National Geographic’s ‘The Nightcrawlers’ on Philippines’ drug war shortlisted for Oscars

December 17, 2019 - 5:53 PM
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A pair of slippers and a gun lie amid blood splatter on the pavement under Macarthur bridge in the Sta. Cruz district of Manila after police rushed three men, who were dead on arrival, to a public hospital on June 15, 2017. (Reuters/Dondi Tawatao)

National Geographic’s documentary about the Duterte administration’s brutal war on drugs is shortlisted for the 92nd edition of the Academy Awards documentary short subject category.

“The Nightcrawlers” features freelance photojournalists embarking on a mission to “expose the true cost of the violent campaign,” according to the synopsis.

At the forefront of the exposé is veteran photojournalist Raffy Lerma, the one who shot the photo of a woman cradling her gunned-down loved one in a drug-related incident.

The documentary also features interviews with members of a clandestine death squad “paid to kill with impunity.”

RELATED: National Geographic to highlight Filipino photojournalists covering Duterte’s drug war

It is directed by Alexander Mora and produced by Joanna Natasegara.

“The Nightcrawlers” premiered in October on the National Geographic Channel and can be streamed on Nat Geo TV.

It has been shortlisted alongside nine other documentaries from Netflix, the New York Times Op-Docs and MTV Documentary Films, among others.

Its contenders are “After Maria,” “Fire in Paradise,” “Ghosts of Sugar Land,” “In the Absence,” “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl),” “Life Overtakes Me,” “St. Louis Superman,” “Stay Close” and “Walk Run Cha-Cha.”

The 92nd edition of the Oscars will be held on Feb. 20, 2020 at Dolby Theater in Hollywood, with a live telecast by ABC Television Network.

Badge of honor

The Academy Awards is a prestigious awards ceremony that honors the best technical and creative achievements in the film industry every year.

Winners are selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a professional honorary organization composed of distinguished cinematographers, directors, actors, musicians, writers, editors and such.

Being awarded an Oscar means an almost automatic instant boost in box office sales, as well as an invitation to be part of the Academy itself.

The Oscars have different categories, from best picture to the best production design.

Its documentary category is grouped into two—the Documentary Feature and the Documentary Short Subject category.

A short subject documentary is defined as a motion picture with a running time of 40 minutes or less, including the credits.

To be considered qualified for the particular Oscar category, the documentary must either complete a seven-day commercial run in Los Angeles or New York, won a qualifying award in a competitive film festival or must have won in the Academy’s student competition.