Oscar Shortlist Revealed for Best Documentary Feature

It’s the time of year when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences releases its Oscar shortlists, and the Best Documentary Feature shortlist is now available with a wide swath of different nonfiction features, led by popular hits Apollo 11, Maiden, and American Factory.

Here are the 15 films that made the cut:

  • Maiden
  • Apollo 11
  • American Factory
  • For Sama
  • The Cave
  • Honeyland
  • One Child Nation
  • The Great Hack
  • The Edge of Democracy
  • The Biggest Little Farm
  • Midnight Family
  • Knock Down the House
  • The Apollo
  • Advocate
  • Aquarela

Now, the race is officially on. Having seen three of the films, I could easily see Apollo 11 or American Factory make it to the nominations, but while The Biggest Little Farm is an important film, I don’t know if it has the ability to cross that nomination barrier and make it to awards night.

Right now, I see the five being Apollo 11, Maiden, American Factory, One Child Nation, and The Great Hack, but I’m also not as versed in documentaries at the Oscars as others. TIme will tell.

So what do you think? Have you seen any of these documentaries and, if so, what films do you see making the cut? Let me know/Drop a comment below!


-Kyle A. Goethe

Apollo 11 (2019)

Director: Todd Douglas Miller

Cast: Buzz Aldrin, Janet Armstrong, Neil Armstrong

93 mins. Rated G.


Especially after seeing First Man, I thought I understood the Apollo 11 mission perfectly. That was, until I saw Apollo 11.

Apollo 11 is a documentary comprised of tons of footage of the famous manned mission to the moon. A lot of this footage has never been publically available until now. Director Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13, Scaring the Fish) has meticulously assembled, with an incredible team, a narrative from this footage, detailing the entire mission from moments before liftoff to the first step on the moon and then the return.

I don’t need to overly-detail what this doc is about because I think you’ll get it. What’s so fascinating about it is how engaging the film is. Everyone knows this story, right? I do, and yet, in a packed theater with tons of other people, many of which I would assume were actually alive during this time, and we were all enthralled with the story. Miller does something fascinating with his storytelling that made me forget that I knew exactly what was going to happen. I was looking at the screen, searching for details to further unearth, and I couldn’t look away.

This is a documentary worth looking at behind the scenes as well. I did a little research and discovered some of the making of material, and it’s incredible to see the rules adhered to by the creative team in trying to make every specific detail true and correct to factual events. The score for the film was completed only with instruments available in 1969 and all the footage is accurate except where expressly noted. Every attempt was made to make this film accessible as though we were watching it in 1969 itself, and that’s an incredible feat all it’s own.

Apollo 11 is a spectacular behind-the-scenes doc about one of the most incredible human acts in history. It gives its audience the ability to re-experience the moon landing all over again, and what an experience it is. If you are still capable of seeing this one at an IMAX theater, do so. Now.



-Kyle A. Goethe

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