It's Oscar time again, and that means it's time to see which films will take home the entertainment industry's highest honors. However, each year, the nominees for Best Documentary Feature are largely overshadowed by the buzz surrounding the mostly fictional narrative films competing for most of the award categories.
This year, there's a particularly strong block of documentaries vying to take home a statue, including the Edward Snowden doc Citizenfour and Finding Vivian Maier, a film focusing on a pioneering but largely unknown photographer. However, the Academy has a long tradition of recognizing well-crafted and vital documentary films. Some, like 4 Little Girls and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, take an unflinching look at a harsh injustice. Films like Twenty Feet from Stardom and Buena Vista Social Club illuminate an aspect of music and culture. Other features, like Spellbound and Bowling for Columbine, inject a certain levity and humor into topics that could very well be dismissed as dry or, in the case of the latter film, too dark if portrayed differently.
Whether you're looking for a film that shows humanity at its most devastating lows or at its greatest triumphs, there's a documentary out there that will suit your tastes. Here are 30 examples to get you started.