AMPAS announces doc feature short list, ‘Anvil,’ ‘Capitalism’ snubbed

Posted by · 3:51 pm · November 18th, 2009

The CoveYou can check out the full press release here.  The list of 15 competing titles as follows:

“The Beaches of Agnes,” Agnès Varda, director (Cine-Tamaris)
“Burma VJ,” Anders Østergaard, director (Magic Hour Films)
“The Cove,” Louie Psihoyos, director (Oceanic Preservation Society)
“Every Little Step,” James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo, directors (Endgame Entertainment)
“Facing Ali,” Pete McCormack, director (Network Films Inc.)
“Food, Inc.,” Robert Kenner, director (Robert Kenner Films)
“Garbage Dreams,” Mai Iskander, director (Iskander Films, Inc.)
“Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders,” Mark N. Hopkins, director (Red Floor Pictures LLC)
“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers,” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, directors (Kovno Communications)
“Mugabe and the White African,” Andrew Thompson and Lucy Bailey, directors (Arturi Films Limited)
“Sergio,” Greg Barker, director (Passion Pictures and Silverbridge Productions)
“Soundtrack for a Revolution,” Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, directors (Freedom Song Productions)
“Under Our Skin,” Andy Abrahams Wilson, director (Open Eye Pictures)
“Valentino The Last Emperor,” Matt Tyrnauer, director (Acolyte Films)
“Which Way Home,” Rebecca Cammisa, director (Mr. Mudd)

Of these I know there are concentrated efforts on behalf of “The Cove,” “Every Little Step,” “Facing Ali,” “Food, Inc.,” “Mugabe and the White African,” “Under our Skin” and “Valentino: The Last Emperor.” That doesn’t necessarily mean the five will come from that set, of course, as there is definitely passion for “Burma VJ” and “The Most Dangerous Man in America.”

The story, of course, is the snubbing of Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story.” Maybe it was just too passe, stylistically.  “Tyson” was left off too, though I doubt we can draw an honest parallel to the film’s subject decking a guy at the airport recently.  However, given the huge passion base for “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” and “We Live in Public,” it’s certainly surprising that neither made the cut.

I’ll have to get on the ball and check most of these out finally.  But if I had to peg a winner, especially given the snubs…well, you know.

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28 responses so far

  • 1 11-18-2009 at 3:54 pm

    Mr. F said...

    I guess that Anvil being the first DVD screener sent out did not help.

  • 2 11-18-2009 at 3:55 pm

    Georgie said...

    Was The September Issue eligible?

  • 3 11-18-2009 at 3:56 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Wow, I didn’t realize “The Beaches of Agnes” was eligible. That makes for a very difficult personal choice for me between Varda’s film and “Mugabe and the White African.”

    But what happened to “The September Issue?”

  • 4 11-18-2009 at 3:57 pm

    Amir said...

    NO LOVE FOR ANVIL? unbelievable.

  • 5 11-18-2009 at 3:58 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I was pretty sure “Anvil!” wasn’t their cup of tea at all, so I never thought a nomination was all that likely. But not to make the Top 15 … that’s gotta hurt.

    I only just noticed the “Capitalism” snub, but I can’t say I’m that surprised. I’m guessing Moore’s schtick just feels a bit old-hat to them by now.

  • 6 11-18-2009 at 4:00 pm

    Brian said...

    Is Anvil eligible for original song, at all? I haven’t seen it yet, but I love the idea of these old rockers rocking out on Oscar night. Maybe for Green Hornet.

  • 7 11-18-2009 at 4:00 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Anvil’s just…not very good. There, I said it. Love those guys, but it’s an extremely derivative film.

  • 8 11-18-2009 at 4:01 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    “We Live in Public” is an another semi-surprising exclusion, but I can’t say the film did much for me.

  • 9 11-18-2009 at 4:26 pm

    TPK said...

    What about Outrage? Not eligible?

  • 10 11-18-2009 at 4:28 pm

    Chris said...

    I agree with Kris on “Anvil”. The film’s not the emotional voyage many people want it to be. It’s a film I will probably never watch again.

  • 11 11-18-2009 at 4:47 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Kris, do you see The Cove catching on in the same way that, oh say, Man on Wire did, or is this a situation where those who have seen it will have to bang the drums loud and hard for it to achieve Oscar gold?

