Here Are The 15 Semi-Finalists For The Best Documentary Oscar!


Yesterday, the Academy announced the 15 semi-finalists for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar.

I’ve seen quite  a few documentaries this year but I haven’t seen any of the films listed below.  Quite a few of them are on Netflix.  Abacus: Small Enough to Jail can be found on YouTube.  I have a feeling that An Inconvenient Sequel will win, just because Al Gore will probably trash Trump during his acceptance speech.

Anyway, here are the semi-finalists:

Abacus: Small Enough TO Jail,

Chasing Coral,

City of Ghosts,

Ex Libris — The New York Public Library,

Faces Places,

Human Flow,

Icarus,

An Inconvenient Sequel,

Jane,

LA 92,

Last Man in Aleppo,

Long Strange Trip,

One Of Us,

Strong Island,

Unrest

 

Here’s The Best Documentary Feature Shortlist!


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I’m really late with this news but better late than never!

Last week, the Academy’s Documentary Branch announced the 15 semi-finalists for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar!  Five of the films below will be nominated.  This has been a brilliant year for documentaries, as you can tell from looking at the titles below!

I’m especially happy to see that The Witness — which can currently be seen on Netflix — made the shortlist.

Not making the list?  Leonardo DiCaprio’s Before The Flood.  If nothing else, this means that we no longer have to worry about sitting through another rambling, if well-intentioned, Leo lecture.

(Or maybe not.  Leo is also involved with The Ivory Game, which is on the shortlist.)

Anyway, here are the 15 semi-finalists!

“Cameraperson,” Big Mouth Productions
“Command and Control,” American Experience Films/PBS
“The Eagle Huntress,” Stacey Reiss Productions, Kissiki Films and 19340 Productions
“Fire at Sea,” Stemal Entertainment
“Gleason,” Dear Rivers Productions, Exhibit A and IMG Films
“Hooligan Sparrow,” Little Horse Crossing the River
“I Am Not Your Negro,” Velvet Film
“The Ivory Game,” Terra Mater Film Studios and Vulcan Productions
“Life, Animated,” Motto Pictures and A&E IndieFilms
“O.J.: Made in America,” Laylow Films and ESPN Films
“13th,” Forward Movement
“Tower,” Go-Valley
“Weiner,” Edgeline Films
“The Witness,” The Witnesses Film
“Zero Days,” Jigsaw Productions

Weiner_(film)

Here’s the 15 Films That Made The Best Documentary Shortlist!


tom cruise 2-1

Today, that Academy announced the 15 semi-finalists for the Best Documentary Feature award.  I’m sad to say that I haven’t seen as many of these as I should have.  However, I am happy to see that both Amy and Going Clear made the shortlist.

(I’m actually a bit surprised to see Going Clear made the cut, considering it’s subject matter.  If Going Clear is nominated, will there be a mass boycott of the Awards by Hollywood Scientologists?  Will this be an Oscar ceremony without Tom Cruise?)

Five of these films will be nominated for Best Documentary in January.

Amy,” On the Corner Films and Universal Music

Best of Enemies,” Sandbar

Cartel Land,” Our Time Projects and The Documentary Group

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” Jigsaw Productions

He Named Me Malala,” Parkes-MacDonald and Little Room

Heart of a Dog,” Canal Street Communications

The Hunting Ground,” Chain Camera Pictures

Listen to Me Marlon,” Passion Pictures

The Look of Silence,” Final Cut for Real

Meru,” Little Monster Films

3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets,” The Filmmaker Fund, Motto Pictures, Lakehouse Films, Actual Films, JustFilms, MacArthur Foundation and Bertha BRITDOC

We Come as Friends,” Adelante Films

What Happened, Miss Simone?,” RadicalMedia and Moxie Firecracker

Where to Invade Next,” Dog Eat Dog Productions

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” Pray for Ukraine Productions

Here Are The IDA Best Feature Nominees!


I’m a little late in sharing this (well, about three days) but things have been a little bit busy around these parts.  The nominees for the International Documentary Association’s awards were announced a few days ago.  You can view the full list here.

