Doc on disgraced former Congressman -- who is under FBI investigation -- competes for IDA's top prize
Note: this article has been updated with information on additional awards categories, plus photos
The International Documentary Association announced the nominees for its prestigious awards today, and one name came up that's been giving Democrats nightmares: Anthony Weiner.
The documentary Weiner, directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, earned one of six slots for the Best Feature Award, just a week before a presidential election in which Weiner's named has suddenly resurfaced.
Kriegman and Steinberg's film documents Weiner's ill-fated attempt at political rehabilitation when he ran for mayor of New York City in 2013, an effort that imploded when it came to light he had continued to engage in salacious flirtations online -- sometimes using the risible moniker "Carlos Danger." A sexting scandal had previously forced him to resign from Congress in 2011.
Weiner shows how the mayoral candidate's wife, Huma Abedin -- a close aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- stood beside her husband despite his sexting activities and disintegrating campaign. But Abedin finally announced her separation from Weiner in August of this year after yet another alleged sexting incident came to light.
Then came a report from the Daily Mail claiming Weiner had sent sexually suggestive texts to a 15-year-old girl, an allegation which attracted the attention of the FBI. Agents seized Weiner's laptop, tablet and cell phone as part of their investigation.
On Friday, in a much-criticized decision, FBI director James Comey announced new emails had surfaced that might bear on Clinton's use of a private email server while Secretary of State. Comey didn't disclose the source of those emails, but reports say they came from Weiner's laptop. As the New York Times put it in a headline on Sunday, "For Democrats, Anthony Weiner Makes an Unwelcome Return."
Weiner will face competition from five other documentaries -- three that focus on America's troubled history with race.
>Ava DuVernay's 13th examines the country's history of racial discrimination going back to passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude "except as punishment for a crime." The film demonstrates how that exception has been used to incarcerate African-Americans on a massive scale, in effect reconstituting slavery.
>I Am Not Your Negro, directed by Raoul Peck, explores race in America through the final work of the late writer James Baldwin, an unfinished book about the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Medgar Evers. The film won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
>OJ: Made in America, the monumental multi-part documentary by Ezra Edelman, has won acclaim for its intensely-researched examination of O.J. Simpson's trial for double murder. The 464-minute film situates the trial in the context of race relations -- both in the City of Los Angeles, where the trial took place, and in the nation generally.
Also in the running for the Best Feature Award is Kirsten Johnson's directorial debut, Cameraperson. The film from the renowned cinematographer is a meditation on the ethical dimensions of her work in such films as citizenfour, Fahrenheit 9/11, The Invisible War and many others.
Johnson is also nominated for the Best Short Award for her film The Above.
The sixth documentary in competition for the IDA's top award is Fire at Sea [Fuocoammare], directed by Gianfranco Rosi. His film takes place both on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa and off the coast where thousands of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East have been attempting to reach Europe. In the midst of the crisis, Fire at Sea captures the coming of age of a 12-year-old Lampedusan boy, whose experience bears mysteriously on the plight of the migrants.
In February, Fire at Sea became the first documentary to win the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.
The IDA Awards will be presented on Friday, December 9 in Los Angeles. Fire at Sea will go into the night already assured of at least one award. The IDA announced it will honor the film and director Rosi with the Best Cinematography prize.
Best Writing will go to the late James Baldwin and director Raoul Peck for I Am Not Your Negro. Nels Bangerter, who edited Kirsten's Johnson's Cameraperson, will receive the Best Editing prize.
Last year's IDA Awards drew an impressive crowd to the Paramount lot in Hollywood. Joshua Oppenheimer's film The Look of Silence earned the Best Feature Award in something of an upset over Amy, Asif Kapadia's documentary, which went on to win the Academy Award.
These are the directors in contention for the 2016 Best Feature Award.
