1. O.J.: Made in America
There will be those who argue that O.J.: Made in America—a documentary that runs seven hours and 47 minutes, and is divided into self-contained chapters—is in fact a long-form TV documentary. Nonetheless, thanks to a limited theatrical run in May, Ezra Edelman’s non-fiction opus is eligible for 2016 movie awards, and even in a year overflowing with gems, it stands head and shoulders about the rest.
A titanic work of socio-cultural commentary that plumbs issues of ambition, race, fame, ego and denial, Edelman’s masterpiece spends its first three immersive hours conveying the magnetic personality and triumphant athletic (and advertising) career of O.J. Simpson, as well as providing background on the contentious historic relationship between Los Angeles’ police force and African-American community.
That engrossing material is the appetizer for its subsequent in-depth look at the «Trail of the Century» and Simpson’s eventual conviction on armed robbery charges, all of which is examined from myriad enthralling, incisive angles. Illuminating, infuriating and heartbreaking in equal measure, O.J.: Made in America paints a vividly ugly portrait of its notorious celebrity—and, in the process, gets to the rotten center of the culture that begat him.