For the purposes of those of us who are obsessed with trying to predict all the Oscar nominees, our main concern is with the 6 movies that were nominated for the Best Feature Award.  Best Documentary Feature is, traditionally, one of the most difficult categories to predict.  Every little bit of info helps.  All 6 of the movies listed below have also been included on the list of the 124 documentaries that have been deemed to be Oscar-eligible this year.

Best Feature Award
Amy,
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,
Listen to Me Marlon,
The Look of Silence,
The Russian Woodpecker,
What Happened, Miss Simone?

Despite making an effort to see more documentaries this year, Amy is the only one of the above nominees that I’ve actually watched.  It definitely deserves to be nominated.

One final question: though Going Clear was not nominated by the IDA, it is Oscar-eligible.  If Going Clear did somehow get an Oscar nomination, would Tom Cruise and John Travolta still show up for the ceremony?

 

Here Are The 15 Semi-Finalists For The Best Documentary Feature Oscar!


Dune

Earlier today, the Motion Picture Academy announced the 15 semi-finalists for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.  These 15 movies were selected from 134 eligible documentaries.  Next month, of course, 5 final nominees will be selected from the 15 possibilities listed below.

Unfortunately, I have only seen four of the movies listed below: Art and Craft, Finding Vivian Maier, Jodorowsky’s Dune, and Life Itself.  

And they’re all more than worth making the effort to see!

Here are the 15 semi-finalists!

“Art and Craft,” Purple Parrot Films
“The Case against 8,” Day in Court
“Citizen Koch,” Elsewhere Films
“CitizenFour,” Praxis Films
“Finding Vivian Maier,” Ravine Pictures
“The Internet’s Own Boy,” Luminant Media
“Jodorowsky’s Dune,” City Film
“Keep On Keepin’ On,” Absolute Clay Productions
“The Kill Team,” f/8 filmworks
“Last Days in Vietnam,” Moxie Firecracker Films
“Life Itself,” Kartemquin Films and Film Rites
“The Overnighters,” Mile End Films West
“The Salt of the Earth,” Decia Films
“Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” Lafayette Film
“Virunga,” Grain Media

The 15 Semi-Finalists For Best Documentary Feature


The Academy has announced the 15 semi-finalists for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar.  5 nominees will be picked from this list and then the winner will be announced on March 2nd.

I’m rooting for Stories We Tell.  I’m also hoping that Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer will, at the very least, get a nomination.

“The Act of Killing,” Final Cut for Real
“The Armstrong Lie,” The Kennedy/Marshall Company
“Blackfish,” Our Turn Productions
“The Crash Reel,” KP Rides Again
“Cutie and the Boxer,” Ex Lion Tamer and Cine Mosaic
“Dirty Wars,” Civic Bakery
“First Cousin Once Removed,” Experiments in Time, Light & Motion
“God Loves Uganda,” Full Credit Productions
“Life According to Sam,” Fine Films
“Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” Roast Beef Productions
“The Square,” Noujaim Films and Maktube Productions
“Stories We Tell,” National Film Board of Canada
“Tim’s Vermeer,” High Delft Pictures
“20 Feet from Stardom,” Gil Friesen Productions and Tremolo Productions
“Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington,” Tripoli Street

The State of the Race: The 15 Documentary Semi-Finalists


https://i1.wp.com/1.bp.blogspot.com/-_zpzlqkWsPM/UII7R9ww00I/AAAAAAAAHtY/3KGB2Z2W58Y/s1600/Ai-WEi-Wei-never-Sorry-Dokumenation.jpg

There was a lot of Oscar-related news yesterday.  Along with the NYFCC giving their best picture award to Zero Dark Thirty, the Academy’s Documentary branch announced this year’s 15 sem-finalists for the Best Feature Length Documentary Oscar.  From this list, the final five nominees will be selected.

Needless to say, I was happy to see that my favorite documentary of 2012, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, made the shortlist.

At the same time, I’m also disappointed that the great ballet documentary First Position was snubbed.

And, finally even though I knew it wouldn’t have been nominated and I’m not saying that it should have been, wouldn’t it have been fun to watch the online critical establishment descend into mass hysteria if 2016: Obama’s America had somehow appeared on the list of semi-finalists?

