Where to Watch All the 2022 Best Documentary Feature Nominees

You can catch most of the nominated non-fiction films from the comfort of your couch.

summer of soul oscars
'Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)' | Searchlight/Hulu
'Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)' | Searchlight/Hulu

It's often the fictional stories that get the most attention at the Oscars, but one of the great things about the ceremony is that it takes time to recognize some of the year's best nonfiction films as well. This year's slate of Best Documentary Feature nominees is nothing short of fantastic, highlighting informative and immersive work from around the world.

From an indictment of the Chinese economic system to a detailed examination of a famous prison rebellion, a newspaper in India run only by women, a refugee's tale that uses animation to protect the subject's identity, and remastered footage of one of the best concerts you've never heard of, it's hard to pick a favorite out of this year's honorees. Here is a rundown of everything competing in the category and where you can watch them all right now.

Read our predictions for the Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Director races, as well as where you can watch all of the Best International Feature nominees.

ascension documentary
MTV Documentary Films


Immersive and illusory, Jessica Kingdon's stream-of-consciousness documentary about the paradoxical myth of the Chinese dream presents the stark contrasts of China's economic classes in mesmerizingly filmed snapshots. Opening with a literal job market, in which prospective employees compete for meager perks, the film pokes holes in the mantra that hard work leads to more opportunity. Every aspect of existence seems commodified by one social class at the expense of another: women in a factory piece together sex dolls according to exact specifications, office workers are instructed to remain professional even when their bosses humiliate them, and an influencer takes selfies while a gardener sweats in the heat just out of frame. The dream of economic advancement seems more like a nightmare.
Where to watch it: Stream it on Paramount+
(Watch the trailer)

attica prison uprising, attica showtime documentary


This film from director Stanley Nelson (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution) tells the story of the riots at the Attica Correctional Facility that began on September 9, 1971, and ended days later when the state took back control of the facility. In documenting the largest and most significant prison uprising in American history, Nelson relies on revealing interviews with inmates, hostages, guards, lawyers, politicians, and the relatives of those involved. He also makes use of revealing footage both inside and outside of the facility, capturing the frenzy and intensity of history as it unfolds. 
Where to watch it: Stream it on Showtime
(Watch the trailer)

flee documentary, Amin Nawabi in flee


Flee, which was also nominated for Best International Feature, is truly unique. This largely animated documentary, executive produced by Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, is a memoir come to life that is as much about the story it's telling as it is about what the act of telling that story means to the subject. Director Jonas Poher Rasmussen allows Amin Nawabi to narrate his experiences at his own pace. At present, Nawabi is an Afghan refugee living in Copenhagen with his boyfriend and working with an academic, but Flee uses drawing and archival footage to describe the arduous process of escaping the Mujahideen. The documentary appears to be as revelatory for Nawabi as it is for the audience watching it. Flee is not just about what Nawabi endured, but about the psychological tolls of a childhood constantly on the run.
Where to watch it: Stream it on Hulu or rent via Amazon Prime and Apple TV+
(Watch the trailer)

nina simone in summer of soul
Searchlight Pictures/Hulu

Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

The footage alone would be worth recommending The Roots' drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson's directorial debut, which sold at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival for a record-breaking sum. These recordings of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a weeks-long musical event that happened the same year as Woodstock, have been unavailable to the public until now, an example of a Black historical artifact being buried. The archival material is incredible, capturing unparalleled performances from Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, The Staples Singers, Mahalia Jackson, Sly and the Family Stone, and so many more acts. Thompson frequently lets the music speak for itself, but also uses it as a guide through the place and the period, showing how Black artists were responding and evolving during the era. Summer of Soul is thoroughly joyous and also enormously vital.
Where to watch it: Stream it on Hulu
(Watch the trailer)

writing with fire documentary
Madman Films

Writing with Fire

Directors Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas examine the rise and future of Khabar Lahariya, a women-run newspaper in India founded in 2002 that translates to "Waves of News." Almost two decades later, the paper is still up and running, pivoting to digital storytelling while still exposing corruption and uncovering important stories in the region. Writing with Fire, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2021 and in select theaters last year, tells the gripping story of the women who put the paper together every week, highlighting the importance of reporting at a time when journalists are often under threat and the profession continues to evolve.
Where to watch it: Available for pre-order on Apple TV+
(Watch the trailer)

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