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Ebert film one of several in race for best documentary Oscar

While many of us at the Sun-Times are understandably rooting for the wonderful Steve James “Life Itself” film about Roger Ebert to win the best feature documentary Oscar in February, it looks to have some pretty stiff competition.

As we move into the movie award season, a number of other excellent documentaries also are considered strong contenders for that coveted prize. According to a Motion Picture Academy source, a couple of other films fall into what he called the “pull-the-heartstrings” category — referring to documentaries that have a strong emotional pull. Those include “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” the film about the acting legend who died earlier this year. Also seen as a possibility is “I’ll Be Me,” which chronicles Glen Campbell’s courageous battle to continue performing as he fights the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease.

Other strong documentaries fall more into the realm of politics or public policy. One is “CitizenFour,” which is about Edward Snowden’s collaboration with a journalist in the release of those now-infamous CIA records. Also seen as being in the running for the Academy Award is Rory Kennedy’s highly acclaimed “Last Days in Vietnam” about the ultimate fall of Saigon and the lives of those directly affected by the collapse of the South Vietnamese government.