Friday, February 8, 2013

Oscar Winners Predictions & Buzz - Docs of Any Length

     Well, I've seen none of the shorts and four of the features as far as our Documentary nominees go, but I'll do my best to size up these always confounding categories.  As always, the buzz comes first with previous rankings in parenthesis.  My best guesses let loose on the second list in each category.

Documentary Short Subject
  1.(1) Open Heart
  2.(4) Inocente
  3.(3) Mondays at Racine
  4.(7) Kings Point
  5.(5) Redemption
  Leaving the Rankings:  The Education of Mohammad Hussein, Paraiso, The Perfect Fit
     I don't really know, but let's play like I do...
  1. Inocente...The genre categories are notorious for come from behind victories (well, maybe not animated feature) and this film seems to have a lot of forward momentum at present. It does not quite have the front runner's buzz yet, but there seems to be a distinct slow down at the top.
  2. Open Heart...This doc has been at the front of the pack pretty much since the short list was announced but I sense that just recently it has been losing steam in that regard.  It still has time to rebound (and no one ever knows anything with the shorts anyway), but for now I'm dropping it to number two.
  3. Kings Point...Like Inocente, this short seems to have some real last minute momentum going, so I'm going to leap frog it in much the same manner.
  4. Mondays at Racine...Like Open Heart, this was an early favorite that seems to be losing buzz.
  5. Redemption...And this one has always seemed like the afterthought.

Documentary Feature
  1.(1) Searching For Sugar Man
  2.(3) The Gatekeepers
  3.(2) How To Survive a Plague
  4.(6) The Invisible War
  5. 5 Broken Cameras
  Leaving the Rankings:  Bully, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, The Imposter, Ai Wei-Wei: Never Sorry, The House I Live In, Detropia
     I feel a little more confidant in my choices with the features...
  1. Searching For Sugarman...It's always risky to pick the obvious choice in this category, but this year feels more like The Cove and less like Project Nim.  The full Academy is in on the voting for the win and probably twice as many of them have SEEN this picture than have seen any of its competitors.  Plus, it's a really excellent documentary.
  2. 5 Broken Cameras...Y'know, this film wasn't even on the radar before the nominations, even after it made the short list.  In that respect it reminds me of that nominee last year, what was it?  Oh, yeah, Undefeated.
  3. The Gatekeepers...As this film filters out into wider release, it just seems to grow in prestige and buzz.  Like "Cameras", it also focuses on the Middle East, which seems to be a big part of this year's Oscar narrative.
  4. How To Survive a Plague...I loved this film, but its buzz has been waning in the last few weeks.  For some reason, I think its out of the running.
  5. The Invisible War...Of the four nominees I have seen (still waiting on Gatekeepers to hit Atlanta theaters), I found this one to be the weakest (although still highly recommendable).  It was an early front runner, but has been steadily lagging further and further behind the leaders for several months now.

     And that is my best current take on the documentaries (although I reserve the right to change everything in my final predictions).  Next up:  Foreign Language Film and Short Subject - Live Action...Froggy

Related Articles:  Oscar Winner Predictions & Buzz: Of Snubs and Triumphs (preview), Musical Techs (Score and Song), Noisy Techs (Sound Editing & Sound Mixing), Pretty People Techs (Costume Design & Make-Up and Hairstyling), Pretty Picture Techs (Cinematography & Production Design), Finishing Touch Techs (Editing & Visual Effects), Toons of Any Length (Animated Feature & Animated Short) Surviving the Alps is a Rush (How To Survive a Plague review), Henry's Invisible Arbitrage (The Invisible War review)

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