By my count, Lixin Fan's "Last Train Home" and Laura Poitras' "The Oath" are the two best documentaries of the year. Yet, neither will be nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar this year.
The Academy unveiled its annual short list of titles vying for one of five slots in the best doc race (analysis by AJ Schnack), leaving those two terrific new films unable to secure a nomination (both were released by doc distribution experts Zeitgeist Films). Cheers, of course, to the filmmakers who made the cut. Still, its sad to see such excellence in non-fiction filmmaking overlooked.
I chatted with one short list contender last night. As excited as the filmmaker was about being included in the running, the director said was taking it in stride due to AMPAS's erratic track record in the category. The filmmaker actually admitted to feeling more worthy of a nomination in previous years, but is still honored to be included.
Both films are rightfully nominated for best doc of the year at the upcoming 2010 Cinema Eye awards. Congrats!