15 Films Up for Best Documentary
The documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has already tightened the race for Best Documentary to 15 films. They are:
- Steve James and Peter Gilbert's death-penalty critique "At the Death House Door"
- Ellen Kuras' "The Betrayal," about the impact of 1980s U.S. military operations on a Laotian family
- "Fuel," Josh Tickell's examination of America's oil dependency
- "I.O.U.S.A.," Patrick Creadon's primer on the nation's fiscal crisis
- Carl Deal and Tia Lessin's Hurricane Katrina chronicle "Trouble the Water"
- Errol Morris' Abu Ghraib thinkpiece "Standard Operating Procedure"
- Werner Herzog's visit to the South Pole, "Encounters at the End of the World"
- Gini Reticker's celebration of female peace activists in Liberia, "Pray the Devil Back to Hell"
- Daniel Junge's true-crime account "They Killed Sister Dorothy"
- Roberta Grossman's "Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh," about a Hungarian-born Jew who fought to save her people during WWII.
- Stacy Peralta's "Made in America"
- Scott Hamilton Kennedy's "The Garden"
- Scott Hicks' "Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts"
- Jeremiah Zagar's "In a Dream"
- James Marsh's "Man on Wire."
Check 'em out wherever you can. I've only seen two of the 15: "Man on Wire" and "I.O.U.S.A." The first was uplifting and beautiful; the second was scarier than all hell. And that was before banks starting collapsing.
I'm particularly interested in seeing the death-penalty critique. If the use of DNA evidence has taught us anything, it's that we sometimes arrest and convict people innocent of the charges against them. And the only reason we haven't yet found a case where an innocent man was put to death by the state (that is, by us), it's because the dead don't petition for a new trial.