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Leviathan Snubbed, but…The Act of Killing, Dirty Wars, Stories We Tell Among Oscar’s 15 Short List

It’s been an extremely rich year for doc film and while The Academy appear to have included some of the year’s most critically acclaimed items (mostly Sundance preemed) in Dirty Wars, The Act of Killing (Gotham award winner yesterday), Cutie and the Boxer (pictured above) and Stories We Tell (NYFCC winner today) among their 15 short film list (semi-finalists are then lassoed into a category containing five), there are always a handful of titles that receive a cold shoulder and this year After Tiller, Let the Fire Burn and the too experimental, but nonetheless brilliant Leviathan were among those snubbed. Update: Jordan mentions that quality docs such as Caucus, American Promise, 12 O’Clock Boys and Narco Cultura are no shows that in some circles could have made the cut.

Here’s the list of fifteen.

The Act of Killing
The Armstrong Lie
The Crash Reel
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
First Cousin Once Removed
God Loves Uganda
Life According to Sam
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer
The Square
Stories We Tell
Tim’s Vermeer
20 Feet from Stardom
Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington

The Acad’s documentary branch determined the shortlist in a preliminary round of voting. Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees. Nominations will be announced Jan. 16, in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Oscars will be presented March 2.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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