I keep forgetting there are ten nominees for Best Picture this year. And when I try to name them all, a few titles are consistently lost in the bunch. Are District 9 and Up really in contention? And A Serious Man, too? Because it sure doesn't feel like it. Seems more like a five-film race, as always.
Likewise, it's hard to think of there being five Oscar nominees for Best Documentary Feature when the race is clearly focused on only two films, The Cove and Food, Inc. These are obviously the popular favorites because they are available on DVD. Could you even name the other nominees without looking them up?
The sad thing is, looking up the other three films might not even help you out. Two nominees, Which Way Home and The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, don't even have Wikipedia entries. That's a bad sign for the public awareness of and interest in your project.
Which Way Home was likely seen by a significant audience when it aired on HBO last August, while Most Dangerous Man opened in a number of U.S. cities this past weekend (First Run Features expands its scope even further this Friday). Where is the support and fanbase for these nominees?
It should be enough that the Academy has recognized these films, as well as Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country (which does have a Wikipedia page), and surely its members aren't only concerned with which documentaries are more popular in the mainstream. If that were the case, Anvil! The Story of Anvil, It Might Get Loud and Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story might have been at least shortlisted, if not also nominated.