MOVIES | 15 documentary features advance in 2010 Oscar race


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 83rd Academy Awards. 101 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 Enemies of the People tells the story of the Killing Fields of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge, which ran what is regarded as one of the 20th century’s most brutal regimes. Investigative journalist Thet Sambath gained the trust, and interviews, a high-up Khmer Rouge leader, as well as foot soldiers. The film is currently being shown at the St. Anthony Main Theatre.

The Lottery follows four families from Harlem and the Bronx who have entered their children in a charter school lottery. Out of thousands of hopefuls, only a small minority will win the chance of a better future.

Waiting for “Superman” explores the tragic ways in which the American public education system is failing our nation’s children, and explores the roles that charter schools and education reformers could play in offering hope for the future and is currently being shown at the Lagoon Cinema.

Waste Land is about Vic Muniz, an artist who creates treasure out of trash; using cast-offs he finds at the largest garbage dump on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Muniz fashions re-creations of famous paintings, and he made an evocative series of images of children who work in sugar plantations using the leftovers from the refining process. It is also being shown at the Lagoon Cinema.

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.