This Monday also saw the beginning of voting, with ballots being sent out to AMPAS members. Ballots are due back by January 3rd at the most, making this a pretty short window for people to get updated on the movies they missed out on throughout the year. Here is the massive list of 282 movies eligible for this year’s Oscar.
So let’s discuss the Documentary Shortlist, take a look at the swag movies are giving away and check the updated predictions below. Coming later today, we’ll take a look at a comprehensive list of movies competing in the Foreign Film category.
Best Documentary Oscar: The Shortlist of Contenders
Thanks to a new voting procedure, this year's list might not be perfect, but it's provocative.
- 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.)
Out of these, the most likely nominees are the following:
Searching for Sugar Man
Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul embarks on a quest to discover the story of Sixto Rodriguez, a '70s singer-songwriter whose music became a generational anthem in South Africa while he lived anonymously in Detroit. 60 Minutes already has aired excerpts of the film.
How to Survive a Plague
Chronicling how activist groups like ACT UP organized to fight the AIDS epidemic, David France's film already is one of the year's winners, picking up a Gotham Award for best doc and best first film honors from the New York Film Critics Circle.
Also focusing on Israeli-Palestinian relations, Dror Moreh's film, which Sony Pictures Classics acquired after its Jerusalem flm fest debut, offers interviews with six former directors of Shin Bet, Israel's secretive internal security agency, who are all critical of current policies.
The Invisible War
From Kirby Dick, an Oscar nominee for 2004's Twist of Fate, comes this indictment of the U.S. military for allowing a culture of rape to develop within its ranks. Festivalgoers at Sundance rewarded it with an audience award.
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
Alex Gibney, who exposed torture by the U.S. in his Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side in 2007, takes on pedophilia in the Catholic Church in his latest film -- which will air on HBO -- and pursues his investigation all the way to Rome.
You can read the full list, including Bully and This is not a Film, here. Also check out this link for trailers and a complete coverage on documentaries
Oscar Excess: Lincoln Cookbooks and Haggis Chips
AMPAS members, after all, are bound by a series of increasingly stringent campaign regulations that determine what can be sent to them, how it can be packaged and even how heavy the paper can be on which it is printed.
No such restrictions bind the studios from sending materials to voters in other guilds or in critics' groups -- so in addition to the glut of yearend screeners, campaign materials often scale the heights of pomp and circumstance and silliness.
As a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, and therefore a voter for the Critics Choice Movie Awards, I receive this stuff on a daily basis. (Some of it is also sent to reporters who cover awards season, which means I receive it twice.) And while this year hasn't brought anything like last year's "Descendants" ukulele, here are five over-the-top moments from 2012's awards-season promotions:
1. All Lincoln, All the Time
"'Lincoln' letters come every other day," one Academy member told me this week of the full-court-press that DreamWorks/Disney film is making. And for those who aren't in the Academy, the film has embarked on a feverish campaign to paint the film as big, classy and different.
The non-AMPAS screener itself, for instance, came packaged in a lavish white box in a limited edition (I got number 88 out of 250), with a photo of Lincoln and his son and a quote from A.O. Scott of the New York Times. Inside were photos and more quotes cradling the screener.
(Academy members, by contrast, got the film in a plain cardboard sleeve.)
They also sent the "Lincoln" soundtrack (two copies so far), a theatrical-style program for the movie, the sheet music to John Williams' theme "The People's House," the screenplay packaged as a hardcover book (its Tony Kushner screenplay was packaged to look like a hardcover coffee-table book.) and the "A. Lincoln Cook Book," which calls itself "a cook book of epic proportions" and also contains a "digital postcard" DVD from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Can a Free the Slaves board game be far behind?
3. Steven Soderbergh's Pitch
But the BFCA letter from Steven Soderberg that accompanied a "Magic Mike" screener came as something of a surprise, partly because Soderberg is not one to hit the campaign trail and partly because "Magic Mike" is hardly an awards-type movie.
But Soderberg, it turned out, had a specific pitch to make: "I'm breaking my long-standing embargo regarding pleas for recognition because the core creative team of MAGIC MIKE really hopes people are reminded at the end of the year of Matthew McConaughey's performance as Dallas, which we found to be completely bananas in the best sense of the word," he wrote. "As he says in the film, 'The moon is just a chip shot away!'"
5. Feed Me
And Pixar took advantage of the fact that St. Andrews Day, the feast day of the patron saint of Scotland, conveniently falls on Nov. 30, in the thick of awards season. On that day, they delivered a basket of "traditional Scottish delicacies," which included shortbread biscuits, butterscotch candies, 200 ml of Johnnie Walker Red Label Scotch and, um, haggis and cracked black pepper flavored potato chips.
For the record, the haggis chips aren't awful, but they do have a funky aftertaste.
But then again, so does Oscar season.
This is an excerpt. The full article can be found here
Long list: David O. Russell, Quentin Tarantino
Long list: Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), Bill Murray (Hyde Park on Hudson)
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