Oscars Predictions: Documentary Feature – Will the Fourth Time be the Charm for Wim Wenders?

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2024 Oscars Predictions:
Best Documentary Feature

Silver Dollar Road
Silver Dollar Road Raoul Peck

Weekly Commentary (Updated Sept. 28, 2023): As always, we expect an arsenal of documentary feature titles to flood the field for the voters to sift through.

Wim Wenders, who received a tribute at Telluride, has two films in the race this year. The first is Japan’s official selection, “Perfect Days” from Neon and the other is his three-dimensional doc, “Anselm.” The three-time nominee of “Buena Vista Social Club” (1999), “Pina” (2011) and “The Salt of the Earth” (2015). This could be the overdue veteran’s year to get a trip to the Dolby Theatre stage.

He’ll face stiff competition with names like Lisa Cortes (“Little Richard: I Am Everything”), Errol Morris (“The Pigeon Tunnel”), Raoul Peck (“Silver Dollar Road”) and Roger Ross Williams (“Stamped From the Beginning”). And we’ll expect more to come down the line as well.

I’m keeping a close eye on the animated-documentary “They Shot the Piano Player” from Sony Pictures Classics, which comes from the filmmakers of “Chico & Rita.” Could it go the way of “Flee?” (Although it won’t be an official submission for best international feature)

There’s more to come.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.

The submission deadline for general categories is Nov. 18, 2023. Preliminary shortlist voting will begin on Dec. 18, with the results announced on Dec. 21. The voting period will run from Jan. 11-16, 2024, with the official nominations announcement on Jan. 23.

The 96th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 10.

***The list below is not final and will be updated throughout the awards season.


And the Predicted Nominees Are:


  1. American Symphony” (Netflix) — Matthew Heineman (director), Lauren Domino, Joedan Okun (producers)

  2. Anselm” (Janus/Sideshow) — Wim Wenders (director), Karsten Brünig (producers)

  3. The Pigeon Tunnel” (Apple Original Films) — Errol Morris (director), Simon Cornwell, Stephen Cornwell, Dominic Crossley-Holland, Steven Hathaway (producers)

  4. Little Richard: I Am Everything” (Magnolia Pictures) — Lisa Cortes (director, producer), Caryn Capotosto, Robert Friedman, Liz Yale Marsh (producers)

  5. They Shot the Piano Player” (Sony Pictures Classics) — Javier Mariscal, Fernando Trueba (directors), Cristina Huete (producer)


Next in Line


  1. Orlando, My Political Biography” (Janus Films/Sideshow) — Paul B. Preciado (director), Yaël Fogiel, Laetitia Gonzalez (producers)

  2. The Mission” (National Geographic) — Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss (directors, producers), Jonathan Chinn, Simon Chinn, Will Cohen (producers)

  3. 32 Sounds” (Abramorama) — Sam Green (director), Josh Penn, Thomas O. Kriegsmann (producers)

  4. The Eternal Memory” (MTV Documentary Films) — Maite Alberdi (director, producer), Rocío Jadue, Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín, Andrea Undurraga (producers)

  5. Silver Dollar Road” (Amazon Studios) — Raoul Peck (director, producer), Blair Foster, Rémi Grellety, Hébert Peck (producers)


Other Top-Tier Possibilities


  1. Stamped From the Beginning” (Netflix) — Roger Ross Williams (director, producer), Alia Payne, David Teague (producers)

  2. Kokomo City” (Magnolia Pictures) — D. Smith (director, producer), Bill Butler, Harris Doran (producer)

  3. 20 Days in Mariupol” (PBS)

  4. BS High” (HBO Documentary Films)

  5. High & Low: John Galliano” (Mubi)

  6. Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” (Apple Original Films)

  7. Every Body” (Focus Features)

  8. Occupied City” (A24)

  9. The Deepest Breath” (Netflix)

  10. Lakota Nation vs. United States” (IFC Films)


Also In Contention


  1. Bobi Wine: The People’s President” (National Geographic)

  2. In Viaggo: The Travels of Pope Francis” (Magnolia Pictures)

  3. Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West” (Gravitas Ventures)

  4. Black Ice” (Lionsgate)

  5. The League” (Magnolia Pictures)

  6. Nothing Lasts Forever” (Showtime)

  7. January 6th” (Discovery Channel)

  8. Joan Baez I Am a Noise” (Magnolia Pictures)

  9. Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, With David Letterman” (Disney+)

  10. The Lady Bird Diaries” (Hulu)

All Eligible Titles (Alphabetized by Studio)**


  • “Occupied City” (A24)

  • “Exposing Parchman” (A&E)

  • “32 Sounds” (Abramorama)

  • “Have You Got It Yet? The Story of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd” (Abramorama)

  • “Judy Blume Forever” (Amazon Studios)

  • “Reggie” (Amazon Studios)

  • “Silver Dollar Road” (Amazon Studios)

