"This is disastrous," said one Academy voter in the documentary branch about today's announced shortlist of 15. "This is shocking to me. None of the big-name documentaries seem to have made it. There are at least three films from my section that didn't make it."
With six voting sections drawn from members of the documentary branch screening 124 eligible titles, the Best Documentary Feature race has never been more competitive. Errol Morris may have won the Oscar in 2003 for "The Fog of War" but his new film "Tabloid" did not make the grade with the documentarians who determine the 15 films that will now vie for nominations. Other notable snubs include "Being Elmo: A Pupeteer's Journey," "The Interrupters," "Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life," "Page One: Inside the New York Times" and "Senna."
The 15 finalists are:
"Battle for Brooklyn" (RUMER Inc.)
"Bill Cunningham New York" (First Thought Films)
"Buck" (Cedar Creek Productions)
"Hell and Back Again" (Roast Beef Productions Limited)
"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front" (Marshall Curry Productions, LLC)
"Jane's Journey" (NEOS Film GmbH & Co. KG)
"The Loving Story" (Augusta Films)
"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" (@radical.media)
"Pina" (Neue Road Movies GmbH)
"Project Nim" (Red Box Films)
"Semper Fi: Always Faithful" (Tied to the Tracks Films, Inc.)
"Sing Your Song" (S2BN Belafonte Productions, LLC)
"Undefeated" (Spitfire Pictures)
"Under Fire: Journalists in Combat" (JUF Pictures, Inc.)
"We Were Here" (Weissman Projects, LLC)
The five nominees will be determined by all members of the documentary branch.