The Times of Harvey Milk. 1984. USA. Directed by Robert Epstein

Each year around this time, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrates a select group of documentary filmmakers; in that spirit, this annual survey presents some of the Oscar-nominated documentaries that have had a major impact over the years. This year’s Oscar’s Docs explores an age of front-line coverage of conflicts both domestic and international. The “embeds” of their time, these Oscar nominees and winners used vérité techniques, activist narratives, and inspirational film-portraiture to expose transitional, often violent events of the recent past, from armed conflicts in Vietnam and Eastern Europe to ongoing struggles for emancipation and basic human rights at home.

Organized by Rajendra Roy, The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator, Department of Film, and Ed Carter, Documentary Curator, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Special thanks to Peter Davis, Maria Florio, Janus Films, Grace Guggenheim, Roland Halle, Peter Ladue, Victoria Mudd, National Film Board Canada, Rainbow Films, Deborah Shaffer, Pierre Schoendoerffer, and Betsy Strick. All prints are courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

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