PGA Awards Documentary Nominations Bring Shocks And Surprises: ‘Nothing Compares’ In, ‘All The Beauty And The Bloodshed’ Out

The PGA Awards announced its nominees for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures today, a list noted for a number of snubs and surprises. 

Seven films were recognized with nominations, including All That Breathes, Shaunak Sen’s documentary about two brothers to Delhi, India who have dedicated their lives to rehabilitating birds of prey that have fallen victim to the city’s polluted skies. It won the Best Feature honors at the IDA Documentary Awards over the weekend, so the PGA Awards nomination comes as no surprise.

However, omitted from the PGA list was All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, the strong Oscar contender from director Laura Poitras which on Friday was named Best Non-Fiction Film by the New York Film Critics Circle. Also missing out on a PGA Award nomination were Moonage Daydream, Brett Morgen’s documentary on David Bowie that is far and away the top-grossing documentary of the year in theatrical release, and Good Night Oppy, Ryan White’s documentary on NASA’s Mars rovers that hails from Amblin Entertainment.

Director Kathryn Ferguson attends a screening of ‘Nothing Compares’ September 20, 2022 in Los Angeles

Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

In a surprise, Nothing Compares, Kathryn Ferguson’s documentary about Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor, earned a PGA nomination today. The film has been well reviewed and performed particularly well in the U.K. and Ireland, but hasn’t been a major player in many pre-Oscar documentary awards contests. It did earn two Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards nominations previously—for Best Music Documentary and Best Archival Documentary, and a cinematography nomination for the upcoming Cinema Eye Honors.

Matthew Heineman, a two-time DGA Award winner, saw his latest film, Retrograde, honored with a PGA nomination. His documentary takes a visceral look at the last months of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and what happened to the Afghan National Army after the U.S. pullout.

Retrograde comes from National Geographic Films. NatGeo scored a second nominee with Fire of Love, director Sara Dosa’s film about a French couple whose dedication to studying volcanoes cost them their lives. Also making the cut were Descendant, from director Margaret Brown; Navalny, directed by Daniel Roher, and The Territory, directed by Alex Pritz.

The PGA noted, “These films are in the process of being vetted for individual producer eligibility,” so it did not release producing credits as part of its announcement. Nominees for Sports, Children’s and Short Form Television Programs will be announced this Friday. Nominees for Theatrical Motion Pictures, Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures, Television Series/Specials, and Televised/Streamed Motion Pictures will be announced on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Winners will be honored during the 34th Annual Producers Guild of America Awards ceremony set for Saturday, February 25, 2023.

Earlier this year, Summer of Soul claimed the PGA Award for Documentary Motion Picture, an award that went to producers Joseph Patel, David Dinerstein, and Robert Fyvolent. The documentary directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson went on to win the Academy Award.

This is the list of the 2023 Producers Guild Award nominees for Documentary Motion Picture:

  • All That Breathes
  • Descendant
  • Fire of Love
  • Navalny
  • Nothing Compares
  • Retrograde
  • The Territory

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