(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)
The staggering number of quality documentary features this year has been well-covered here and elsewhere. When the Academy made its inevitable cuts in the finalists stage, as usual, a great many gems were left off. But one couldn't argue with that slate of 15, a truly monumental set of contenders for the most part. And yet, one film has stood out as the frontrunner since it bowed at Sundance over a year ago.
The documentary features were sent to the entire voting membership of the Academy this year, along with the live action and animated shorts. That wider pool could change how one typically picks this race, but it really just means that popularity will reign supreme. And the film leading the charge this year is nothing if not popular.
The nominees are…