  • 12 11-18-2009 at 4:50 pm

    The Other James D. said...

    No doubt bloggers everywhere (well, the ones who pay attention to Docs) will be crying foul. I have no opinion yet, but I’m still intrigued to see “Anvil”. I’m rather amused at the “Capitalism” omission though. Well deserved–it just isn’t as strong as Moore’s past works, or one of the 5 best, so glad it’s mainstream appeal won’t matter.

    I’m sad for “We Live in Public”. Seemed intriguing, and it’s female-helmed. Tsk!

    And yeah, was “The September Issue” ineligible or snubbed as well?

  • 13 11-18-2009 at 5:18 pm

    geha714 said...

    Hooray for Burma VJ. My fingers are crossed.

    I bet than The Cove and Food Inc. as two of the final five. I hope than Burma VJ makes it, but I give it 50/50 chances. The other two spots are open, but I’m curious about the Mugabe doc.

    No problem for Mike Moore left out but I was rooting for Collapse. We Live In Public was intriguing too but the Academy likes this kind of positive or socially concern docs, like when Born Into Brothels beat Super Size Me.

  • 14 11-18-2009 at 5:21 pm

    Glenn said...

    If “Capitalism” was snubbed because it wasn’t good enough then I’d say that’s the same reason “The September Issue” isn’t there. It’s interesting in the way that something about Vogue magazine can’t not be interesting, but it’s generally flat and doesn’t do anything with the documentary format that can’t be seen on TV.

    “Anvil” never interested me, to be honest.

    I’m thinking “The Cove”, “Food Inc”, “Mugabe and the White African”, “Every Little Step” (it’s the documentary version of a hit!) and “Beaches of Agnes” in a sort of Herzog like nomination.

  • 15 11-18-2009 at 5:32 pm

    Vito said...

    Wow. Totally shocked at the snubbings honestly.

  • 16 11-18-2009 at 5:46 pm

    Brooke said...

    I’m surprised that We Live in Public isn’t here. At the very least it’s topical, I guess?

    I also loved it, but that’s neither here nor there.

  • 17 11-18-2009 at 5:51 pm

    alfie said...

    Anvil is a GREAT film.

  • 18 11-18-2009 at 6:11 pm

    Walr7s said...

    Hey noobies

    “The eligibility period begins on September 1, 2008, and ends on August 31, 2009. “

  • 19 11-18-2009 at 6:13 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Anvil is not very good. But neither is The Cove, I’d say. I’m bummed that The Windmill Movie didn’t make it in.

  • 20 11-18-2009 at 7:49 pm

    aspect ratio said...

    For anyone interested, /Film has collected the trailers for all the fifteen docs:

  • 21 11-18-2009 at 8:13 pm

    JP said...

    It’s The Cove x Food Inc., but considering that the plot related to food was already used in other docs, such as Super Size Me, I think The Cove will be the winner.

  • 22 11-18-2009 at 8:33 pm

    Joel said...

    I’d say it’s between “The Cove” and “Food, Inc.” But I’ve seen neither of them. So I’m basing that opinion off of close to absolutely nothing.

  • 23 11-18-2009 at 8:38 pm

    davey said...

    I hope The Beaches of Agnes gets nominated. A very special film. I liked both Every Little Step and Valentino but I’m not sure I would put them in the top five.

  • 24 11-18-2009 at 9:21 pm

    Matt said...

    Anvil’s not very good because documentaries aren’t very good. But as far as documentaries go I found it infinitely more entertaining than “Man on *snore* ohh, uh, Wire”.

  • 25 11-19-2009 at 3:50 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    @Walr7s: You don’t mention the crucial second clause of that rule:

    “An extension of the eligibility period to September 30, 2009, may be granted only if the film has legal contracts with exhibitors guaranteeing that it will complete both qualifying commercial runs before the extension deadline.”

    “Capitalism” began its run on September 23, just in time to make this deadline. A lot of commenters around the web are saying it was ineligible, which is incorrect.

  • 26 11-19-2009 at 4:17 am

    Mr. Harmonica said...


    Sniff, sniff.

    Smells like philistine!

  • 27 11-30-2009 at 7:52 pm

    Francis said...

    I am glad Garbage Dreams made it. I really liked that film. It is unassuming film, but very real and moving.

    I also liked Burma VJ.