The Arbor, Senna and The Interrupters are among the top nominees for the fifth annual Cinema Eye Honors, one of the top awards given to nonfiction films.
And Justin Bieber, surprisingly, showed up on the list as well.
In nominations announced on Wednesday in London, those three films shared nominations for the top award, Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking, with Position Among the Stars, Nostalgia for the Light and Project Nim.
The Arbor, Senna, Position Among the Stars, Nostalgia for the Light, The Interrupters, Dragonslayer and Hell and Back Again each received four nominations in the 10 categories.
Steve James, the director of Hoop Dreams and of this year's contender The Interrupters, received four individual nominations, the most of any person.
Two 3D documentaries from noted German filmmakers, Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Wim Wenders' Pina, each received nominations in the Outstanding Achievement in Production category. Herzog's film was also nominated for its music score and for the Audience Choice Prize.
One of the most unexpected nominations came in the Audience Choice category, where the concert film Justin Bieber: Never Say Never will go up against nine other films with more critical heft, including Errol Morris's Tabloid, Cindy Meehl's Buck and Goran Olsson's The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975.
The late combat photographer and documentary filmmaker Tim Hetherington (Restrepo) received a nomination in the short film category for his impressionistic, autobiographical film Diary.
Over its first four years, the Cinema Eye Honors has twice given its top honor to the film that went on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. James Marsh's Man on Wire won in 2009, and Louie Psihoyos' The Cove the following year.
Last year's Cinema Eye winner was Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop, which was nominated for an Oscar but did not win.
Nominations for the awards are made by committees of documentary programmers from film festivals around the world.
The Cinema Eye Honors were launched in 2007 by filmmaker and journalist A.J. Schnack and documentary programer Thom Powers, who wanted to create documentary awards that would honor the entire creative team and all facets of nonfiction filmmaking.
The 2012 ceremony will take place on January 11, 2012 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, New York.