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Academy Award for Documentary Feature: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Academy Award for Documentary Feature is among the most prestigious awards for documentary films.

Winners and nominees

Following the Academy's practice, films are listed below by the award year (that is, the year they were released under the Academy's rules for eligibility). In practice, due to the limited nature of documentary distribution, a film may be released in different years in different venues, sometimes years after production is complete.


1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s


In 1942, there was one Documentary category and four winners.

From 1943 there were two separate documentary categories (features and short films)





  • 1981 Genocide directed by Arnold Schwartzman
    • Against Wind and Tide: A Cuban Odyssey
    • Brooklyn Bridge
    • Eight Minutes to Midnight: A Portrait of Dr. Helen Caldicott
    • El Salvador: Another Vietnam


  • 1992 The Panama Deception directed by Barbara Trent and David Kasper
    • Changing Our Minds: The Story of Dr. Evelyn Hooker
    • Fires of Kuwait
    • Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II
    • Music for the Movies: Bernard Herrmann
  • 1996 When We Were Kings directed by Leon Gast
    • The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story
    • Mandela
    • Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse
    • Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press


2000: Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the KindertransportMark Jonathan Harris and Deborah Oppenheimer

2001: Murder on a Sunday Morning (Un coupable idéal)Jean-Xavier de Lestrade and Denis Poncet

2002: Bowling for ColumbineMichael Donovan and Michael Moore

2003: The Fog of WarErrol Morris and Michael Williams

2004: Born into Brothels – Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski

2005: March of the Penguins (La marche de l'empereur)Luc Jacquet

2006: An Inconvenient TruthDavis Guggenheim

2007: Taxi to the Dark SideAlex Gibney and Eva Orner

2008: Man on Wire – Simon Chinn and James Marsh


The Award for Documentary Feature is arguably the most controversial of the Academy Awards. Many critically acclaimed documentaries are not nominated. Examples include The Thin Blue Line, Roger & Me, Hoop Dreams, and Fahrenheit 9/11 (see below). The controversy over Hoop Dreams was enough to force the Academy Awards to change their documentary voting system.[1]

Whether the new rules are successful is still debated, since 2005's Grizzly Man, a documentary strong enough to appear on many critics' top 10 lists[2] was not nominated, and did not even make the Academy's internally distributed top 15 list. Grizzly Man's exclusion was later revealed to be the result of an Academy rule disqualifying documentary films that are constructed entirely out of archive footage. However, Grizzly Man included new interviews and other footage shot exclusively for the film.

There is debate over the role television distribution should play in the selection process. Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, at the time the highest grossing documentary film ever made, was ineligible because Moore had opted to have it played on television prior to the 2004 Election. Conversely, the 1982 winner Just Another Missing Kid, directed by John Zaritsky, was created by editing together footage he originally shot for the Canadian investigative journalism TV show The Fifth Estate.


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