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Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars from Film Awards Editor Clayton Davis. Following Academy Awards history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar predictions are updated regularly with the current year's contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. Eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and will be displayed next to revision date.

To see all the latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit THE COLLECTIVE.

2021 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

UPDATED: Oct. 22, 2020 (PRE-SEASON)

Totally Under Control” documents the COVID-19 pandemic and even as it still lingers, it hits like a ton of bricks. The election cycle could drive the conversation as well and that help or hurt the more political docs in the race.

† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible
†† = could be campaigned in lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories


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Courtesy of Sundance Institute / Steve Honigsbaum

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:

  1. "Totally Under Control" (Neon)
    Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan , Suzanne Hillinger

  2. "Boys State" (Apple TV Plus)
    Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss

  3. "John Lewis: Good Trouble" (Magnolia Pictures and Participant)
    Dawn Porter

  4. "Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution" (Netflix)
    James Lebrecht, Nicole Newnham

  5. "All In: The Fight for Democracy" (Amazon Studios)
    Lisa Cortes, Liz Garbus

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Courtesy of Netflix

NEXT IN LINE CONTENDERS:

  1. "Dick Johnson is Dead" (Netflix)
    Kirsten Johnson

  2. "Time" (Amazon Studios)
    Garrett Bradley

  3. "The Dissident" (Briarcliff Entertainment)
    Bryan Fogel

  4. "I Am Greta" (Hulu)
    Nathan Grossman

  5. "Gunda" (Neon)
    Anita Rehoff Larsen, Victor Kossakovsky

  6. "MLK/FBI" (IFC Films)
    Sam Pollard

  7. "Assassins" (Greenwich Entertainment)
    Ryan White

  8. "Rebuilding Paradise" (National Geographic Documentary Films)
    Ron Howard

  9. "Kingdom of Silence" (Showtime)
    Rick Rowley

  10. "Be Water" (ESPN)
    Bao Nguyen

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Courtesy of Toronto Film Festival

TOP-TIER AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  1. "The Velvet Underground" (Apple TV Plus)
    Todd Haynes

  2. "The Way I See It" (Focus Features)
    Dawn Porter

  3. "Collective" (Magnolia Pictures and Participant)
    Alexander Nanau

  4. "Belushi" (Showtime Documentary Films)
    R.J. Cutler

  5. "Giving Voice" (Netflix)
    James D. Stern, Fernando Villena

  6. "The Human Factor" (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Dror Moreh

  7. "The Truffle Hunters" (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw

  8. "A Thousand Cuts" (PBS Distribution and FRONTLINE PBS)
    Ramona S. Diaz

  9. "The Painter and the Thief" (Neon)
    Benjamin Ree, Ingvil Giske

  10. "Oliver Sacks: His Own Life" (Zeitgeist Films)
    Ric Burns

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Photo provided by Idle Wild Films

ALSO IN CONTENTION:

  1. "Belly of the Beast" (Idle Wild Films / PBS Independent Lens)
    Erika Cohn

  2. "Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry" (Apple TV Plus)
    R.J. Cutler

  3. "Miss Americana" (Netflix)
    Lana Wilson

  4. "Spaceship Earth" (Neon)
    Matt Wolf, Stacey Reiss

  5. "Through the Night" (Longshot Factory)
    Loira Limbal

  6. "Mr. Soul!" (Shoes in the Bed Productions)
    Melissa Haizlip, Sam Pollard

  7. "On the Record" (HBO Max)
    Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering

  8. "Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles" (IFC Films)
    Laura Gabbert

  9. "Feels Good Man" (Wavelength Productions)
    Giorgio Angelini & Arthur Jonesos

  10. "Skyblossoms: Diaries of the Next Greatest Generation" (Peacock)
    Richard Lui

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Exposure Labs/Netflix

MORE AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  1. "My Psychedelic Love Story" (Showtime)
    Errol Morris

  2. "Notturno" (No. U.S. Distribution)
    Gianfranco Rosi

  3. "Athlete A" (Netflix)
    Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk

  4. "The Fight" (Magnolia Pictures and Topic Media)
    Eli B. Despres, Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

  5. "Desert One" (HISTORY and Greenwich Entertainment)
    Barbara Kopple

  6. "Coded Bias" (7th Empire Media and PBS Independent Lens)
    Shalini Kantayya

  7. "Untitled 'WeWork' Documentary" (Hulu)
    Jed Rothstein

  8. "Welcome to Chechnya" (HBO Documentary Films)
    David France

  9. "#UNFIT: The Psychology of Donald Trump" (Dark Star Pictures)
    Dan Partland

  10. "Rewind" (Independent Lens)
    Sasha Neulinger

  11. "Finding Yingying" (MTV Films and Kartemquin Films)
    Diane Quon, Jiayan “Jenny” Shi

  12. "The Social Dilemma" (Netflix)
    Jeff Orlowski

  13. "Bedlam" (Independent Lens)
    Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, Peter Miller

  14. "Softie" (LBx Africa/POV)
    Sam Soko

  15. "Crazy, Not Insane" (HBO Documentary Films)
    Alex Gibney
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Disclosure Netflix

UNRANKED AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  • "9to5: The Story of a Movement" (No U.S. Distribution) – Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert
  • "76 Days" (No U.S. Distribution) – Weixi Chen, Hao Wu
  • "Apocalypse '45" (Discovery / Abramorama) – Erik Nelson
  • "Billie" (Greenwich Entertainment) – James Erskine
  • "Blood on the Wall" (National Geographic Documentary Films) – Sebastian Junger, Nick Quested
  • "Bruce Springsteen's A Letter to You" (Apple TV Plus) – Thom Zimny
  • "Coup 53" (Amirani) – Taghi Amirani, Paul Zaentz
  • "Crock of Gold" (Magnolia Pictures) – Julien Temple
  • "Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time" (Jindo Jazz) – Barbara Bentree
  • "Dear Santa" (IFC Films) – Dana Nachman
  • "Disclosure" (Netflix) – Sam Feder
  • "Kiss the Ground" (Big Picture Ranch) – Josh Tickell and Rebecca Tickell
  • "The Last Ice" (National Geographic Documentary Films) – Scott Ressler
  • "My Darling Vivian" (The Film Collaborative) – Matt Riddlehoover
  • "The Mole Agent" (Gravitas Ventures) – Maite Alberdi
  • "Olympia" (Abramorama) – Harry Mavromichalis, Sid Ganis
  • "Our Time Machine" (POV) – S. Leo Chiang, Yang Sun
  • "Planet of the Humans" (Rumble Media) – Jeff Gibbs
  • "Public Trust" (Patagonia Films) – David Garrett Byars
  • "The Reason I Jump" (Kino Lorber) – Jerry Rothwell
  • "Red Penguins" (Universal Pictures) – Gabe Polsky
  • "River City Drumbeat" (Argot Pictures) – Anne Flatté, Marlon Johnson
  • "Shawn Mendes: In Wonder" (Netflix) – Grant Singer
  • "Stray" (Magnolia Pictures) – Elizabeth Lo
  • "Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story" (Shout! Studios) – April Wright
  • "We Are the Radical Monarchs" (POV) – Linda Goldstein Knowlton
  • "Wuhan, Wuhan" (No U.S. Distribution) – Yung Chang, Gong Cheng

† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible
†† = could be campaigned in lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The TBD

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