“Life Itself,” the terrific documentary by Steve James, based on the late Roger Ebert’s compelling 2012 memoir, jumped over another hurdle on its path to a likely Academy Award nomination for best documentary this year. The film is among the 15 finalists who will be considered for one of the five slots for a nomination — when the Oscar nods are announced early Thursday morning, Jan. 15.
Originally 135 films were submitted to the Academy’s documentary branch in the preliminary round of voting on this category. Those branch members of the Motion Picture Academy will now vote to pare the list down to the final five nominees.
Already, “Life Itself” has been named best documentary of 2014 by the prestigious National Board of Review, one of the first critics groups to announce its favorites in what has come to known as “awards weason.”
• Prior to the Oscar nominations being announced, “Life Itself” will air on CNN in the U.S. at 9 and 11 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 4.