Bloggers and pundits haven’t really gone into full Oscar prediction mode yet this year, mainly because some of the expected Oscar contenders still have yet to hit theatres, but the Best Documentary category always seems to be slightly ahead of the game. This week the Academy unveiled their shortlist of the 15 documentaries that are potential nominees, and while I’ve only seen a few of them, I am definitely surprised by some of the omissions.
Doc heavyweights Errol Morris and Werner Herzog are going head to head with their films Standard Operating Procedure and Encounters at the End of the World (some may remember that Herzog’s Grizzly Man was criminally overlooked back in 2005). Another big favourite on the list is Man on Wire, a movie that I haven’t seen yet, but seems to be getting spectacular reviews everywhere you turn. Personally I’m stoked to see Ellen Kuras’ powerful film The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) on the list, which we were able to see at Hot Docs earlier this year and I think definitely deserves at least a nomination.
However, where is Kurt Kuenne’s Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, the emotional flick that is getting so much good buzz? And what about Alex Gibney’s Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson? I guess since Taxi to the Dark Side won last year, they took him out of the running. I may be jumping to conclusions here, but from looking at a lot of the other titles, it seems like another line-up of documentaries chosen more for their subject matter than their artistic merit. Has anyone out there seen any of the other titles on this list? Which ones do you think will make the final cut?
- At the Death House Door
- The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
- Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh
- Encounters at the End of the World
- The Garden
- Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts
- In a Dream
- Made in America
- Man on Wire
- Pray the Devil Back to Hell
- Standard Operating Procedure
- They Killed Sister Dorothy
- Trouble the Water