2016 Award Contenders: Documentary

by IMDb-Editors | created - 13 Oct 2016 | updated - 20 Oct 2016 | Public
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1. 13th (2016)

TV-MA | 100 min | Documentary, Crime, News

88 Metascore

An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.

Director: Ava DuVernay | Stars: Melina Abdullah, Michelle Alexander, Cory Booker, Dolores Canales

Votes: 20,515

2. O.J.: Made in America (2016)

TV-MA | 467 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

A chronicle of the rise and fall of O.J. Simpson, whose high-profile murder trial exposed the extent of American racial tensions, revealing a fractured and divided nation.

Director: Ezra Edelman | Stars: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mike Albanese, Muhammad Ali, Marcus Allen

Votes: 15,424

3. Cameraperson (2016)

Not Rated | 102 min | Documentary

86 Metascore

Exposing her role behind the camera, Kirsten Johnson reaches into the vast trove of footage she has shot over decades around the world. What emerges is a visually bold memoir and a revelatory interrogation of the power of the camera.

Director: Kirsten Johnson | Stars: Jacques Derrida, Kirsten Johnson, Roger Phenix

Votes: 1,976 | Gross: $0.10M

4. Fire at Sea (2016)

114 min | Documentary

87 Metascore

Capturing life on the Italian island of Lampedusa, a frontline in the European migrant crisis.

Director: Gianfranco Rosi | Stars: Samuele Pucillo, Mattias Cucina, Samuele Caruana, Pietro Bartolo

Votes: 4,996 | Gross: $0.11M

5. Gleason (2016)

R | 110 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

After he is diagnosed with ALS, former professional football player Steve Gleason begins making a video diary for his unborn son, as he, his wife, and their friends and family work to raise money for ALS patients as his disease progresses.

Director: Clay Tweel | Stars: Steve Gleason, Mike Gleason, Scott Fujita, Mike McKenzie

Votes: 2,247 | Gross: $0.58M

6. Life, Animated (2016)

PG | 92 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

75 Metascore

A coming of age story about a boy and his family who overcame great challenges by turning Disney animated movies into a language to express love, loss, kinship and brotherhood.

Director: Roger Ross Williams | Stars: Owen Suskind, Ron Suskind, Cornelia Suskind, Walter Suskind

Votes: 5,191 | Gross: $0.24M

7. Tickled (2016)

R | 92 min | Documentary, Mystery

76 Metascore

Journalist David Farrier stumbles upon a mysterious tickling competition online. As he delves deeper he comes up against fierce resistance, but that doesn't stop him getting to the bottom of a story stranger than fiction.

Directors: David Farrier, Dylan Reeve | Stars: David Farrier, Dylan Reeve, David Starr, Kevin Clarke

Votes: 14,358 | Gross: $0.61M

8. Tower (2016)

TV-14 | 82 min | Documentary, Animation, Crime

92 Metascore

Animation, testimony, and archival footage combine to relate the events of August 1, 1966 when a gunman opened fire from the University of Texas clock tower, killing 16 people.

Director: Keith Maitland | Stars: Violett Beane, Louie Arnette, Blair Jackson, Monty Muir

Votes: 6,710 | Gross: $0.09M

9. Weiner (2016)

R | 96 min | Documentary

84 Metascore

An examination of disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner's mayoral campaign and today's political landscape.

Directors: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg | Stars: Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, Jordan Zain Weiner, Barbara Morgan

Votes: 9,181 | Gross: $1.61M

10. The Witness (I) (2015)

89 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

79 Metascore

The brother of Kitty Genovese investigates the circumstances of her murder and the truth of the story that dozens of locals witnessed the crime and did nothing to intervene.

