Today’s announcement of the Oscar nominations brought some deep feelings from yours truly. My favorite doc of 2014, one that I’d been sure was the frontrunner for the win, let alone a nomination, was snubbed. Is Steve James just unlucky with the Academy? Did I jinx Life Itself with my professed certainty, which I’ll note was before Citizenfour came along and proved an even more likely leader? Should I be focused on the positive, that I don’t hate any of the feature nominees for once (though I haven’t seen The Salt of the Earth yet), even if all I am thinking regarding the Finding Vivian Maier nod is how much this will raise the profile of Maier’s work, which of course benefits co-director John Maloof?
But anyway, I am actually pretty excited about the short doc nominees this year, mainly because White Earth is the film I took part in awarding a jury prize at the New Orleans Film Festival last year. It’s brilliant and gorgeous, and while it doesn’t quite make up for the lack of The Overnighters in the feature category, it is focused on the same area and effects of the North Dakota oil boom. I also like Joanna a lot, as much as I can like something so sad as a film about a woman spending time with her son before she dies. Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 is pretty basic stuff and doesn’t belong, though.
But anyway, it’s also nice to see at least one other category include a doc, and while I haven’t yet seen Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, I do like the tune from the film that’s nominated for the best original song Oscar.
Here are the 11 nonfiction films nominated for Academy Awards this year:
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
BEST DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
BEST MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me