OSCAR: 15 Documentaries Will Advance

Beverly Hills, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 83rd Academy Awards®.  One hundred-one pictures had originally qualified in the category.

The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company:

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 Documentary Branch Screening Committee viewed all the eligible documentaries for the preliminary round of voting.  Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles on the shortlist.

The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network.  The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

  1. Whoa there…Did Sony drop the ball? I thought this was the year that “Michael Jackson’s This is It” was eligible since it premiered too late for last year’s awards. Did they forget??

    1. notice it said 101 films were initially qualified but only 15 got passed through for the next round of voting, notice joan rivers: a piece of work is not on that list either

    2. The best documentary I saw last year bar none was The Two Escobars by Jeff Zimbalist. It blew me away, seems like a major oversight.

      1. I don’t believe that The Two Escobars, being an HBO production, has received any showings in theaters. It’s also only an hour long, if that factors into the rules.

  2. I wasn’t impressed with ‘Enemies of the People’… it’s a weaker ‘Burma VJ.’

    ‘Waste Land’ is easily the best Documentary I’ve seen this year and it won the Sundance Audience Award just as ‘The Cove’ did last year.

    Still, ‘Waiting for Superman’ should have the inside track thanks to Guggenheim’s reputation, and I’m sure Harvey will make a strong push for ‘The Tillman Story.’

    1. Waste Land won the Sundance Audience Award Documentary World Cinema. Waiting for Superman actually won the Sundance Audience Award US, historically a much bigger deal.

      The Cove, Murderball, and Born Into Brothels all won the US one. Man on Wire did win the World Cinema one.

    2. I thought “Enemies” was awesome, and way better than “Burma VJ”, IMHO. “Burma VJ” was a pretty disorganized story in some ways. “Enemies of the People” has soul and courage- and clarity.

  3. “Waiting For Superman” will win of course, (how could it not with the perfect combo of high-profile cause, celebrity & governmental support and box-office.) But there were 2 notable docs this year which deserved nods, “Joan Rivers – A Piece of Work.” Say what you will about her, the film has dome substantial business and is still running in art houses and “This Is It,” which did huge business and deserved a nomination.

    The Oscar committee solely bases it’s noms on weighty “social issue” docs.

    1. NOT TRUE! That assumption is a total fallacy. As with all Awards which are determined by qualified, creative professionals- the nuances are highly personalized. The Academy’s stated criteria are pretty simple: “what (film) do you think an audience would appreicate the most?” But each filmmaker sitting in a judging position is as complex and uniquely individual as the films and the filmmakers being considered.

  4. Waste Land deserves the win, hands down. It’s brilliant and beautiful, haunting and inspirational. Loved it.

  5. WILLIAM KUNSTLER: DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE is amazing! So happy to see it on the shortlist, and can’t wait to see it officially nominated for an Oscar. It deserves to win.

  6. “Waiting for Superman” will get a nom, but I don’t think it should win. It’s trendy to dump on teachers but there are many problems with that doc. It’s not a fair view of education today. Just google the articles about the doc to see what it didn’t get right.

  7. I don’t think anyone can legitimately criticize whether or not a film was unjustly “snubbed” unless they themselves have viewed all 101 entries and can honestly say, for example, that “Catfish” made it into their top 15.

  8. It is UNFORGIVABLE that “A Film Unfinished” is not in the cut – absolutely UNFORGIVABLE. This is a film that should – no, MUST – be seen by everyone. Unlike so many of the films that made the shortlist, this one truly deserves whatever awards it can get.

  9. So glad to see “Exit Through the Gift Shop”, “The Tillman Story”, “Inside Job” and “Gasland” on this list. They are all fantastic. I can’t figure out why the great doc “The Art of the Steal” about the hijacking of the Barnes Collection wasn’t included as it was every bit as good as these others.

  10. I agree a few were snubbed BIG time: ” Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” and “A Small Act” Both relevant and inspirational films in their own right.

    Sometimes, I just hate the Academy.

    PS Waiting for Superman: Duh, no brainer. Oprah dedicated a whole show, Davis G etc. It will win.

  11. So many great films to choose from. I pick Gasland for its sheer immediacy and urgency of message and for its guts in taking on the rulers of the world, the gas and oil industry. This is our water, the lifeblood of the earth that is threatened!

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