The Best Oscar-Winning Documentaries
What are the best Oscar winning documentary films? This list includes every film to have won an Oscar for Best Documentary, including Free Solo, Bowling for Columbine, An Inconvenient Truth, 20 Feet from Stardom, and Born into Brothels. The first Oscars presented for documentary films were given out in the 1940s, and many of those early winners focused on the subject of World War II. Since then, documentaries have looked at many other topics as well, taking home Oscars in the process.
Movies have the ability to make us feel. They make us want to believe, be inspired, and live vicariously through the stories we see on screen. Documentary films especially try to inspire viewers and teach them about a subject they may not previously have had access to. The best of these movies are bestowed with an Academy Award nomination, and those that are truly the best take home the Oscar.
Documentary films tell a true story, the version of which we often have not heard before. These best Oscar winning documentary films provide a kind of emotional connection that filmmakers hope people seek in entertainment. They are moving, saddening, or angering. They provide the type of entertainment that is groundbreaking in their story-telling and in their truth.
Vote up the best Academy Award winning documentary films below.
The watershed cultural and music festival in New York.In 1969, 500,000 people descended on a small patch of field in a little-known town in upstate New York called Woodstock. In this documentary, the iconic event is chronicled in unflinching detail, ...more
- Released: 1970
- Directed by: Michael Wadleigh
An unsuccessful strike in the heartland of America against Hormel FoodsThis acclaimed documentary focuses on a mid-1980s workers' strike at a Hormel meatpacking plant in Minnesota. After employees have both their wages and benefits cut, the local union endorses a ...more
- Released: 1990
- Directed by: Barbara Kopple
Global warmingFilmmaker Davis Guggenheim follows Al Gore on the lecture circuit, as the former presidential candidate campaigns to raise public awareness of the dangers of global warming and calls for immediate ...more
- Released: 2006
- Directed by: Davis Guggenheim
The lives of background singers for some of music's most famous acts20 Feet from Stardom is a 2013 American documentary film directed by Morgan Neville. Shines a long-overdue spotlight on the hit-making contributions of longtime backup singers like Darlene Love and ...more
- Released: 2013
- Directed by: Morgan Neville
The Ten-Year LunchHelen Hayes, Ruth Gordon, Margalo Gillmore
The Algonquin Road Table, group of writers and artists during the 1920s in New YorkThroughout the "Roaring '20s," a flock of the decade's most vibrant writers gathered daily to dine at New York City's Algonquin Hotel. Here the likes of Edna Ferber, Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufman ...more
- Released: 1987
- Directed by: Aviva Slesin