Usually, when The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces their short list of documentaries eligible for the Best Documentary Oscar, a dark cloud comes over my day. Pretty regularly, some of my favorite films haven’t been eligible for a nomination. Shut Up and Sing, The September Issue and Dear Zachary all come to mind as heartbreaking snubs.

For 2010 the list is a little better, with films such as Exit Through The Gift Shop and Restrepo making the cut but, as usual, there are some notable snubs. Catfish isn’t on the list, nor are Babies, Oceans, Best Worst Movie, Freakinomics or Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, just to name a few. Is your favorite 2010 documentary eligible to be nominated an Oscar? Check out the list after the jump.

These are the 15 movies that are eligible for fives slots come nomination day January 25. They were whittled down from 101 total films.

  • Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, Alex Gibney, director (ES Productions LLC)
  • Enemies of the People, Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath, directors (Old Street Films)
  • Exit through the Gift Shop, Banksy, director (Paranoid Pictures)
  • Gasland, Josh Fox, director (Gasland Productions, LLC)
  • Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould, Michele Hozer and Peter Raymont, directors (White Pine Pictures)
  • Inside Job, Charles Ferguson, director (Representational Pictures)
  • The Lottery, Madeleine Sackler, director (Great Curve Films)
  • Precious Life, Shlomi Eldar, director (Origami Productions)
  • Quest for Honor, Mary Ann Smothers Bruni, director (Smothers Bruni Productions)
  • Restrepo, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, directors (Outpost Films)
  • This Way of Life, Thomas Burstyn, director (Cloud South Films)
  • The Tillman Story, Amir Bar-Lev, director (Passion Pictures/Axis Films)
  • Waiting for ‘Superman’, Davis Guggenheim, director (Electric Kinney Films)
  • Waste Land, Lucy Walker, director (Almega Projects)
  • William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, directors (Disturbing the Universe LLC)

There are a bunch of obvious films in there – Inside Job and Waiting for ‘Superman’ for example. I’m also glad to see the frightening/inspiring film The Tillman Story in there alongside the brutal Restrepo. Exit Through the Gift Shop is currently vying for my #1 of the year so I’m stoked about that and though I have yet to see either Waste Land or Gasland, I’ve heard nothing but good things about both.

Unlike the Best Animated Film short list, there’s rarely any rhyme or reason to the filmmakers who vote in the Best Documentary category. They snub amazing movies, nominate crappy ones but pretty regularly give the award to something kind of commercial. So, in that vein, I think Waiting for ‘Superman’ is the film to beat this year. As for the four other nominees? Who knows. For the record, though, I’ll go with Inside Job, Waste Land, Restrepo and Exit through the Gift Shop with the express knowledge that three of the five will probably be wrong.

Was your favorite documentary snubbed this year? And what do you think will take home the gold?

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