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David Poland

By David Poland

The Academy Doc Short List Emerges

6:00p Update
Last night and today is the tome when The Academy lets filmmakers know whether they are on the doc short list. This entry will evolve as more informations comes in…
Already in:
Autism: The Musical
Body of War
Lake of Fire
– no official website available
No End In Sight
Operation Homecoming
The Price of Sugar
Taxi To The Darkside

Next rumor at #11 – The Rape Of Europa
Amongst the “expected by many, but unheard from as of yet”:
Crazy Love
For the Bible Tells Me So
I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life & Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal
Jimmy Carter Man from Plains
My Enemy’s Enemy
My Kid Could Paint That
Pete Seeger: The Power of Song
Primo Levi’s Journey
Terror’s Advocate

And apparently Out are:
Darfur, Now
The Devil Came on Horseback
In The Shadow Of The Moon
The King Of Kong
Manda Bala
Steal a Pencil for Me
We Are Together

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16 Responses to “The Academy Doc Short List Emerges”

  1. Noah says:

    I really hope The Devil Came on Horseback is on there…

  2. scooterzz says:

    not that it would have won but i’d have liked to see ‘king of kong’ make the cut….
    this may turn out to be the only category in which one of the ‘sand movies’ stands a chance…

  3. My initial sense is that Sicko will win the category, with No End In Sight being a sleeper alternative. Box-office, marketability, relevance to the time period, controversy, etc. will probably help solidify another Oscar for Michael Moore. Thoughts?

  4. Noah says:

    I would ordinarily agree with you, Scott, but I really think No End in Sight is such a better doc that anybody who actually watches both will be struck by that reality. I’m rooting for The Devil Came on Horseback, but I think No End in Sight is the most important “Iraq” film made and I think that the war is on a lot more people’s minds right now than healthcare. But, I could be wrong.

  5. lazarus says:

    I’d be surprised if In the Shadow of the Moon doesn’t get in. It’s not a hot button issue film, but it’s pretty inspiring, and it’s something that all the fogies in the Academy are going to love reliving.

  6. Jimmy Carter by way of Jonathan Demme has got to get in, right?

  7. Noah says:

    I can’t believe The Devil Came on Horseback didn’t even make the shortlist. Granted, it’s a tough year for documentaries, but that one was an important film on an important topic and done so well. I’m really broken up about this one. I can’t believe Sicko and Body of War were put in ahead of it.

  8. jeffmcm says:

    I’m disappointed at myself for missing so many of these, but at the same time if they’re only going to show Lake of Fire for a week that doesn’t leave much of a window of opportunity.
    PS: I worked on one of the short-listed films, so that’s nice.

  9. I recently rented CRAZY LOVE and did NOT get what all the hype is about. Sure, it’s a great story….but the story has been recounted endlessly in print and television. It’s not like the filmmakers discovered a great story and made a doc about it. I also didn’t think it was made particularly well nor was it made to look interesting. It looked like Doc Film 101 filmmaking.
    That being said, I hope KING OF KONG sneaks in there!

  10. wjpr says:

    In my opinion, having seen most of these, OPERATION HOMECOMING is the best one on this list. I’m shocked the academy found it. If you haven’t seen it — you should. It’s a non-political, yet profoundly affecting, look at the war directly from the soldiers’ point of view. Not medicine! Entertaining and totally unique (so few docs blaze new ground these days). check it out.

  11. a1amoeba says:

    “Wiener Takes All” for 2008!

  12. Did docs like Moon, Kong, Horseback, Paint, Plains and Darfur not meet the eligibility criteria of however many cities or whatever it is. Or what? Cause those are pretty high profile as documentaries go and to not be on there is very strange.
    Shame about Steal a Pencil For Me :p
    Jeff, congrats, are you allowed to say which one?

  13. jeffmcm says:

    It can’t have been an eligibility thing for Kong or Moon, it must have been the selection committee literally not choosing them, which is lame.
    I was assistant editor on the one that’s misspelled.

  14. movieman says:

    Glad to see “Lake of Fire” made the list: that’s a pleasant surprise coming from those incredibly myopic folks at the Academy doc committee.
    “Fire,” “Sicko” and “No End in Sight” are the obvious doc class acts of the early finalists.
    I’m guessing the Oscar will probably go to “No End.”
    And shockingly–considering the subject matter–it’s probably the least ‘controversial” and divisive of the bunch.
    Too bad about “Devil Came on Horseback” not making the cut, though. I just watched it a few weeks back on DVD and thought it
    was terrific.

  15. tinkerfran says:

    I was lucky to see BODY OF WAR at AFI fest in LA. It was sold out but someone had an extra ticket and I popped in. I have seen NO END IN SIGHT and all the other Iraq docs. All good, all have a purpose. But BODY does something all If you don’t know anyone affected by this war, the others don’t: it makes the war personal. If you don’t know someone directly affected by the war, you will after you watch the film. Some scenes are painful, and the hero is not always heroic, but the film will rattle your heart and soul and move even the most cynical viewer to tears. BODY is deceptively simple in its structure and brings you into the bedroom of a man who lost everything in the war, while his country did nothing. He watches his brother get shipped to Iraq, while he is denied basic care from the VA. So many great docs, but BODY deserves to win.

  16. djk813 says:

    They’ve released the official list:
    Autism: The Musical
    Body of War
    For the Bible Tells Me So
    Lake of Fire
    No End in Sight
    Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience
    Please Vote for Me
    The Price of Sugar
    A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman
    The Rape of Europa
    Taxi to the Dark Side
    White Light/Black Rain

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon