28 February 2011

Oscar-Nominated Documentary Shorts

I'm inclined to think cynically of Oscar voters, so I expect the very worst of the nominees will take the prize. So, how could the cute kids of Strangers No More lose? Except maybe even Oscar voters will see through this unbearable schmaltz. I think Warriors is too generic to stir significant support (pollution? yawn! in China? double yawn!); maybe if its cameras had actually been around for when the corporate bullies came a-terrorizing. As for Killing in the Name, its chief advantage is that it centers on a scarce-as-hen's-teeth prize: a moderate voice of Islam, something for which politicized dunderheads (Oscar voters, right?) are always clamoring. But its story, about a man whose wedding was bombed by jihadis and who now travels the globe speaking out against violence among Muslims, is way too haphazard, hopping around the globe because it's too damn hard to find all the sources you need in one place. (An Al Qaeda spokesman in one hemisphere, convicted terrorists in another.) My favorite of the bunch was Sun Come Up, but I think it's because it was the only one to which I could personally relate: didn't those Carterets, displaced by climate change, seem like they were victims of "natural" gentrification? The way sea waters pushed them out of their home reminded me of the waves of wealthy kids making rents in certain neighborhoods unaffordable. But global warming? That just makes me think of that limousine liberal, Davis Guggenheim, who couldn't even get a nomination, blech. So, despite my reservations, my money's on Poster Girl.

Read all of my conversation with Benjamin Sutton at The L Magazine

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