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Documentary Oscar nominees: What research topics are featured in this year’s Academy Awards?

"20 Feet from Stardom" is up for Best Documentary Feature at the 86th Academy Awards. (Credit: RADiUS-TWC)

“20 Feet from Stardom” is up for Best Documentary Feature at the 86th Academy Awards. (Credit: RADiUS-TWC)

Documentaries have a long and sordid history with the Academy Awards. It’s a highly contested category, and the rules of Oscar nominees’ eligibility have changed a number of times. This year, topics include genocide (“The Act of Killing”), backup singers for pop stars (“20 Feet from Stardom”), the toppling of the Egyptian government (“The Square”), the artist marriage of the Shinoharas (“Cutie and the Boxer”) and U.S. covert operations (“Dirty Wars”). Any one of these could offer a good research paper topic in psychology, political science or entertainment. And, lucky for at-home viewers, most are easily available to watch before the 86th Academy Awards ceremony on March 2. Read more

2014 Oscar Predictions: Who will win at the 86th Academy Awards?

The Oscar award is a symbol of achieving excellence in a cinematic film.

The Oscar award is a symbol of achieving excellence in a cinematic film.

As 2013 draws to a close, movie critics are abuzz discussing the potential 2014 Oscar nominations for the 86th Academy Awards. The nominees will not be announced until January 16, 2014, making December the perfect month for Oscar predictions. In order to be considered for the 2014 Oscars, “Films must show in a commercial theater in Los Angeles County by Dec. 31 for a minimum of seven consecutive days,” explained Pat Saperstein in her Variety post “289 films eligible for Oscar consideration.” If you are looking for a good research paper topic in film studies, consider looking at Oscar winners from previous years. Have they continued to be well-respected over time? What might that indicate for these 2014 Oscar predictions?

A crowded field

As Saperstein reported, there are 289 films that are contenders for Oscars this year. Read more