music documentaries are having a renaissance.
“Amy,” the documentary about late singer Amy Winehouse, is the frontrunner for an Academy Award for best documentary at the 2016 ceremony, according to Variety, Indiewire and AwardsCirc.
Other music-themed documentaries are listed as contenders for an Oscar nomination this year as well. They include “What Happened, Miss Simone?,” “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” “Miss Sharon Jones!,” “Janis: Little Girl Blue” and “All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records.”
In two of the past three years, the Oscar for best documentary has gone to a music-themed film. Those recent winners include “Searching for Sugar Man” (2012) and “20 Feet from Stardom” (2013).
Meanwhile, other music documentaries are popping up.
On Sept. 18, Netflix debuted “Keith Richards: Under the Influence,” a documentary about the Rolling Stones guitarist.
On Sept. 23, “Arcade Fire: The Reflektor Tapes” was released in theaters. The documentary covers the making of Arcade Fire’s album “Reflektor.”
Also last month, Showtime premiered “Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church,” a documentary with previously unseen footage of his seminal performance at the 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival. It’s due out on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on Nov. 6.
Oct. 16 saw the DVD and Blu-ray release of “Rage Against the Machine: Live at Finsbury Park.” It includes the rock band’s famed June 2010 concert in London’s Finsbury Park and a behind-the-scenes documentary.
On Nov. 7, HBO is set to premiere a documentary about Irish rock band U2 and its recent Innocence + Experience Tour.
One highly anticipated music documentary is being withheld from release because of lawsuits.
Aretha Franklin has blocked the release of “Amazing Grace,” a documentary about the Queen of Soul and her album of the same name. It was directed by Sydney Pollack and is heavily comprised of footage from a legendary 1972 concert in Los Angeles.
But wait, there’s more.
Pop-punk band Green Day has announced a documentary, “Heart Like A Hand Grenade,” that chronicles the recording of its classic album “American Idiot.”
Pop singer Katy Perry’s halftime show at Super Bowl XLIX is the subject of an upcoming documentary called “Katy Perry: Making of the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show.”
Singer Justin Timberlake is working with director Jonathan Demme on film that captured the final date of Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience World Tour.
The best-reviewed music documentaries of all time (July 12, 2015)