It's that time of year — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says 15 films are now under consideration for the Oscar for the best documentary feature. The shortlist was selected in preliminary voting by members of the Academy's documentary branch. Five nominees will be selected and announced with the rest of the Oscar nominations on January 16.
In the past, the Oscar's documentary picks have been the subject of criticism and contention, but this year the Academy has selected a full slate of well-known and well-liked films. Some have groused that critical favorites like Leviathan, After Tiller, the casting director advocacy piece Casting By, and Frederick Wiseman's latest, At Berkeley, didn't make the cut. But those docs weren't as widely seen as many of the ones that did make the cut. As distributor Roadside Attractions pointed out on Twitter after the titles were announced, five of them can be seen on the HBO Go on-demand service right now. With that in mind, we've done our best to locate streaming or home-video sources for each movie on the list for those who are hoping to catch up, surveying their availability on Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, iTunes, and/or Netflix.
And please note that the filmmakers behind two of the shortlisted titles were interviewed earlier this year by StudioDaily contributor Steve Erickson: The Act of Killing co-director Joshua Oppenheimer and Stories We Tell director Sarah Polley.
Here are the 15 documentary films on the shortlist for an Oscar nomination:
The Act of Killing (in theaters; DVD and Blu-ray release January 7)
The Armstrong Lie (in theaters)
Blackfish (available on Netflix December 12)
The Crash Reel (available on HBO Go)
Cutie and the Boxer (available for rent or purchase via iTunes and Amazon Instant Video)
Dirty Wars (available for rent or purchase via iTunes and Amazon Instant Video)
First Cousin Once Removed (available on HBO Go)
God Loves Uganda (in theaters)
Life According to Sam (available on HBO Go)
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (available on HBO Go)
The Square (in theaters; available exclusively on Netflix early in 2014)
Stories We Tell (available on DVD, Amazon Instant Video, and iTunes)
Tim's Vermeer (on the festival circuit; scheduled for release through Sony Pictures Classics in 2014)
20 Feet from Stardom (available on iTunes December 17; on DVD and Blu-ray January 14)
Which Way is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington (available on HBO Go)