Director: James D. Solomon | Stars: William Genovese, Shannon Beeby, Kitty Genovese, Catherine Pelonero

Votes: 3,686

11. The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years (2016)

Unrated | 106 min | Documentary, Music

72 Metascore

A compilation of found footage featuring music, interviews, and stories of The Beatles' 250 concerts from 1963 to 1966.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: The Beatles, John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney

Votes: 10,010 | Gross: $2.93M

12. Hooligan Sparrow (2016)

Not Rated | 84 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

78 Metascore

State surveillance. Harassment. Imprisonment. Human rights activist Ye Haiyan, AKA Sparrow, knew she faced these risks when she went to Hainan Province to seek justice for six elementary ... See full summary »

Director: Nanfu Wang | Stars: Ye Haiyan, Huang, Wang Jianfen, Tang Jitian

Votes: 337

13. The Eagle Huntress (2016)

G | 87 min | Documentary, Adventure, Sport

72 Metascore

Thirteen-year-old Aisholpan trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her nomad family to become an eagle huntress.

Director: Otto Bell | Stars: Aisholpan Nurgaiv, Daisy Ridley, Rys Nurgaiv

Votes: 3,175 | Gross: $3.17M

14. Off the Rails (I) (2016)

TV-14 | 86 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

How one man's love of transport led to a lifetime of incarceration.

Director: Adam Irving | Stars: Charles Bilal, Courtney Brown, Sally Butler, Jervis Cameron

Votes: 232

15. Audrie & Daisy (2016)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary

73 Metascore

A look at the effects that online bullying has on the lives of teenagers and their community.

Directors: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk | Stars: Robin Bourland, Daisy Coleman, Charles Coleman, Melinda Coleman

Votes: 4,763

16. Amanda Knox (2016)

TV-MA | 92 min | Documentary, Crime

78 Metascore

American exchange student Amanda Knox is convicted and eventually acquitted for the 2007 death of another student in Italy.

Directors: Rod Blackhurst, Brian McGinn | Stars: Amanda Knox, Meredith Kercher, Raffaele Sollecito, Giuliano Mignini

Votes: 17,940

17. Before the Flood (2016)

PG | 96 min | Documentary

63 Metascore

A look at how climate change affects our environment and what society can do to prevent the demise of endangered species, ecosystems and native communities across the planet.

Director: Fisher Stevens | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ki-moon Ban, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mike Brune

Votes: 24,160

18. Holy Hell (2016)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary

64 Metascore

An inside look at a West Hollywood cult formed by a charismatic teacher in the 1980s that eventually imploded.

Director: Will Allen | Stars: Will Allen, Dimitrius Pulido, Phillipe Coquet, David Christopher

Votes: 4,199 | Gross: $0.02M

19. Into the Inferno (2016)

104 min | Documentary

76 Metascore

An exploration of active volcanoes around the world.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Katia Krafft, Maurice Krafft, Clive Oppenheimer

Votes: 5,883

20. Jim: The James Foley Story (2016)

TV-MA | 111 min | Documentary, Biography

73 Metascore

An in-depth look at the life and work of American journalist James Foley, who was killed by ISIS terrorists in 2014.

Director: Brian Oakes | Stars: James Foley, Unai Aranzadi, Zac Baillie, Manu Brabo

Votes: 1,287

21. Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (2016)

TV-MA | 108 min | Documentary, Biography

75 Metascore

An examination of the life and work of the revered and controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

Directors: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato | Stars: Nancy Rooney, Harry Mapplethorpe, George Stack, Robert Mapplethorpe

Votes: 1,132

22. Rats (II) (2016)

Not Rated | 84 min | Documentary, Horror

62 Metascore

A history of rat infestations in major cities throughout the world.

Director: Morgan Spurlock | Stars: Ed Sheehan, Bobby Corrigan, Dr. Michael Blum

Votes: 1,349

23. Everything Is Copy (2015)

TV-14 | 89 min | Documentary, Biography

88 Metascore

A look at the life and work of writer/filmmaker Nora Ephron.

Directors: Jacob Bernstein, Nick Hooker | Stars: Tom Hanks, Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg

Votes: 626

24. Mavis! (2015)

TV-14 | 80 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

71 Metascore

Her family group, the Staple Singers, inspired millions and helped propel the civil rights movement with their music. After 60 years of performing, legendary singer Mavis Staples' message of love and equality is needed now more than ever.

