With the announcement of the shortlisted films for the Best Documentary Oscar, I can still hold out hope that some of my favorites will make the final cut. I've seen only 10 out of the 15 picks, so I can't exactly offer a comprehensive analysis, though I've heard many say that "An Inconvenient Truth" is a foregone conclusion for the win because of its mass appeal. If I was voting, I'd put my weight behind the following (in no particular order):
1. "Blindsight" -- more than a story about blind kids climbing Mt. Everest, this is about the clash between East and West, overlooked at Toronto and I think still without a U.S. distributor.
2. "Iraq in Fragments" -- beautifully photographed, and one of the few Iraq docs to depict life on the ground for Iraqis that's touching a chord with American audiences.
3. "Jesus Camp" -- truly scary, here's my review and I bet that Ted Haggard scene takes on a whole new meaning now.
4. "The War Tapes" -- one of the best structured and thoughtful Iraq docs to depict U.S. soldier's struggles, both at war and at home.
5. "Shut Up & Sing" -- Dixie Chicks, whatever, but I couldn't hold back the tears, what else can I say?
6. "Sisters in Law" -- I don't think it has a chance in hell with the Academy, but those two fiesty female judges sure do pack a punch.
7. "Jonestown: The Life and Death of People's Temple" -- for me, this is the one. And if it doesn't make the final cut, the Academy will disappoint me in a long line of disappointments. I reviewed the film for UTNE Magazine, here's the link.