'Bully,' 'Detropia,' 'Sugar Man' Make Oscar's Documentary Shortlist

The Oscar race is heading toward single-lane tracks as the Academy has streamlined the candidates for Best Documentary Feature nominations from 126 to 15, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The 15 candidates include some titles that we expect are shoo-ins for the eventual final cut of five nominees, including the hard-hitting and much debated "Bully," the crowd-pleasing and rather bizarre "Searching For Sugar Man" and the inspiring look at the war against the AIDS crisis, "How to Survive a Plague." It's also nice to see the Motor City doc "Detropia" in there (RoboCop would be proud!) as well as the raw deconstruction of the American criminal justice system, "The House I Love In."

There are a few documentaries that are noticeably missing from the shortlist as well, including "West of Memphis," the highly anticipated tale of the West Memphis Three; "Queen of Versailles," perhaps one of the saddest (and strangest) looks at the economical recession; and "Central Park Five," another searing portrait of a wrongful conviction that resulted in the years-long incarceration of innocent youngsters. It seems like the Academy is playing it safe (as always) and shying away from laser-focused examinations of specific hot-button topics (versus those that take a more broad-spectrum approach like "Bully").

The complete list of the 15 contenders for an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary are below. The 85th Annual Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 and the Oscars ceremony will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24.

"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Never Sorry," LLC

"Bully," The Bully Project LLC

"Chasing Ice," Exposure

"Detropia," Loki Films

"Ethel," Moxie Firecracker Films

"5 Broken Cameras," Guy DVD Films

"The Gatekeepers," Les Films du Poisson, Dror Moreh Productions, Cinephil

"The House I Live In," Charlotte Street Films, LLC

"How to Survive a Plague," How to Survive a Plague LLC

"The Imposter," Imposter Pictures Ltd.

"The Invisible War," Chain Camera Pictures

"Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God," Jigsaw Productions in association with Wider Film Projects and Below the Radar Films

"Searching for Sugar Man," Red Box Films

"This Is Not a Film," Wide Management

"The Waiting Room," Open'hood, Inc.