Director: Jessica Edwards | Stars: Mavis Staples, Jeff Tweedy, Adam Ayres, Donny Gerrard

Votes: 290

25. My Beautiful Broken Brain (2014)

86 min | Documentary, Biography

MY BEAUTIFUL BROKEN BRAIN is 34 year old Lotje Sodderland's personal voyage into the complexity, fragility and wonder of her own brain following a life changing hemorrhagic stroke. ... See full summary »

Directors: Sophie Robinson, Lotje Sodderland | Stars: David Lynch, Sophie Robinson, Hente Sodderland, Jan Sodderland

Votes: 1,830

26. Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four (2016)

91 min | Documentary

67 Metascore

A documentary that follows the struggle for exoneration of four Latina lesbians who were wrongfully convicted of gang rape against two young girls.

Director: Deborah S. Esquenazi

Votes: 307

27. Team Foxcatcher (2016)

TV-14 | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

Documentary filmmaker Jon Greenhalgh examines the life of Dave Schultz, a professional wrestler who was part of 'Team Foxcatcher', funded by multi-millionaire John du Pont.

Director: Jon Greenhalgh | Stars: Dan Chaid, John du Pont, Dave Schultz, Mark Schultz

Votes: 4,114

28. The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth (2016– )

TV-14 | 30 min | Documentary

Come one, come all to THE CIRCUS: INSIDE THE GREATEST POLITICAL SHOW ON EARTH. This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the 2016 presidential race, revealing the intense, inspiring... See full summary »

Stars: John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon, Mark Halperin, Alex Wagner

Votes: 593

29. The Eighties (2016)

Documentary, History

A documentary series focusing on the Reagan presidency, the AIDS crisis, the end of the Cold War, Wall Street corruption, the tech boom, the expansion of television, and the evolving music industry.

Stars: H.W. Brands, Chris Connelly, Gil Troy, James Baker III

Votes: 987

30. The Hunt (II) (2015)

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary

The fascinating relationship between predators and their prey, and the strategies predators use to catch their food and prey use to escape death.

Stars: David Attenborough, Damien Boisseau

Votes: 3,252

31. Jackie Robinson (2016– )

TV-PG | 240 min | Documentary, Biography

Documentary chronicles the personal and professional life of Jackie Robinson from his birth in 1919 to his death in 1972. Robinson's rise from humble beginnings to became an American hero and pivotal figure in American history are detailed.

Stars: Keith David, Jamie Foxx

Votes: 330

32. Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music (2016)

Documentary, History, Music

Soundbreaking explores the history of recorded music. Featuring more than 150 original interviews, the series charts a century's worth of innovation and experimentation, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the birth of brand new sounds.

Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Todd Boyd, Ahmir-Khalib Thompson, Don Was

Votes: 1,060

33. 30 for 30 (2009– )

60 min | Documentary, Biography, History

ESPN Films' 30 for 30 is an unprecedented documentary series featuring today's finest storytellers from inside and outside of the sports world. What started as a celebration of ESPN's 30th ... See full summary »

Stars: Ice Cube, Dick Vitale, Brent Musburger, Mike Tyson

Votes: 3,835

34. Frontline (1983– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Documentary

Investigative journalist documentaries.

Stars: Will Lyman, Sarah Childress, Arun Rath, Priyanka Boghani

Votes: 1,420

35. Last Chance U (2016– )

TV-MA | 55 min | Documentary, Sport

Intense look inside the world of junior college football, chronicling the stories of players and coaches in the classroom and on the field.

Stars: Ron Ollie, John III Franklin, Buddy Stephens, Brittany Wagner

Votes: 5,126

36. Morgan Spurlock Inside Man (2013– )

60 min | Documentary, Reality-TV

CNN and Morgan Spurlock investigate intriguing topics of our times by digging deep to learn how the real story unfolds from the inside.

Stars: Morgan Spurlock, Paul Debevec, C.J. Ferroni, Navi Ganancial

Votes: 384

37. P.O.V. (1988– )

Documentary

POV, a cinema term for "point of view," is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. Since 1988, POV has presented more than 300 of the best, boldest and most... See full summary »

Stars: Angela Davis, Deann Borshay, Peter Dinklage, Mohamed Bangura

Votes: 138

38. This Is Life with Lisa Ling (2014– )

Documentary

Award-winning journalist and former co-host of The View Lisa Ling goes on a gritty, breathtaking journey to far corners of America.

