“Dancer,” “The Eagle Huntress,” “Life, Animated,” “O.J.: Made in America” and “Tower” have been nominated by the Producers Guild of America as the best-produced documentaries of 2016, the PGA announced on Tuesday.
While the Producers Guild Awards are typically one of the most reliable predictors of Oscar success for narrative features, they are notably idiosyncratic and unreliable at predicting the Academy’s documentary category. Over the past five years, only five of the 26 PGA doc nominees have gone on to receive Oscar nominations, with three of those (“Amy,” “Searching for Sugar Man” and “Inside Job”) winning the Oscar.
The PGA nominee “O.J.: Made in America,” Ezra Edelman’s seven-and-a-half-hour chronicle of the Simpson trial, had a brief theatrical run as a single film and then aired on ESPN’s “30 for 30” series in five parts. It is one of the five documentaries that have fared best with the two main bodies that honor nonfiction filmmaking, the International Documentary Association and the Cinema Eye Honors.
The others, none of which were nominated by the Producers Guild, are “Cameraperson,” “Fire at Sea,” “I Am Not Your Negro” and “Weiner.”
Three of the PGA nominees have had a high profile this awards season. They are Roger Ross Williams’ “Life, Animated,” the story of an autistic boy who learned to communicate through watching Disney’s animated classics; Keith Maitland’s “Tower,” a reconstruction of the 1966 sniper shootings at the University of Texas, which blends historical footage with animated sequences; and Otto Bell’s “The Eagle Huntress,” the spectacularly beautiful story of a young Kazakh girl who wants to join what was previously an all-male profession.
“Dancer,” Steven Cantor’s film about Ukrainian ballet dancer Sergei Polunin, is the least known of the five nominees.
Other Producers Guild Awards nominations will be announced on January 5 for television and digital categories, and January 10 for film categories.
The 28th Annual Producers Guild Awards will take place on January 28 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.