“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”

“Bully”

“Chasing Ice”

“Detropia” 


“Ethel” 


“5 Broken Cameras”

“The Gatekeepers”

“The House I Live In”

“How to Survive a Plague”

“The Imposter”

“The Invisible War”

“Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God” 


“Searching for Sugar Man” 


“This Is Not a Film” 


“The Waiting Room”

 

The Toadsuckers Have Spoken: 15 Semi-Finalists for Best Documentary And Still No Room for Werner Herzog


Yesterday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the titles of the 15 semi-finalists for the Best Feature Length Documentary Oscar.  This list will, of course, be narrowed down to the 5 final nominees.

Without further ado, here’s the 15 semi-finalists:

  • Battle for Brooklyn(RUMER Inc.)
  • Bill Cunningham New York(First Thought Films)
  • Buck(Cedar Creek Productions)
  • Hell and Back Again(Roast Beef Productions Limited)
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front(Marshall Curry Productions, LLC)
  • Jane’s Journey(NEOS Film GmbH & Co. KG)
  • The Loving Story(Augusta Films)
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory(@radical.media)
  • Pina(Neue Road Movies GmbH)
  • Project Nim(Red Box Films)
  • Semper Fi: Always Faithful(Tied to the Tracks Films, Inc.)
  • Sing Your Song(S2BN Belafonte Productions, LLC)
  • Undefeated(Spitfire Pictures)
  • Under Fire: Journalists in Combat(JUF Pictures, Inc.)
  • We Were Here (Weissman Projects, LLC)

My response as I look at this list is: “Huh?”  Which is to be expected because I live in Flyover country and, as a result, our local theaters don’t get sent all that many documentaries.  Still, I have to say that, as someone who tries her darndest to keep up with these things, I’m not familiar with a lot of these films.  I saw Buck in the theaters and I watched Bill Cunningham New York via OnDemand after my sister recommended it to me.  I meant to see Project Nin when it briefly played at the Dallas Angelika but, for whatever reason, I missed it.  (I may have been burned out on movies about chimpanzees after seeing Rise of the Planet of the Apes.)  I’ll definitely see Paradise Lost 3 if it ever manages to get down to my part of the world.

If anything surprises and disappoints me, it’s that Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams isn’t on the semi-finalist list.  Neither are two other documentaries that I loved — Jig and Resurrect Dead.  (I have to admit that I’m not sure if those two films were submitted for consideration or if they would have even been eligible to be considered.  I just know that I enjoyed them when I saw them OnDemand.)  I’m also surprised that The Paper isn’t on the list of semi-finalists.  I haven’t actually seen The Paper but just judging from the trailer and the subject matter (The New York Times struggling to remain relevent), it seemed like the type of documentary that traditionally seems to get nominated.

Finally, despite the fact that I haven’t seen it, I would kinda like to see Paradise Lost 3 win the award if just to honor the entire Paradise Lost series.  After all, if not for those films, the West Memphis 3 would still be sitting in prison.  Every year, during the Academy Awards ceremony, we have to sit through some pompous speech about how documentaries can change the course of history.  Well, the Paradise Lost films actually did and, again taking into consideration that I haven’t seen the actual film yet, it seems like that deserves to be honored, no?

(And before any of you excitable types start bitching and whining — and you know who you are — Undefeated is a documentary about a high school football team and should not be mistaken for The Undefeated, the documentary about Sarah Palin that also came out this year.)

The 2010 Oscars: Best Documentary: The Toadsuckers Are Narrowing It Down


Here’s some more news from the toadsuckers and dumbfugs who make up the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  These are the people who give out the Academy Awards and who continue to insist that Crash, Titanic, Gladiator, Braveheart, Gandhi, The Sound of Music, Rocky, American Beauty, The Greatest Show on Earth, and How Green Was My Valley were all great films.  Yes, those people.

Anyway, along with giving out Oscars for best picture, best director, and all the other awards that the general public actually cares about, the Academy also gives out an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.  Occasionally, this category does get some notice.  For instance, there’s always the chance that Michael Moore will win another Oscar and start foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog again and Al Gore might give another award-winning power point presentation in the near future.  But for the most part, most people just see Best Documentary as just another roadblock on the journey between Best Supporting Actress and Best Picture.

