Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What's Up, Docs?

[Film] Every year, people ask me to predict the Academy Awards. And every year I resist, because I want nothing to do with furthering the legitimacy of this gold-statuette-dispensing gaggle of clown-shoes.

The latest example of the Motion Picture Academy's mind-boggling lack of artistic vision comes with this week's announcement of the
15 "short-listed" finalists for the Documentary Feature category. Since you may know little about the specific titles listed, let me offer some helpful Harper's Index-style statistics:

* Percent of finalists that are in some way about America's Middle East adventure: 26.6%
* Percentage of finalists that are in some way about war: 53.3%
* Percentage of finalists that are about a clearly and obviously "important issue" like slave labor, Chinese democracy, health care, abortion, etc.: 100%

So forget a shot for the year's most interesting and stylistically innovative documentaries: Manda Bala (Send a Bullet), Manufactured Landscapes, The King of Kong, My Kid Could Paint That, Protagonist. Always desperately concerned about putting on its serious face, the Academy ignores anything that doesn't come with Cliff's Notes thesis statements. Remember: These are the awards given by an industry to itself. Trust them accordingly. (Scott Renshaw)

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