Cartel Land, What Happened, Miss Simone? and Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom round out list up for Best Documentary Feature
Netflix claimed two of the five nominations for Best Documentary Feature this morning as the Oscar nominations were announced.
The What Happened, Miss Simone?, directed by Liz Garbus, and Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom, directed by Evgeny Afineevsky, both earned nominations, another feather in the cap for the streaming service.
What Happened, Miss Simone?, which premiered at Sundance last January, is the first documentary "commissioned" by Netflix.
As expected, Asif Kapadia's documentary Amy was among the nominees. The documentary about the late Amy Winehouse is the most-honored nonfiction film of the past year.
"Thank you to everyone who voted for AMY!" Kapadia wrote in a statement provided to nonfictionfilm.com. "This nomination is a recognition of the hard work for over three years put in by our producer extraordinaire James Gay Rees, our incredible Editor Chris King and the 100 plus contributors who had never spoken publicly before, but trusted in us to tell Amy's story."
And it was no surprise the Joshua Oppenheimer film The Look of Silence earned one of the five Best Documentary spots; it is second only to Amy in the number of critics awards it has received. The Look of Silence is the followup to Oppenheimer's 2012 film The Act of Killing, which also earned an Oscar nomination.
"It’s incredibly humbling to be nominated again with The Look of Silence," Oppenheimer wrote in a statement provided to EW.com. "We could not have made these films without our anonymous Indonesian crew, and our gentle protagonist, Adi Rukun, who risked their lives to share their story."
Matthew Heineman earned his first Oscar nomination for his documentary Cartel Land, a searing and visceral exploration of the drug war on both sides of the US-Mexico border. Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow executive-produced the film.
In the Documentary Short category the nominees are:
>Body Team 12, directed by David Darg, the story of courageous teams charged with disposing of bodies in the midst of the Ebola crisis in Liberia. Darg shot the film while wearing a hazmat suit and edited it in quarantine, according to the film's producer.
In a statement provided to nonfictionfilm.com Darg wrote, "We are humbled to be recognized with the nomination of the Academy Award. Body Team 12 is a tribute to the heroes who bravely worked to eradicate Ebola from Liberia."
>Chau, Beyond the Lines, directed by Courtney Marsh, a 33-minute film about a Vietnamese boy with severe birth defects caused by Agent Organge, who dreams of becoming an artist.
"This has been an unbelievable eight year journey for me," Marsh said in a statement provided exclusively to nonfictionfilm.com. "Finding Chau and getting to be a part of his life was not only one of the best experiences I have ever had, but I feel it is the experience that has changed me the most... I am hopeful that this nomination will give both the film and the issue of the lasting effects of Agent Orange broader exposure."
>Claude Lanzamann: Spectres of the Shoah, directed by Adam Benzine, a look at the making of Lanzmann's vital 1985 film Shoah.
>A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The story of a young woman in Pakistan who miraculously survived an attempted honor killing.
>Last Day of Freedom, directed by Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman. An animated short based on the recorded recollections of Bill Babbitt, whose brother Manny served in Vietnam, suffered PTSD and was later convicted of a killing and executed.
Hibbert-Jones and Talisman, who are partners on the film and in life, told nonfictionfilm.com they were watching the Oscar nomination announcement live this morning in the San Francisco Bay area, but they wound up learning more about traffic conditions than the Oscar race.
"We tuned into a TV station. We were totally waiting and then the network said that they were going to announce [the nominations] after the break," Talisman said. "But after the break the local station actually went into a traffic report and continued and continued and continued."
"It was actually very funny because there we are sitting there, and we have a young son too, and the three of us are sitting there in our pajamas watching basically ABC7 News reports for the traffic and we’re like, 'Wait, aren’t we supposed to hear from the Oscars?' And then people start calling us." Hibbert-Jones said.
"The first person to call was my sister who was actually watching in Jerusalem… And she said, ‘Everyone was rooting for you. We’re so excited!’ I didn’t even know [we had been nominated] yet."
There was more good news for documentaries in the Best Song category. Two of the five slots went to tunes from nonfiction films.
The song "Manta Ray" from Racing Extinction earned an Oscar nomination for composer J. Ralph and lyricist Antony Hegarty.
"'Til It Happens To You," a song from Kirby Dick's documentary The Hunting Ground, scored an Oscar nomination for Diane Warren and Lady Gaga, who shared credit for writing and composing.
It's been quite a week for Gaga. First she won a Golden Globe for her work on American Horror Story: Hotel, then she got the Oscar nomination.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.