More good timing as the Academy has announced its shortlist of 15 advancing titles in the Best Documentary Feature race after Anne and I discussed the field at length on the podcast Friday. And it naturally figures that most of the films we talked about were not passed through.
The biggest omission to my eyes is “The Queen of Versailles,” one of the best films of the year — doc or narrative — period. Maybe they didn’t like that filmmaker Lauren Greenfield lucked into her story, but that film is of the moment and vital as all hell. Alas, this is to be expected. Great stuff is so often skipped over, and it appears the new rules and regs did little to alter that course.
Also left off the list: “West of Memphis,” which is just a travesty. I get worked up every year on this shortlist and I’ll try not to now, but Amy Berg’s film is a monument. Ditto “The Central Park Five,” which just won the New York Film Critics Circle prize for non-fiction film this morning and now has to deal with this.
Others I’d have liked to see make the cut include “Paul Williams Still Alive” and “Marley,” but, alas, it’s all the same as it ever was. Check out the full list below. I’ve put an asterisk next to the ones I currently expect to make the final five. But what do I know?
“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”
“5 Broken Cameras”
“The House I Live In”
“How to Survive a Plague”
“The Invisible War”*
“Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God”*
“Searching for Sugar Man”*
“This is Not a Film”
“The Waiting Room”