The Rundown 2013: Documentary Feature & Short Subject

For our ninth Rundown article, we look at real life categories that cover real life stories. After the jump, you’ll find our winner and runner-up predictions for Best Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short Subject as well as general commentary about the race. Thursday, we’ll cover one of two lead acting categories.

Best Documentary Feature

Winner Predictions

  • 20 Feet from Stardom (WL R) [New] (TB O)
  • The Act of Killing (PP O)
  • Cutie and the Boxer
  • Dirty Wars
  • The Square

Runner-Up Predictions

  • 20 Feet from Stardom (PP O)
  • The Act of Killing (WL R)
  • The Square (TB O)

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Wesley Lovell: It’s a whole new world in the documentary, short film and foreign language film categories this year. This is the first time the Academy has sent screeners of all nominees in these categories, eliminating the “must see all five in the theater” rule that has led to some bizarre winners in the past. Presumably this diversifies the results and allows a broader consensus on the selection. However, the only voters likely to have a chance to watch them all are likely retired or between jobs, which may lead to a more populist streak in this category than has been previously witnessed. That makes The Act of Killing, the presumptive frontrunner based on precursors, a tougher sell. 20 Feet from Stardom may be the best beneficiary of this new climate. The film has earned plenty of praise and its accessible, highlighting a frequently ignored component of the music industry. Add in heart-warming narrative and you have a possible victor. Of course, the dominance of political documentaries in these categories could give Dirty Wars an opportunity, but I’d be more supportive of that idea had it come from a better known documentarian.
Peter J. Patrick: This award usually goes to the most serious film among the nominees, but you can’t rule out an a heartfelt show biz tribute as a spoiler.
Tripp Burton: As this category expands and allows all members to vote for the award off of screeners (without having to prove they have seen all the nominees), you have to imagine that the most accessible of the films will take the prize. That means that, like Searching for Sugar Man, the heart-warming music documentary will take the prize here. If voters want to be bolder, though, my guess is that they will go for the first person look at the Egyptian revolution over critic’s darling The Act of Killing.

Best Documentary Short Subject

Winner Predictions

  • CaveDigger
  • Facing Fear (PP R) [New]
  • Karama Has No Walls
  • The Lady in Number 6 (WL O) (TB O)
  • Prison Terminal

Runner-Up Predictions

  • CaveDigger (PP R) [New]
  • Facing Fear (WL R) [New] (TB O)

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Wesley Lovell: I know very little about these nominees, but based on premise alone, The Lady in No. 6 seems like a strong contender. Yet, any of the others could possibly win. This category just isn’t my strong suit in terms of predicting.
Peter J. Patrick: Just guessing, I really have no idea on this one.
Tripp Burton: The old adage goes that you never vote against a Holocaust documentary, and The Lady in Number 6 (telling the story of the oldest living survivor) shouldn’t let us down in that category. I think the only thing that could upset it is the gay rights drama Facing Fear, which could find itself more pertinent to voters today.


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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