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Oscar Docs Baffle Again: "Grizzly Man" Snubbed

by Anthony Kaufman
November 16, 2005 2:44 AM
5 Comments
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Can someone explain to me the biggest snub in the recent history of the Oscar documentary branch: that "Grizzly Man" -- Werner Herzog's masterful meditation on nature's cruelty -- did not make AMPAS's shortlist for the Best Documentary category? Since "Grizzly Man" is the best documentary of the year, the omission is baffling. I can only expect to read that the film was deemed ineligible on the grounds of some strange technicality. Of course, "March of the Penguins" -- as a film critic noted to me today -- the "feel-good" nature film of the year made the list -- and will undoubtedly win.

While I'm quite happy to see "Unknown White Male," "The Devil and Daniel Johnston," and "Darwin's Nightmare" on the list, haunting documentaries that defy the popular boring cuteness of "Penguins" and "Mad Hot Ballroom," the "Grizzly Man" loss is truly astounding. And why no "Why We Fight," Eugene Jarecki's excoriating investigation into America's war machine? As with last year's snubs of "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster" and "Control Room," the AMPAS documentary committee continues to confound.

As an executive told me last year at this time, "Whatever the restrictions, whatever the guidelines, it's not a fair representation of the caliber of docs. Maybe DIEBOLD should work in conjunction with the Academy to come up with a better approach."

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5 Comments

  • John | February 1, 2006 11:53 AMReply

    Once in a while the Academy gets it right; any - if any - of the film's artistic merit was greatly overshadowed by Treadwell's obvious lunacy and subsequent inability, in life or death, to bring any worthwile insight or substance to the film.

    The film was borderline exploitation by Herzog.

    It just doesn't play well, and is not a film Herzog should be proud of.

  • Mike | January 15, 2006 9:04 AMReply

    It was the best film of the year, period.

    The Academy is loopy.

  • Matt | November 17, 2005 8:00 AMReply

    I know many who thought the guy in Grizzly Man was just nuts and not worthy of a film. Partly it could be the marketing push, which made the guy seem like a visionary of sort - which he clearly was not. Ultimately I think Academy voters felt it wasn't compelling enough.

  • eamonn | November 16, 2005 5:29 AMReply

    it's truly grizzly that the herzog film was left off. as far as control room last year and why we fight - technicalities were the reason. which is a bigger problem than judicial failings. in this age of worldwide funding and splintered windows, the fact the film pretty much can't play on tv anywhere in the world before full us theatrical exploitation is completely impractical. need new rules for the modern world.

  • heavyblow | November 16, 2005 5:18 AMReply

    It's "ineligible", not "illegible". I didn't care for "Grizzly Man" that much, but it certainly was not illegible. :-)

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