Which is a shame because Best Documentary is usually a pretty fun category to try to predict.  Since hardly anyone has seen (or heard) of the majority of the nominees, you can simply pick one at random, say something vaguely serious-sounding about it, and people will assume that you’re far smarter than you ever possibly could be.  For me, the best thing about the documentary category is that, since you’ll probably never actually see most of the films nominated, your final opinion on the winner is often based on the acceptance speech.  If the documentarian gives a funny or sentimental speech then suddenly you realize that Gabby: The Girl Who Could Have Been is the greatest freaking documentary ever made.  And if his speech is strident or angry or boring then you’ll spend the next week wondering how the Academy could ever honor a piece of trash like Pelosi: Amazon From The Bay.

Anyway, the Documentary Branch of the Academy announced the 15 finalists for the Oscar for Best Feature-Length Documentary of 2010.  From these 15, the final five nominees will be determined.

Here’s the list:

“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)
Gasland,” 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)
Restrepo,” 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)      

If Exit Through the Gift Shop (which is currently my choice for the best film of 2010) had failed to appear on this list, I would have thrown a fit.  Luckily, there it is.  Will it make the final five?  It better.

As for the other finalists, I’ve only seen Restrepo and Waiting for Superman and they’re both deserving of at least a nomination.  However, I’m hoping that the film about William Kunstler gets a nomination just because I’m hoping that whoever presents the award this year will mispronounce Kunstler and get the Academy broadcast fined by the FCA.

It’s also interesting to note that I’ve probably gone to more documentaries this year than any other.  And yet, I’ve only seen 3 of the 15 finalists.  Certainly, I guess I could go see Inside Job this weekend but do I really need a documentary to tell me that the economy is fucked up?  Seriously.  The trailer — featuring Matt Damon interrogating a bunch of Wall Street types — just comes across as being incredibly smug.  Client 9 should be opening up down here in Dallas pretty soon as well and I’ll probably see it but I’m not going to cry if I miss the opportunity to spend two hours with Eliot Spitzer.

To me, the best documentaries of 2010 include — along with Restrepo, Waiting for Superman, and Exit Through The Gift Shop (the best film of 2010, did I mention that?) — Winnebago Man, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, The Best Worst Movie, and (arguably) Catfish

The toadsuckers disagree.

For Your Oscar Consideration


It’s November and that means that we have now officially entered Oscar season.  For the next two months, movies specifically designed to win awards will be released in theaters across America.  Movies like Fair Game, The King’s Speech, True Grit, For Colored Girls, Another Year, and 127 Hours will be presented for “your consideration,” as they always put it in the Oscar ads.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to seeing quite a few of those films.  Fair Game looks like its going to be a bit of a pain (seriously, Sean Penn, it’s great you were right about Iraq and all but get over yourself)  and For Colored Girls seems like it’ll be one of those films that people are scared to admit disliking.  However, The King’s Speech looks like it might be a funny and sweet little movie and  127 Hours looks like it might be the film that proves that James Franco is a major hottie who could use and abuse me in any way he…uhmm, sorry, where was I?  Oh yeah — Oscar season!

The unfortunate thing about Oscar season is that often it seems that movies that were released before the end of the year are either totally forgotten or only given a few sympathy nods.  So, here’s my personal list of a few contenders that, though released pre-Oscar season, I think are just as deserving of consideration as Fair Game.

1) Best Picture — Exit Through The Gift Shop

People either love this film or they hate it.  I love it.  I think it’s a great mindfuck and, as of now, it’s my favorite film of 2010.  In a perfect world, it would not only be the first documentary to be nominated for best picture but the first one to win as well.  Unfortunately, the Mainstream hates having its mind fucked.  Which is why I say — Grindhouse Victory for Exit Through The Gift Shop!

2) Best Picture — Animal Kingdom

This grim yet compelling Australian crime thriller plays like an unromanticized version of The Town, which is probably why it will be no where to be seen once the nominations are announced.  Animal Kingdom also features award worthy work from actors Jacki Weaver, Ben Mendelsohn, Guy Pearce, and director David Michod.

