The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed their list of the final group of 15 films that will contend for the Best Documentary Feature award this week, and with said announcement comes a twinge of bittersweetness. On one hand, the very powerful documentary The Cove — a Sundance premiere that takes on the brutal killing of dolphins in Japan — did make it to the final 15, as did the sensational SXSW pic Garbage Dreams and the incredibly fascinating food industry doc Food Inc.
On the other hand, fan (and critic) favorite Anvil! The Story of Anvil — the energetic, sad story of one of the most famous rock bands that you’ve never heard of — was curiously missing from the list, as was multi-Oscar nominee Michael Moore’s latest film Capitalism: A Love Story, a doc about our current financial crisis. While Michael Moore has had his date with Oscar, his film did seem to fall somewhat on deaf ears with critics, many of whom are sick and tired of his shtick. It is sad to see however, that Anvil! did not make it into the final 15. For many pundits — I would include myself in this group wholeheartedly — Anvil! was the odds-on favorite to win the award, as it was easily the best documentary released this year. But sadly, it will not get the recognition it so desperately deserves.
That said, I would urge you to see Anvil! as well as the 15 docs on the list below, as they are some of the best real stories you’ll see this year. For more on Anvil!, check out our Exclusive Interview with director Sacha Gervasi.
The Beaches of Agnes – Directed by Agnes Varda
Burma VJ – Directed by Anders Ostergaard
The Cove – Directed by Louie Psihoyos
Every Little Step – Directed by James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo
Facing Ali – Directed by Pete McCormack
Food, Inc. – Directed by Robert Kenner
Garbage Dreams – Directed by Mai Iskander
Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders – Directed by Mark N. Hopkins
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers – Directed by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
Mugabe and the White African – Directed by Andrew Thompson and Lucy Bailey
Sergio – Directed by Greg Barker
Soundtrack for a Revolution – Directed by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman
Under Our Skin – Directed by Andy Abrahams Wilson
Valentino The Last Emperor – Directed by Matt Tyrnauer
Which Way Home – Directed by Rebecca Cammisa