Documentary Feature Oscar Nominees Announced. Yawn.

Well here it is. The 2008 Academy Award nominees for best documentary feature have been announced and boy am I not surprised. In fact, I’m completely indifferent. Scratch that, I’m annoyed. What an uninspired selection. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the films on the list. In fact, it wouldn’t be fair to do so seeing as I’ve only seen one of the five selections. (Sicko) I just can’t believe how predictable this list is:

No End in Sight
Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience
Sicko
Taxi to the Dark Side
War/Dance

Wow. 3 out of 5 films deal with the Iraq war, 1 deals with children in the Ugandan war, and 1 is a Michael Moore film. How much more uninspired can the academy get? How is it that with such a great year for documentary film making, the academy STILL can’t bring themselves to nominate films that simply deal with great story telling, inspiring characters and exquisite film making? I know AJ Schnack has been talking about this for some while now on his personal blog, and I haven’t really felt the urge to chime in until now. Again, I have nothing against the nominated films or their filmmakers, but come on academy! There are so many films that you let slip through your fingers that deserved a nod! THREE Iraq documentaries???? Are you trying to prove Seinfeld right? You couldn’t have at least thrown in the abortion film to balance things out?

I don’t want people to think I’m suggesting the academy should mix things up for the sake of mixing things up. Not in the least. I just truly believe that they dropped the ball on this one. Academy, you’ve fucked up in the past and you certainly fucked up this year. Proof yet again that your voters seem to think that nothing can beat a documentary with a political message.

Look at your choices for best picture of the year. There Will Be Blood, Juno, No Country for Old Men, Atonement and Michael Clayton. An alright mix of some great films. Some people are surprised (and delighted) to see Juno getting a nod. So what made you decide to include Juno on your list anyways? What are you looking for in your fiction that you’re ignoring in your non-fiction? Where was Redacted? Where was In the Valley of Elah? Why is it you feel the need to honour THREE Iraq films in the non-fiction category, but are inspired enough to nominate Juno or No Country for Old Men in the best picture category? How does your documentary viewing experience differ from your fiction viewing experience? Where is your non-fiction Juno? Where’s The King of Kong? Where’s Crazy Love? Where’s Zoo? Where’s Billy the Kid? Where’s My Kid Could Paint That?

I want a non-fiction Juno. I want some acknowledgment for MY favourite films of the year. I want the academy to open their minds and start looking at documentaries as films, not 20/20 or Dateline segments. I may be speaking for myself here, but to me, the story of an awkward teen’s first love can be as powerful and moving as the story of a soldier’s first tour of duty in the middle east. If this isn’t true, than how did Juno possibly beat out Redacted for best picture?

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