I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
If last year’s acclaimed If Beale Street Could Talk led you to learn more about James Baldwin, who wrote the novel from which the film was adapted, this documentary about the history of American racism is essential. Taking as its inspiration Baldwin’s unfinished memoir, Remember This House, I Am Not Your Negro was nominated for a best documentary feature Oscar at the 89th Academy Awards.
How does an American diocese of the Roman Catholic church conceal widespread sexual abuse by priests trusted to counsel and educate children? The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team of journalists investigated the corruption, won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2003, and became the subject of this docudrama, a best-picture Oscar winner.
District 9 (2009)
The titular refugee camp—located near Johannesburg, South Africa, and inhabited by extraterrestrials whose spacecraft mysteriously appeared almost 30 years earlier—is about to be emptied by Multinational United, a private contractor. Wikus (Sharlto Copley), an MNU agent serving notice to camp residents, is injured in an accident, which gradually gives him a new perspective on the aliens’ situation.
Man on Wire (2008)
In 1974, acrobat Philippe Petit challenged himself to run a tightrope between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center—a feat in itself even before he went on to walk that tightrope, thousands of feet up; this documentary features footage shot during the planning phases as well as reenactments, and won the best documentary feature Oscar in 2009.