Movies about Amy Winehouse and Nina Simone are among five films vying for the best documentary feature Oscar at this Sunday’s Academy Award ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Nominees for the accolade gathered earlier this week to celebrate their success, including “Amy” director Asif Kapadia, whose film about the life of soul singer Amy Winehouse has picked up a number of awards already.
“I mean, I think it literally is the last one that is up for grabs, I guess, ” Kapadia said of the award. “It’s been a long journey and now it comes to a head this weekend.” “Amy” is available to stream on Amazon Prime’s video service.
“What Happened, Miss Simone?” — about legendary singer Nina Simone — is also in the running. What would Simone, who died in 2003, think of the nomination? “She would totally be down with it, she would say it’s about time” joked director Liz Gabus. “She would throw off her fur coat and just walk. She would be good.” producer Amy Hobbs added. The film is streaming on Netflix.
Hard news documentaries nominated in the category include “Cartel Land, ” which focuses on the Mexican drug war and vigilantism on the U.S. side of the border. “It’s great that this nomination can further put a spotlight on the suffering of the Mexican people, ” said director Matthew Heineman. “Cartel Land” is available to stream on several services, including iTunes and Google Play.
Another contender is “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, ” about the protests that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and intensified a showdown with Russia. “I was previously awarded by the president of Ukraine with a medal of honor last November and right now for them it was a surprise and they are proud because for them it’s also a portion of their history, ” explained director Evgeny Afineevsky. The film can be streamed on Netflix.
Also back in the running for an Oscar is Joshua Oppenheimer with “The Look of Silence, ” his follow-up to 2012’s “The Act of Killing.” The new film probes Indonesia’s mass killings of suspected leftists and ethnic Chinese in 1965-66.
“Two years ago, the nomination prompted the Indonesian government to acknowledge that the 1965 genocide was a crime against humanity and that there needs to be truth and there needs to be a process of re-conciliation, ” explained Oppenheimer. “Being back has allowed us to strategize from the beginning on how to take this conversation much farther.” “The Look of Silence” is available to stream from several services, including Amazon Video and Vudu.