3) Best Picture — Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Yes, it crashed and burned at the box office and it’s been the victim of an anti-Michael Cera backlash but Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World was one of the best and most original films of the summer.  If the best movies succeed by creating their own unique worlds, then Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World deserves to be recognized as one of the best.

4) Best Picture — Never Let Me Go

Mark Romanek’s low-key but affecting adaption of Kazou Ishiguro’s award-winning novel takes a familiar Sci-Fi plot — clones are raised in seclusion so that their organs can eventually be harvested — and turns it into a haunting meditation on life, death, love, and fate.  Carey Mulligan, who deserved the Oscar last year for An Education, holds the film together with quiet strength while Kiera Knightley and Andrew Garfield make the most of the more showy supporting roles.

5) Best Actor — Patrick Fabian, The Last Exorcism

Yes, Fabian will never be nominated because The Last Exorcism was a box office flop, a horror film, and it had an ending that generated a lot of negative word of mouth.  However, I believe that Fabian gave the best performance of the year (so far) in this film.  One reason why that over-the-top ending upset so many viewers was because Fabian had kept the film so grounded in reality that the sudden appearance of the supernatural almost felt like a betrayal.  Incidentally, I think that Fabian’s performance was meant to be an homage to former child evangelist Marjoe Gortner.  (And yes, I realize that’s like the 100th time I’ve casually mentioned Marjoe Gortner on this site.  It doesn’t mean anything.  Or does it?)

6) Best Actress — Noomi Rapace, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Mainstream has pretty much already declared Annette Bening to be the winner for her work in The Kids Are All Right but the Grindhouse knows that 2010 was the year of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

7) Best Actress — Katie Jarvis, Fish Tank

Fish Tank probably played too early in the year to be properly remembered by the Academy but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s one of the best films of the year.  Playing an angry but naive British teen, Katie Jarvis gives a fearlessly vulnerable performance.  Just consider the harrowing scene where, after kidnapping her older lover’s daughter, she realizes what a mistake she’s made.

8 ) Best Supporting Actor — John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone

While I hope Winter’s Bone, at the very least, receives nominations for best picture, best actress for Jennifer Lawrence, and a best director nod for Debra Granik, I fear that John Hawkes will be forgotten.  That’s a shame because Hawkes, arguably, gives the strongest performance in the film.  As Lawrence’s drug addicted uncle, Hawkes is both scary and heroic.  If Lawrence represents hope for the future, Hawkes epitomizes the doom of the present.

9) Best Supporting Actress — Chloe Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass

If Moretz is nominated, it’ll probably be for her performance in Let Me In.  However, good as she was in that film, I think her performance in Kick-Ass is even better.  Playing the controversial character of Hit-Girl, Moretz was the film’s foul-mouthed, borderline-psychotic heart.

10) Best Cinematography — Twelve

Yes, Twelve is a dire film that manages to turn a good book into a silly melodrama but the movie is gorgeous to look at.

11) Best Original Score — Machete

As performed by the band Chingon (which features the film’s director, Robert Rodriguez, on guitar), Machete’s score was much like the film itself: over-the-top, shameless, and a lot of fun.   In much the same way that Hans Zimmer’s score made you believe in the world of Inception, Machete’s score literally forces the viewer into the proper Grindhouse mindset.

12) Best Original Song — “Pimps Don’t Cry” from The Other Guys

Oh, why not?

13) Best Feature-Length Documentary — Best Worst Movie

A charming documentary about the making of that infamous film, Troll 2, Best Worst Movie is also a look at how a movie can be so amazingly bad that it eventually becomes a beloved classic.

14) Best Animated Feature — A Town Called Panic 

This surreal, French, stop-motion film only played for a week down here in Dallas and I nearly didn’t get to see it.  I’m glad I did because, seriously, this movie — oh my God.  The best description I’ve heard of it comes from Empire Magazine where it was referred to as being “Toy Story on absinthe.”  Of course, since apparently California can’t even handle legalized weed, it’s probably hoping too much that they’ll be willing to drink the absinthe.

As just a sidenote, isn’t the poster for A Town Called Panic just adorable?  I swear, just looking at it makes me feel happy.