Academy Announces 15 Documentaries For Shortlist; Who Was Snubbed?

There is traditionally an uproar in the blog-o-sphere when the Academy announces their short lists for Best Documentary Feature and Best Foreign Film. A typical year usually contains enough great entries that not everybody’s favorite will make it into the final cut. It comes as no surprise that the Academy’s announcement today of the 15 feature-length documentary films that have made it to the shortlist leaves out a couple critically acclaimed films.

Among those that made the list include expected frontrunners Inside Job and Waiting for “Superman”. Charles Ferguson’s documentary about the people behind fall of the financial system has gotten almost unanimous praise and was one of the most talked about films at a packed full Cannes Film Festival. Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for “Superman” examines an issue that is continually moving to the forefront of American political and social consciousness.

All five of the films on my Oscar predictions ended up making the cut including the first-person war film Restrepo, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, and graffit artist Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop. The latter film was the most uncertain of the bunch when it came to determining the short list because it flirts with the line of fiction and nonfiction in its experimental narrative.

Notable omissions include the Facebook documentary Catfish, the biographical Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, the post 9/11 dramatic doc The Oath, and the Chinese peasant workers film Last Train Home. Of those I have only seen Catfish, which was a fine film, but no surprise at all that it didn’t make the short list.

The entire list of 15 is below. Let me know which ones you have seen and what are your thoughts.

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer directed by Alex Gibney

Enemies of the People directed by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath

Exit through the Gift Shop directed by Banksy

Gasland directed by Josh Fox

Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould directed by Michele Hozer and Peter Raymont

Inside Job directed by Charles Ferguson

The Lottery directed by Madeleine Sackler

Precious Life directed by Shlomi Eldar

Quest for Honor directed by Mary Ann Smothers Bruni

Restrepo directed by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger

This Way of Life directed by Thomas Burstyn

The Tillman Story directed by Amir Bar-Lev

Waiting for “Superman” directed by Davis Guggenheim

Waste Land directed by Lucy Walker

William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe directed by Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler

This is the last time documentaries will be eliminated until nominations are announced on Tuesday, January 25, 2011.

[Source: indieWIRE]

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  • Andrew R.

    Should I make another “Prostitunes” joke?

    Anyway, I haven’t seen any of these, but I’ll bet on Waiting for Superman.

  • I saw Gift Shop, should not get a nomination to be honest.

  • Angel E.

    Gift Shop made me hate Mr Brainwash…
    Banksy rules!.

  • I loved Joan Rivers : Piece of Work. It is very funny and a surprisingly honest doc not only about Rivers but the continous desperation of show business careers. That was the major snub for me. And it would’ve been fun to see Rivers at the Oscars, she is bittingly funny in her stand up. Follow her on twitter and find out for yourself.

  • Angel E.

    The Two Escobars!.

    That was good…

  • briget

    I’ve seen, Exit through the Gift Shop and Gasland. I think it is a shame Gasland wasn’t nominated as it addresses one of the most important issues we face in the world today…..Hydro Fracking. This new process of extracting natural gas (patented by Halliburton) is the biggest environmental threat to our clean water and clean air we all face today. Too bad because it could have helped us in the fight to stop this industry from more destruction. It is the only industry exempt from the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Superfund act that G.W. Bush and Dock Chaney were able to get through in 2005 called the “Halliburton Loophole”

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