I have seen six of the 15 films that have made the Academy's shortlist of 15 films that will compete for Best Documentary at the 2013 Oscars, but I am extremely surprised to see neither The Central Park Five or West of Memphis didn't make it, particularly the former, which was named Best Documentary just this morning by the New York Film Critics.
Personally, of the documentaries I've seen this year, Central Park Five is one of my favorite, though the chronicling of the AIDS/HIV epidemic in How to Survive a Plague and the change of policy instituted as a result of The Invisible War are definitely worthy of note as well.
Two additional docs that will also be among my favorites of the year, that didn't make the shortlist, include the wordless Samsara, which needs to be seen on the largest screen possible to truly be appreciated, and Side by Side, which I think we all knew wasn't going to make the list, but is a film any fan of cinema should be sure to seek out.
Of the 15 films below, the Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees, which will be announced live on Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Of course, I'll be awake bright and early to have that coverage for you.
- Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (Never Sorry LLC)
- Bully (The Bully Project LLC)
- Chasing Ice (Exposure)
- Detropia (Loki Films)
- Ethel (Moxie Firecracker Films)
- 5 Broken Cameras (Guy DVD Films)
- The Gatekeepers (Les Films du Poisson, Dror Moreh Productions, Cinephil)
- The House I Live In (Charlotte Street Films, LLC)
- How to Survive a Plague (How to Survive a Plague LLC)
- The Imposter (Imposter Pictures Ltd.)
- The Invisible War (Chain Camera Pictures)
- Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (Jigsaw Productions in association with Wider Film Projects and Below the Radar Films)
- Searching for Sugar Man (Red Box Films)
- This Is Not a Film (Wide Management)
- The Waiting Room (Open'hood, Inc.)