The winner will be announced at 69th Annual DGA Awards on Feb. 4 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The DGA will announce the feature film nominees on Thursday.
It’s the first DGA nomination for all the nominated directors, who include Otto Bell for “The Eagle Huntress,” Ezra Edelman for “O.J.: Made in America,” Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg for “Weiner,” Raoul Peck for “I Am Not Your Negro” and Roger Ross Williams for “Life Animated.”
All five films were shortlisted last month by the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its documentary feature award. AMPAS will announce its nominations on Jan. 24.
Sony Pictures Classics bought “The Eagle Huntress” after its Sundance premiere and released the film on Nov. 2. It’s grossed $2.5 million in limited release since then.
The film is the story of a 13-year-old Mongolian girl named Aisholpan attempting to be the first female eagle hunter in her country. It’s narrated by executive producer Daisy Ridley.
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“O.J.: Made in America” won the top feature award last month from the International Documentary Association. It’s produced and directed by Ezra Edelman for ESPN Films and its “30 for 30” series. “Made in America” premiered at Sundance and was released in theaters in May before airing on ABC and ESPN.
“Life, Animated” is produced by Julie Goodman and Roger Ross Williams for A&E IndieFilms. Williams won the directing award in the U.S. Documentary category at last year’s Sundance Film Festival for his story about coming-of-age story about Owen Suskind, who ceased speaking at 3 years old and found in Disney animation a pathway to language and a framework for making sense of the world.
“I Am Not Your Negro” is based on James Baldwin’s manuscript for “Remember This House” as an account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends — Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin had completed 30 pages at the time of his death in 1987.
“Weiner” looks at former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s life following his high-profile sexting scandal, focusing on his 2013 run for Mayor of New York City.
Matthew Heineman won the DGA’s documentary award last year for “Cartel Land,” centered on the Mexican drug war.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced 15 films on Dec. 6 as finalists for the Best Documentary Oscar: “Cameraperson,” “Command and Control,” “The Eagle Huntress,” “Fire at Sea,” “Gleason,” “Hooligan Sparrow,” “I Am Not Your Negro,” “The Ivory Game,” “Life, Animated,” “O.J.: Made in America,” “13th,” “Tower,” “Weiner,” “The Witness” and “Zero Days.”