Every single year come awards season, it’s always upsetting to see the blatant misfires on the Academy’s short list of films eligible for the Best Documentary Oscar. Just last year, the big story wasn’t so much that Exit Through the Gift Shop or Restrepo were up for the award, it was that films like Catfish, Best Worst Movie and Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work were snubbed.

This year it’s more of the same. Much more. Fifteen films have been chosen that will be narrowed down to five to tangle for the Oscar itself and on that list are several exceptional documentaries: Bill Cunningham New York, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory and Project Nim (above) just to name a few.

Not on the list, however are Constance Mark’s Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, Steve James’s The Interrupters, Werner Herzog‘s Into the Abyss, Errol Morris’ Tabloid, Ian Palmer’s Knuckle, Morgan Spurlock’s The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Andrew Rossi’s Page One: Inside the New York Times, Michael Rapaport’s Beats, Rhymes and Life, Disney’s African Cats, Jon Chu’s Justin Bieber Never Say Never, Cameron Crowe’s Pearl Jam Twenty, Peter Richardson’s How To Die In Oregon, Mark Landsman’s Thunder Soul, Kevin Macdonald’s Life In A Day and, most notably out of all of those, Asif Kapadia’s extraordinary Senna. Just to name a few.

Those films didn’t make the cut. Read what did after the jump. Read More »

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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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