still a huge long shot to win.

What Happened, Miss Simone?
Tomatometer Score: 83% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: DGA
Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: This film has the weakest reviews and went nowhere at the box office. It does have one previous major nomination, but it didn't win. It is arguably the longest of the long shots.

Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom
Tomatometer Score: 95% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: None
Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: This film has the second best reviews on this list, but it also has no major Awards Season nominations, besides the Oscar.

Conclusion: Amy has little more than 60% chance of winning the Oscar, while Cartel Land has a little more than a 30% chance to win. The other three combined have about a 5% chance of winning. It is not the most lop-sided category we will be dealing with this year, or even today, but it's not really a close race ether.


Filed under: Awards Season, The Look of Silence, Cartel Land, Amy, Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, What Happened, Miss Simone