The Writer's Guild of America has announced its slate of nominees for the 2006 Documentary Screenplay Award, and there are a few surprises mixed in with the usual suspects. First things first: March of the Penguins and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, the hands-down biggest docs of the year, both landed nods. But also on the list are Street Fight, written and directed by Marshall Curry; The Fall of Fujimori, written by Ellen Perry & Zack Anderson & Kim Roberts; and Cowboy Del Amor, by Michelle Ohayon. Cowboy seems to have all but disappeared since it won the documentary prize at SXSW last spring. Its nomination is of interest, since the aspect of the film I most clearly remember nine months later is its distinct lack of an authorial thread. Not only is the film narration-free, but at times, Ohayon's unwillingness to pass judgement on her subject feels like the film's fatal flaw. Also of note: Penguins appears to have been nominated not in its original incarnation, but specifically for the English-language narration mandated by American distributor Warner Independent, and recorded by Morgan Freeman. It's easy to raise an eyebrow at such an odd batch of nominees, because the WGA doesn't exactly have a proven track record when it comes to making excellent choices in this category – the innagural Documentary award was given out last year, to Super Size Me writer/director/star Morgan Spurlock.
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