Hit French documentary The March of the Penguins is among the 15 films shortlisted for Oscar consideration for the 2006 Academy Awards.
The film focuses on the love life of the Emperor Penguin
The selected documentaries were chosen by the academy's documentary branch screening committee after reviewing a longlist of 82 eligible films.
The final five contenders will be revealed when Oscar nominations are announced on 31 January.
Next year's Academy Awards will take place in Los Angeles on 5 March.
A recent rule change by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saw the number of shortlisted documentaries increased to more than 12 films, the upper limit in previous years.
Also on the shortlist are Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, a documentary about the collapse of the energy conglomerate; Occupation: Dreamland, a film about the Iraqi war, and Unknown White Male, about a man who woke up with total amnesia.
The Boys of Baraka
The Devil and Daniel Johnston
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Mad Hot Ballroom
The March of the Penguins
On Native Soil: The Documentary of the 9/11 Commission Report
39 Pounds of Love
Unknown White Male
Following last year's success of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, 2005 has been hailed as a renaissance year for documentaries.
The March of the Penguins became the most successful French film in the US, bringing in $77m in ticket sales, outperforming both The Fifth Element and Amelie.
The documentary, which opens across the UK on 9 December, follows Emperor penguins walking to their breeding ground in Antarctica.
In the French version of the film - which was shot by a four-man crew over 14 months - actors' voices speak for the penguins.
However the US version has been reworked, replacing the actors' voices with a narration by Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman.