Oscar Predictions For Best Documentary Showcase A Tougher Race Than You Think

Documentaries tend to be one of those things that you either love or hate, like country music or cilantro. That being the case, the Best Documentary category at the Academy Awards is typically met with varying levels of enthusiasm. But even if you're not normally a documentary fan, there were several amazing films this year that might be enough to make you get excited about the category. The Oscar predictions for Best Documentary nominees are only heresay as of now, but there are already some clear favorites.

As with every awards shows, there will likely be some movies that get more attention because they're about trendy topics or because they're more widely publicized. Others (often those with smaller budgets and less industry connections) won’t take off in the same way. But that shouldn’t disqualify the lesser known movies from a spot in your Netflix queue; if anything, it’s all the more motivation to hunt them down. So here are some of the documentaries from the past year that are worth taking note of, including some that are definitely on the road to Oscar glory, some that might be in the running for a nomination, and some that might just fly under the radar.

The Frontrunner: Amy

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The Scoop: The documentary about Amy Winehouse is a major contender in this category, sitting at the top of most predictions lists. However, although the doc received rave reviews from many critics, it was considered by some to be exploitative of the deceased singer, according to The Guardian. It's also notable that Winehouse's own family chose to distance themselves from the project, which they felt was misleading.

The Crowd Sweetheart: He Called Me Malala

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The Scoop: The subject of this film is Malala Yousafzai, the activist who survived an attempt on her life and became the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. It may seem a likely nominee based on the global respect and admiration of Yousafazi, but critic Christy Lemere for RogerEbert.com called the film a disappointment, stating that she wished it had "dug deeper" into the feelings of its subject.

The Underdog: Meru

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The Scoop: This incredible story about three mountain climbers' attempts to scale an infamous peak in India may stand a chance at Oscar glory. It will also make you feel like a serious wimp for that time you chickened out of parasailing.

The Hidden Gem: The Wolfpack

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The Scoop: this film actually isn't eligible for an Oscar, as it didn't make the short list for consideration. But that doesn't change the fact that this was one of the best (in my humble opinion) documentaries of 2015, and with a female director to boot. Crystal Moselle's film about the unusual story of the Angulo brothers won the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and is now available to stream on Netflix.

No matter what your taste, there's likely to be at least one film in the running for Best Documentary that will catch your interest and hold it. Take a look at all of the films currently up for one of the five coveted slots, and don't be afraid to venture off the list to check out some of the other fantastic documentaries that came out in 2015.