The 5 Oscar-nominated documentaries that beat out ‘2016: Obama’s America’

Alex Pappas | Political Reporter

The producers of “2016: Obama’s America” have argued that liberal bias in Hollywood is likely the reason their documentary wasn’t up for an Oscar nomination this year, despite bringing in more money at the box office than all the other eligible documentaries combined.

“Our friends in Hollywood have removed any doubt average Americans may have had that liberal political ideology, not excellence, is the true standard of what receives awards,” conservative author Dinesh D’Souza said in December after being excluded from the list of 15 eligible films.

And unsurprisingly, the five documentary features nominated for an Oscar on Thursday are certainly not as conservative as D’Souza’s critical look at Obama’s past.

Here are the five documentary features nominated and their plots described by the website for the Oscars:

How to Survive a Plague: “By the mid-1980s, as the official response to the growing AIDS epidemic remained dispiritingly low-key and at times hostile, the activist group ACT UP began focusing media attention on the disease and demanding action from the government and the medical community. While some members of the group staged protests, others immersed themselves in the research being done on the virus and helped achieve a dramatic transformation in its treatment.”


The Invisible War: “According to Department of Defense estimates, over 19,300 members of the U.S. military were sexually assaulted in 2010 alone. Yet, although the rate of sexual assaults against women in the service is twice that of the civilian population, only ten percent of assault cases end in prosecution, with female soldiers often finding themselves ostracized or pressured into remaining silent.”


Searching for Sugar Man: “In the early 1970s, A&M released two albums by a singer-songwriter known only as Rodriguez, who dropped out of sight and was rumored to have died after the records failed to sell. When Rodriguez unexpectedly attracted a cult following in South Africa, however, two of his ardent fans decided to track down the truth behind his disappearance from the music scene.”


5 Broken Cameras: “As Israeli settlers begin building homes and erecting a barrier wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in, a Palestinian farm worker documents the town’s resistance to the new settlement. Over the course of several years, the townspeople clash with the Israeli Defense Force, and tensions mount as the wall remains and the building continues.”


The Gatekeepers: “Six former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s counterterrorism agency, speak candidly about their participation in the policies that have shaped the long history of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Starting with the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, the men discuss with remarkable openness the successes and mistakes of their individual tenures.”


By contrast, “2016: Obama’s America” billed itself this way: “Immersed in exotic locales across four continents, best selling author Dinesh D’Souza races against time to find answers to Obama’s past and reveal where America will be in 2016. During this journey he discovers how Hope and Change became radically misunderstood, and identifies new flashpoints for hot wars in mankind’s greatest struggle.”

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