With the animated feature film short list coming in for this year’s upcoming Academy Awards, it’s the documentary side of filmmaking’s turn in the spotlight.
And I must say, this is definitely an interesting list of possible nominees:
‘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)
The first thing people may notice, is that there are seemingly huge snubs here. Not only are rather beloved critical darlings like The Art Of The Steal and A Film Unfinished not on this list, but popular box office draws like the word-of-mouth hit Catfish and the pop culture doc Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work are both also not named on this list.
However, there are more than a few interesting choices that did make it on the list. Personally, the biggest and greatest shock is the addition of the film The Lottery, which while being compared to and lost in the wake of the much more popular, and the considered front-runner, Waiting For Superman, is far superior in both narrative, and politics-free style. Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer is a welcome addition, as is the hugely popular Exit Through The Gift Shop and the brilliant documentary Inside Job.
Now, as fans of the documentary world, one could posit, that someday, down the line, one or more of these films could very well join the Criterion Collection. Personally, of the ones that I’ve had a chance to see, The Lottery would be an absolute perfect fit. Restrepo could also be an interesting, if controversial choice, with Inside Job being both the least likely, and most culturally relevant. I could only imagine the special features that could be conjured up for that film. As far as the award goes, don’t be shocked if it’s either Superman or Inside Job’s name being called. Hopefully it’s the latter.