Stars: Lisa Ling, Jex Blackmore, Nick Isel, Jonathan Peacy

Votes: 292

39. 30 for 30 (2009– )
Episode: Fantastic Lies (2016)

102 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A documentary examination of the accusations of sexual misconduct against the Duke University lacrosse team that were ultimately found to be baseless

Director: Marina Zenovich | Stars: Joe Alleva, Bradley Bannon, Bill Bell, Richard H. Brodhead

Votes: 821

40. Dark Horse (2015)

PG | 85 min | Documentary, Drama

75 Metascore

An inspirational true story of a group of friends from a working men's club who decide to take on the elite 'sport of kings' and breed themselves a racehorse

Director: Louise Osmond | Stars: Jan Vokes, Howard Davies, Brian 'Daisy' Vokes, Angela Davies

Votes: 926

41. Keepers of the Game (2016)

82 min | Documentary

Lacrosse was born in Akwesasne Mohawk Territory as a sacred game, traditionally reserved for men. Just off the reservation at Salmon River High in Fort Covington, NY an all-Native girls ... See full summary »

Director: Judd Ehrlich | Stars: Tsiotenhariio Herne, Jacelyn Lazore, Mimi Lazore, Marcella Thomas

Votes: 54

42. Gimme Danger (2016)

R | 108 min | Documentary, Music

72 Metascore

An in-depth look at the legendary punk band, The Stooges.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Iggy Pop, Jim Jarmusch, Bob Waller, The Stooges

Votes: 4,268 | Gross: $0.44M

43. Miss Sharon Jones! (2015)

Unrated | 93 min | Documentary, Music

77 Metascore

Miss Sharon Jones: Dreams never expire but sometimes they are deferred. Miss Sharon Jones follows the talented and gregarious soul singer of the Grammy nominated R&B band "Sharon Jones and ... See full summary »

Director: Barbara Kopple | Stars: Sharon Jones, Starr Duncan-Lowe, Binky Griptite, Megan Holken

Votes: 504 | Gross: $0.12M

44. The Music of Strangers (2015)

PG-13 | 96 min | Documentary, Music

70 Metascore

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and other international artists of The Silk Road Project discuss their philosophies on music and culture.

Director: Morgan Neville | Stars: Yo-Yo Ma, Kinan Azmeh, Kayhan Kalhor, Cristina Pato

Votes: 611 | Gross: $1.16M

45. Presenting Princess Shaw (2015)

Not Rated | 83 min | Documentary, Music

77 Metascore

A documentary on the collaborative relationship between New Orleans based songwriter/YouTube star Samantha Montgomery and composer/video artist Ophir Kutiel.

Director: Ido Haar | Stars: Kutiman, Samantha Montgomery

Votes: 504 | Gross: $0.06M

46. We Are X (2016)

R | 93 min | Documentary, Music

64 Metascore

A documentary film about the legendary Japanese rock band X JAPAN.

Director: Stephen Kijak | Stars: Yoshiki, Hiroshi Morie, Sugizo, Toshimitsu Deyama

Votes: 806 | Gross: $0.05M

47. Kate Plays Christine (2016)

Not Rated | 112 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

75 Metascore

Actress Kate Lyn Sheil prepares to portray the role of Christine Chubbuck, a real-life news reporter who took her own life on national television in 1974.

Director: Robert Greene | Stars: Steven C. Bovio, Christine Chubbuck, Stephanie Coatney, Michael Ray Davis

Votes: 826

48. Nuts! (I) (2016)

Unrated | 79 min | Documentary, Animation

82 Metascore

The mostly true story of Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, an eccentric genius who built an empire with his goat-testicle impotence cure and a million-watt radio station.

Director: Penny Lane | Stars: Gene Tognacci, Andy Boswell, John Causby, Kelly Mizell

Votes: 631