  • “Boom! Boom! The World vs. Boris Becker” (Apple Original Films)

  • “The Pigeon Tunnel” (Apple Original Films)

  • Stephen Curry: Underrated” (Apple Original Films)

  • “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” (Apple Original Films)

  • “Aurora’s Surise” (Bars Media Films)

  • “It’s Basic” (Blowback Productions)

  • “American Pain” (CNN)

  • “Chowchilla” (CNN)

  • “Against the Tide” (Deckert Distribution)

  • “January 6th” (Discovery Channel)

  • “Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, With David Letterman” (Disney+)

  • “Stan Lee” (Disney+)

  • “Who I Am Not” (Double 4 Studios)

  • “Into the Spotlight” (Double Life Films)

  • “Once Upon a Time in Uganda” (Drafthouse)

  • “King Coal” (Drexler Films)

  • “Finding Her Beat” (Emergence Pictures)

  • “The American Gladiators Documentary” (ESPN)

  • “Bullies of Baltimore” (ESPN)

  • “Jeanette Lee Vs.” (ESPN)

  • “Sam Now” (Film Movement)

  • “The Thief Collector” (FilmRise)

  • “Every Body” (Focus Features)

  • “Grandpa Was an Emperor” (Freestyle Digital Media)

  • “Out of the Ring” (Fuse)

  • “The New York Times Presents: The Legacy of J. Dilla” (FX)

  • “The New York Times Presents: The Crimes of Anthony Pellicano” (FX)

  • “Isolated Land: The Murder of Bruno and Dom” (Globoplay)

  • “The Holly” (Gravitas Ventures)

  • “Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West” (Gravitas Ventures)

  • “The Elephant 6 Recording Co.” (Greenwich Entertainment)

  • “In the Company of Rose” (Greenwich Entertainment)

  • “The Melt Goes on Forever: The Art and Times of David Hammons” (Greenwich Entertainment)

  • “Nam June Paik: Moon is the Oldest TV” (Greenwich Entertainment)

  • “Subject” (Greenwich Entertainment)

  • “1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed” (HBO Documentary Films)

  • “A Revolution on Canvas” (HBO Documentary Films)

  • “After the Bite” (HBO Documentary Films)

  • “BS High” (HBO Documentary Films)

  • “Donyale Luna: Supermodel” (HBO Documentary Films)

  • “Anthem” (Hulu)

  • “The Lady Bird Diaries” (Hulu)

  • “Jelly Roll: Save Me” (Hulu)

  • “The Disappearance of Shere Hite” (IFC Films)

  • “Lakota Nation vs. United States” (IFC Films)

  • “Orlando, My Political Biography” (Janus Films/Sideshow)

  • “Film, the Living Record of Our Memory” (Kino Lorber)

  • “Four Daughters” (Kino Lorber)

  • “Black Ice” (Lionsgate)

  • “A Compassionate Spy” (Magnolia Pictures)

  • “In Viaggo: The Travels of Pope Francis” (Magnolia Pictures)

  • “The Invisible Beauty” (Magnolia Pictures)

  • “Joan Baez I Am a Noise” (Magnolia Pictures)

  • “The League” (Magnolia Pictures)

  • “Kokomo City” (Magnolia Pictures)

  • “Little Richard: I Am Everything” (Magnolia Pictures)

  • “Periodical” (MSNBC)

  • “The Eternal Memory” (MTV Documentary Films)

  • “Pay or Die” (MTV Documentary Films)

  • “High & Low: John Galliano” (Mubi)

  • “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” (National Geographic)

  • “The Mission” (National Geographic)

  • “The Deepest Breath” (Netflix)

  • “Stamped From the Beginning” (Netflix)

  • “aka Mr. Chow” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • American Symphony” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “Anonymous Sister” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “Copa 71” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “Defiant” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “Hollywoodgate” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “Imagining the Indian: The Fight Against Native American Mascoting” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “To Kill a Tiger” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “Your Fat Friend” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “20 Days in Mariupol” (PBS)

  • “While We Watched” (POV)

  • “Beyond Utopia” (Roadside Attractions)

  • “All Up in the Biz” (Showtime)

  • “Nothing Lasts Forever” (Showtime)

  • “Personality Crisis: One Night Only” (Showtime)

  • “Carlos” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • “It Ain’t Over” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • “They Shot the Piano Player” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • “Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy” (Kino Lorber/Zeitgeist Films)

  • “Menus-Plaisirs Les Troisgros” (Zipporah)

2022 category winner: “Navalny” (CNN Films) — Daniel Roher, Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller and Shane Boris

** indicates an unconfirmed release date in 2023 or could campaign in the lead or supporting categories. All release dates are subject to change.

Oscars Predictions Categories

BEST PICTURE | DIRECTOR | BEST ACTOR | BEST ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | INTERNATIONAL FEATURE | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT

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The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners have been selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Seventeen branches are represented within the nearly 10,000-person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

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