Oscar night may still be months away, but the race for the Best Documentary Feature prize is gearing up. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently unveiled the 15 films shortlisted for the award, and realscreen has rounded up trailers for each of the docs.
Five nominees will be chosen from the batch by doc branch members, and announced from Los Angeles on January 14 at 8:30 a.m. EST. The televised ceremony takes place on February 28 at 8 p.m. EST/PST.
Incorporating previously unseen archival footage and unheard music, Amy recounts the life and death of British pop singer Amy Winehouse, who died from alcohol poisoning at the age of 27 in 2011.
An in-depth account of the political debates, televised on ABC in 1968, between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley Jr., and their bitter disagreements about politics, God and sex.
The film follows two different vigilante groups battling Mexican drug cartels on either side of the Mexico-U.S. border. While the Arizona Border Recon monitors a 52-mile desert stretch in the U.S., the civilian-led Autodefensas in Mexico combat the Knights Templar cartel.
Going Clear profiles eight former members of the Church of Scientology, the religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard in 1953. The doc features interviews with former high-ranking church members, who describe the secretive organization’s history, inner workings, practices and relationships with celebrity believers such as John Travolta and Tom Cruise.
He Named Me Malala examines the life of Nobel Peace Prize winner and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai. At 15 years old, Yousafzai was targeted and attacked by the Taliban for advocating for women’s education. Since her recovery, Yousafzai has led a global campaign for education through The Malala Fund.
The doc centers on Laurie Anderson’s late rat terrier Lolabelle and is described as a “personal essay that weaves together childhood memories; video diaries; philosophical musings on data collection, surveillance culture and the Buddhist conception of the afterlife.”
The Hunting Ground provides an examination of rape culture on U.S. university campuses.
A showcase of iconic actor Marlon Brando discussing his craft and personal life through previously unheard audio tape recordings.
The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer’s companion film to his 2012 doc The Act of Killing, shadows a man as he confronts those responsible for killing his brother during the Indonesian genocide 50 years ago.
The 90-minute Meru sees a trio of mountaineers battle through previous failures, personal hardships and nature’s elements during two separate ascension attempts in 2008 and 2011 to become the first individuals to reach Mount Meru’s summit.
3½ Minutes examines the danger of Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense laws by recounting the 2012 murder an unarmed African-American teenager at a Florida gas station.
The documentary details the stories to come from the independence and separation of war-ravaged South Sudan from North Sudan and its long-serving, infamous president.
Garbus’s doc traces jazz musician Nina Simone’s life from her early days in North Carolina to becoming a leading voice in the U.S. civil rights movement, and ultimately living a secluded life in Liberia and France.
The discretely-shot documentary follows the Bowling for Columbine filmmaker throughout various European countries in an attempt to understand the region’s approaches to healthcare, post-secondary education and the prison system.
Evgeny Afineevsky’s Winter on Fire chronicles the Ukrainian uprising in Kiev’s Independent Square that saw the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych and examines the formation of a new civil rights movement.