Thursday, November 18, 2010

Best Documentary Oscar short list of 15 films announced

This has been an particularly strong year for documentaries that has many people speculating that a documentary may even crack the Best Picture category for the first time. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has whittled down the record 101 eligible submissions and today they announced the short list of fifteen films that will be vying for the eventual five nominations. Included in the list of fifteen films is the outstanding Canadian film Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould, one of my favourite films of 2009. To the surprise of many, the highly-regarded Last Train Home did not make the list.

There are many other surprises with the announced list of films. The controversial documentary (or is it fiction?) film Exit through the Gift Shop made the cut and some feel that it now becomes a favourite. But another sort-of documentary that was a possible nominee Catfish did not have the same luck and is not on the list. The Afghanistan war doc Restrepo made the list but the equally strong (some say stronger) Danish-made Armadillo did not. Two popular but dubious anti-public education films made the list, Waiting for 'Superman' and The Lottery. But many strong documentaries didn't make the final fifteen including The Oath, A Film Unfinished, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and Frederick Wiseman’s La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet. Marwencol was not eligible this Oscar season, but will be the following year.

The nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

complete short list of 15 films in contention for Best Documentary Academy Award nominations

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
Alex Gibney, director (ES Productions LLC)

Enemies of the People
Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath, directors (Old Street Films)

Exit through the Gift Shop
Banksy, director (Paranoid Pictures)

Josh Fox, director (Gasland Productions, LLC)

Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould
Michele Hozer and Peter Raymont, directors (White Pine Pictures)

Inside Job
Charles Ferguson, director (Representational Pictures)

The Lottery
Madeleine Sackler, director (Great Curve Films)

Precious Life
Shlomi Eldar, director (Origami Productions)

Quest for Honor
Mary Ann Smothers Bruni, director (Smothers Bruni Productions)

Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, directors (Outpost Films)

This Way of Life
Thomas Burstyn, director (Cloud South Films)

The Tillman Story
Amir Bar-Lev, director (Passion Pictures/Axis Films)

Waiting for 'Superman'
Davis Guggenheim, director (Electric Kinney Films)

Waste Land
Lucy Walker, director (Almega Projects)

William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe
Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, directors (Disturbing the Universe LLC)

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