Oscar's 2010 Feature Documentary Shortlist Revealed

After viewing 101 contenders for Best Feature Documentary for the 83rd Academy Awards, the Documentary Branch has revealed the final 15 contenders shortlist for nomination consideration.

This list is in alphabetical order:

  • 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)

Of the 15 films on that list I've seen only five of them (Client 9, Exit through the Gift Shop, Inside Job, The Tillman Story and Waiting for 'Superman') and of the rest I've only really heard of Restrepo and The Lottery and quite frankly I'm surprised to see both The Lottery and Waiting for 'Superman' both making the shortlist.

So it's a bit difficult for me to make any kind of valid predictions considering I'm at a disadvantage when it comes to my knowledge on all of these, but based on those I've seen and heard of my predictions look like this:

  1. Exit through the Gift Shop
  2. The Lottery
  3. Inside Job
  4. Restrepo
  5. The Tillman Story
  6. Waiting for 'Superman'
  7. Client 9

Not only is Exit through the Gift Shop a solid documentary, it's a film that has generated buzz from all demographics and did a good job of turning the documentary world on its head to the point everyone started questioning the legitimacy of the year's docs. One film not shortlisted, Catfish, is one such example.

I'm also surprised to see the Joan Rivers doc, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, not on the shortlist. This is a film that had a ton of good reviews and while I never had a chance to see it, it was one that was on my list of must sees. The Jean-Michel Basquiat doc, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, is another one that missed the list much, I'm sure, to RopeofSilicon writer Bill Cody's chagrin.

Of the 15 films shortlisted, five will be selected for nomination. The nominees will be announced on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

For all of my awards season coverage stop by "The Contenders" to view my predictions, the award schedule, news and much more.