Oscars 2023: Music Docs About David Bowie & Leonard Cohen Make Documentary Film Shortlist

Moonage Daydream, which explores David Bowie’s creative and musical journey, and Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, A Song, which looks at the life of Leonard Cohen through the prism of one of the most beloved songs of modern times, are among the 15 documentaries that were shortlisted for the Oscar for best documentary film on Wednesday (Dec. 21).

A total of 144 films were eligible in the category.  Members of the documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees.


Here’s a complete list of the films that were shortlisted for best documentary film, listed alphabetically by title.

All That Breathes, HBO Documentary Films/Sideshow

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Neon

Bad Axe, IFC Films

Children of the Mist, Varan Vietnam/CAT& Docs

Descendant, Netflix

Fire of Love, National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon

Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song, Sony Pictures Classics

Hidden Letters, Cargo Film & Releasing

A House Made of Splinters, Madman Entertainment

The Janes, HBO Documentary Films

Last Flight Home, MTV Documentary Films

Moonage Daydream, Neon

Navalny, CNN/Warner Bros.

Retrograde, National Geographic Films

The Territory, National Geographic

Eligible music docs that failed to make the shortlist (with capsule descriptions for films whose topic is not self-evident in the titles) include The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s American Pie; Fanny: The Right to Rock; Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen (about the stage-to-screen transfer of Fiddler on the Roof); Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story (about the annual music and cultural festival); Killing Me Softly With His Songs (a look at Grammy-winning songwriter Charles Fox); Look at Me: XXXtentacion; Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues; Nothing Compares (tracing Sinéad O’Connor’s turbulent career path); The Return of Tanya Tucker – Featuring Brandi Carlile; Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me; and ¡Viva Maestro! (a portrait of Los Angeles Philharmonic music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel).

Nominations for the 95th Oscars will be announced on Tuesday Jan. 24, 2023. The telecast, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will take place on Sunday, March 12, 2023, airing live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood.

Paul Grein