The Queen of Versailles

As October slowly winds to a close, the air turns crisper, the leaves go red(der?), and the mailboxes of film critics everywhere find themselves stuffed quite fuller, as we enter into (drum roll, please), Official Awards Season. As we approach the bevy of awards shows and spectacles, it’s time to start rolling out the first wave of big-time nominations. Today, that wave includes documentaries.

The 28th International Documentary Association Awards have today announced their five nominations for their Feature category, and there are certainly some recognizable names among the picks. Most notably, Lauren Greenfield’s The Queen of Versailles, Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching for Sugar Man, and Kirby Dick’s The Invisible War all made the cut, joined by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon’s The Central Park Five and Peter Gerdehag’s Women With Cows. Versailles and Sugar Man have both consistently played on the festival circuit this past year, and Invisible War has frequently been discussed when it comes to awards consideration (though our own Chris Campbell presupposes that Sugar Man is an Oscar lock).

But who should win? Who is worthy of such love? Fortunately for all of you dear readers, we’ve reviewed three of the five nominated docs (can’t win ‘em all), so get familiar with our opinions after the break.

Our own Jeremy Kirk called Sugar Man a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Read his SXSW review HERE.

Allison Loring and I both reviewed The Queen of Versailles (double your pleasure), so first up, Allison called the film “a funny, heartfelt and compelling documentary” in her LAFF review (which you can read HERE), whereas I said it was “illuminating, oddly hilarious, ceaselessly watchable” at Sundance (read my review HERE). Wait. We both loved this film. Why haven’t you watched it yet?

And, finally, Simon Gallagher gave The Central Park Five a watch back in May at Cannes. Surprise! He loved the film, writing that it is “enormously engaging, and the presentation, and in particular the editing are very accomplished.” Read his full review HERE.

Nominations for the shorts category were also announced, and that list includes Rebecca Cammisa’s God Is the Bigger Elvis, Sari Gilman’s Kings Point, Cynthia Wade’s Mondays at Racine, Kief Davidson’s Open Heart, and Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s Saving Face. Additionally, the IDA issued nominations for television series American Masters, Independent Lens, and POV for Continuing Series, along with Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan, On Death Row, Slavery: 21st Century Evil, The Weight of the Nation, and George Harrison: Living in the Material World for Limited Series.

The Central Park Five will screen at next month’s AFI FEST, so feel free to check that one out, fellow Angelenos. The IDA Awards will be announced on December 7th. [Variety]

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