The Rundown 2012: Documentary Feature / Documentary Short Subject

For our ninth Rundown article, the only two non-fiction categories at the Oscars. After the jump, you’ll find our winner and runner-up predictions for Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short Subject as well as general commentary about the race. Tomorrow, we’ll cover one of the year’s two categories with the most precursors going towards a single nominee.

Best Documentary Feature

Winner Predictions

  • 5 Broken Cameras
  • The Gatekeepers
  • How to Survive a Plague (O)
  • The Invisible War
  • Searching for Sugar Man (R) [New] (O)

Runner-Up Predictions

  • The Invisible War (R) [New] (R) [New]
  • Searching for Sugar Man (R) [New]

(color and symbol key at bottom of page)

Wesley Lovell: Music documentaries have never done well with the Oscars, especially ones that lack political commentary. Yet, Searching for Sugar Man seems to be the Documentary-of-the-Moment, having won nearly every major award in sight. Still, something about the film makes me uneasy in predicting smooth sailing to the award. Frequently in the past, the Academy’s voters, who have to view all of the nominees before submitting their votes, have surprised us by picking something that hadn’t been as significantly awarded previously, especially when the film has a strong political message. While there are no Taxis to the Dark Side this year, The Gatekeepers, How to Survive a Plague and The Invisible War all seem like solid beneficiares of such votes. However, with each appealing to different types of voters, Sugar Man should still come out on top.
Peter J. Patrick: This one is a tough call between the AIDS documentary, How to Survive a Plague; the inspiring search for a forgotten rock musician, Searching for Sugar Man; and the Israeli secrets documentary, The Gatekeepers.
Tripp Burton: Searching for Sugar Man has picked up the most precursors, and the audience-pleasing documentary should play just as well with the Academy. If the Oscars want a more politically meaningful film, they could go for any of the other four, though it would probably be The Invisible War, an expose of rape in the military.

Best Documentary Short Subject

Winner Predictions

  • Inocente
  • Kings Point (R) [New]
  • Mondays at Racine
  • Open Heart (O) [New] (O)
  • Redemption

Runner-Up Predictions

  • Inocente (O)
  • Mondays at Racine (R) [New]
  • Redemption (R) [New]

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Wesley Lovell: I see a lot of predictions for Inocente and Open Heart out there and I’m beginning to think Open Heart will take it. However, I can’t get the concept behind Mondays at Racine out of my head. I’ll give the edge to the heart-tugging Open Heart with Racine a possible spoiler.
Peter J. Patrick: I’ll take a shot in the dark and predict two shorts about the down and out will come out on top, with the elderly Florida widows and widowers of Kings Point beating out Redemption about men and women who survive by picking up and selling cans.
Tripp Burton: This category tends to favor heart-tugging emotions and uncontroversial political statements, so the African children receiving heart transplants in Open Heart seem to play right into the Academy’s sweet spot. Inocente has a lot of buzz around it, though, and could prove a dark horse to sneak in here.

KEY:

Appears on Three Lists
Appears on Two Lists

Wesley Lovell Peter Patrick Tripp Burton
(New) = New Prediction
(O) = Original, Post-Nomination Prediction
(R) = Rundown Series Prediction

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