The IDA presents awards in a variety of categories. Here are some of the other contenders:
Best Short Award
Director and Producer: Kirsten Johnson
Producer: Marilyn Ness
FIELD OF VISION
Clinica De Migrantes: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
Director: Maxim Pozdorovkin
Producer: Jenny Lim
Director and Producer: Dan Krauss
F/8 FILMWORKS LTD, NETFLIX
Director and Producer: Amy Nicholson
MYRTLE & OLIVE, OSCILLOSCOPE
Director: Billy Luther
Producers: Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato
WORLD OF WONDER PRODUCTIONS
The White Helmets
Director: Orlando von Einsiedel
Producer: Joanna Natasegara
Best Curated Series Award
Executive Producer: Nick Fraser
Executive Producer: Mette Hoffmann Meyer
Executive Producers: Sally Jo Fifer and Lois Vossen
Executive Producers: Leanne Ferrer and Leslie Wilcox
AMERICAN PUBLIC TELEVISION, PACIFIC ISLANDERS IN COMMUNICATIONS
Executive Producers: Justine Nagan and Chris White
Best Limited Series Award
Executive Producers: Sheri Salata, Jonathan Sinclair, David Shadrack Smith and Oprah Winfrey
OWN: OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK
Executive Producers: Alex Gibney, Stacey Offman, Michael Pollan and Caroline Suh
The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth
Executive Producers: Scott Boggins, Ken Druckerman, Mark Halperin, John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon and Banks Tarver
Co-Executive Producers: Ted Bourne and Mary Robertson
Making a Murderer
Executive Producers: Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi
Streets of Compton
Executive Producers: Brad Abramson, Elaine Frontain Bryant, Mark Ford, The Game, Alan Grunblatt, John Morayniss, Cash "Wack 100" Jones, Tara Long, Kevin Lopez and Shelly Tatro
ENTERTAINMENT ONE REALITY PRODUCTIONS, CREATURE FILMS FOR A&E
Best Episodic Series Award
Executive Producers: David Gelb, Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard, Brian McGinn and Matthew Weaver
The First 48
Executive Producers: Elaine Frontain Bryant, Laura Fleury, John X. Kim, Alexis Robie and Peter Tarshis
Co-Executive Producers: Joey Grossfield and Maija Norris
Last Chance U
Executive Producers: Joe LaBracio and Greg Whiteley
United Shades of America
Executive Producers: W. Kamau Bell, Jimmy Fox, Eli Holzman, Stephen Lambert, Star Price and Layla Smith
ALL3MEDIA AMERICA, CNN ORIGINAL SERIES, OBJECTIVE PRODUCTIONS USA
Woman with Gloria Steinem
Executive Producers: Spike Jonze, Nomi Ernst Leidner, Eddy Moretti, Amy Richards, Shane Smith, Gloria Steinem and Ariel Wengroff
VICE MEDIA FOR VICELAND
Best Short Form Series Award
Executive Producers: John Dahl, Libby Geist and Connor Schell
Executive Producer: Christer Fasmer
Field Of Vision
Executive Producers: Charlotte Cook, Laura Poitras and AJ Schnack
FIELD OF VISION
Executive Producers: Lisa Leingang, Adam Pincus and AJ Schnack
VANITY FAIR / VANITYFAIR.COM
The New York Times Op-Docs
Executive Producer: Kathleen Lingo
THE NEW YORK TIMES
ABC News VideoSource Award
[THIS AWARD IS GIVEN EACH YEAR FOR THE BEST USE OF NEWS FOOTAGE AS AN INTEGRAL COMPONENT IN A DOCUMENTARY]
Director: Ava DuVernay
I Am Not Your Negro
Director: Raoul Peck
The Lovers and the Despot
Director: Ross Adam and Robert Cannan
Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
Directors: Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack
PBS, AMERICAN MASTERS
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You
Directors: Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
LOKI FILMS, THIRTEEN/WNET, MUSIC BOX FILMS, PBS, AMERICAN MASTERS
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.