The Academy has named 15 films advancing to the voting process for Best Documentary Feature. They were chosen from 126 films that qualified for the award, under new rules that required branch members to screen and vote on all the films. This method would seem to favor the most high-profile films, and most of the shortlist films are well-known at this point, but I am happy to see “The Waiting Room” among the nominees.
The most surprising omissions include Sundance entries “Queen of Versailles,” which may have seemed too entertaining, “Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present,” Kubrick doc “Room 237,” and Amy Berg’s “West of Memphis,” which may have seemed too familiar after three respected “Paradise Lost” films, the last of which was nominated last year. The branch may also have objected to the degree to which producer PeterJackson, who invested in forensic research in order to solve the crime, inserted himself in the film.
Surprisingly, Ken Burns’ well-reviewed New York Film Critics Circle winner “Central Park Five” did not make the cut, nor did Kevin Macdonald’s excellent music doc “Marley.” The others left out of a dramatically competitive field had won some attention from festivals and doc groups: “Broken Castle,” “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” “Kumare,” “Women with Cows,” “Love Marilyn,” “Paul Williams: Still Alive” and “The Movement.”
Five films will be chosen by the Academy’s Documentary branch members, and the winner will be announced at the Academy Awards on February 24.
The 15 films are:
“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” Never Sorry LLC
“Bully,” The Bully Project LLC
“Chasing Ice,” Exposure
“Detropia,” Loki Films
“Ethel,” Moxie Firecracker Films
“5 Broken Cameras,” Guy DVD Films
“The Gatekeepers,” Les Films du Poisson, Dror Moreh Productions, Cinephi
“The House I Live In,” Charlotte Street Films, LLC
“How to Survive a Plague,” How to Survive a Plague LLC
“The Imposter,” Imposter Pictures Ltd.
“The Invisible War,” Chain Camera Pictures
“Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” Jigsaw Productions in association with Wider Film Projects and Below the Radar Films
“Searching for Sugar Man,” Red Box Films
“This Is Not a Film,” Wide Management
“The Waiting Room,” Open’hood, Inc.