Awards season is drawing closer to its finale. The Academy Awards released its 2022 nominees, including the five feature documentaries that are in the running for film’s top prize. The list featured a few surprises, including India’s first nomination in the category, and the exclusion of “Rescue,” directed by “Free Solo” directing team Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. Here’s a closer look at the best documentary nominees and where to watch the films.
The Oscars will be presented during a live ceremony on March 27. See a full list of nominees here.
“Ascension,” directed by Jessica Kingdon
Jessica Kingdon’s film “Ascension” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this past summer, where it won the festival’s top documentary prize. The film interrogates capitalism and consumerism in contemporary China, underscoring the division created by the country’s class system as workers strive toward the “Chinese Dream.”
Available to stream on Amazon Prime and Paramount+.
“Attica,” directed by Stanley Nelson
Stanley Nelson’s documentary explores the 1971 uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility, one of the largest prison riots in American history. The five-day standoff, which was instigated by inmates — mostly men of color — seeking humane treatment and improved prison conditions, ended with 43 casualties. The film weaves archival footage with new interviews, highlighting the ongoing need for prison reform decades later.
Available to stream on Showtime.
“Flee,” directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Animated documentary “Flee,” which was executive produced by Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, premiered at Sundance last year and picked up the top honor in the festival’s World Cinema Documentary Competition. “Flee” tells the story of a gay man, Amin Nawabi (a pseudonym), who leaves his home in Afghanistan and resettles as a refugee in Denmark. The film — a frontrunner — also picked up Oscar nominations for best international feature film, as Denmark’s official entry, and best animated feature film.
Available to rent through Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play and Hulu.
“The Summer of Soul,” directed by Questlove
Questlove made his filmmaking debut with a documentary about the Harlem Cultural Festival — the “Black Woodstock” — a free concert series that was held during the summer of 1969 and attended by more than 300,000 people. “Summer of Soul” packs in never-before-seen archival footage of musical icons like Stevie Wonder and Mavis Staples shot by the late documentarian Hal Tulchin. The film premiered at Sundance last year, where it won the documentary grand jury prize, and has racked up numerous award nominations since its release last summer.
Available to stream on Hulu.
“Writing With Fire,” directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh
After premiering at Sundance in 2021, where it won two awards, “Writing With Fire” is officially the first Indian feature documentary to be nominated for an Oscar. The film chronicles the female-run newspaper Khabar Lahariya as the journalists — all women from India’s lower-caste — adapt the news organization for a digital landscape.
Not yet available to stream.
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