After years of beingperpetually snubbed by the Academy Awards, documentary-maker Errol Morris isfinally on the verge of securing his first ever Oscar nomination now that TheFog Of War has made the preliminaryselection cut.
As in previous years, adozen documentary features have been shortlisted following a screening processinvolving documentary judging panels in Los Angeles, New York and SanFrancisco.
Although this unofficialOscar shortlist is not intended for public consumption, the identity of eightof those twelve documentary features are already widely known across USdocumentary circles. In addition, four of the eight short subject documentariesthat have been shortlisted have been identified so far (see below).
This list will then bewhittled down to the five nominees that will be announced at the traditionalpre-dawn ceremony scheduled for Jan 27 next year.
The latest film from Morris- who has failed to earn a single nomination for such acclaimed work as TheThin Blue Line, Fast, Cheap AndOut Of Control and Mr Death - is a profile of Robert McNamara, the US DefenseSecretary in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations.
However, Morris is not theonly familiar name in contention this year. Other shortlisted films includeJonathan Demme's The Agronomist,the story of Haitian human rights activist Jean Dominique, and Andrew Jarecki'sCapturing The Friedmans, thisyear's winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival,
Another Sundance winner,Marc Levin (who directed Slam) isinvolved as a producer on Heir To An Execution, an examination into the family legacy left behindby Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Sent to the electric chair 50 years ago at the heightof the Cold War, the Rosenbergs were the first and only American civilians sentencedto death for espionage. Director Ivy Meerapol is one of their grand-children.
There are two internationalfilms on the feature shortlist so far, the Spanish documentary about Cubanrafters, Balseros and Brazil's Bus174 about the hijacking in June 2000of a Rio De Janiero bus by an armed young man.
Also in the final round is MyArchitect, an acclaimed portrait ofthe late Louis Kahn, the revered US architect, through the eyes of hisillegitimate son Nathaniel.
Jonathan Karsh's My FleshAnd Blood, which won the audienceprize for documentaries at this year's Sundance, is a profile of a Californian woman and her 11adopted special needs children.DOCUMENTARY FEATURES (2003 partialshortlist)
The Agronomist (dir: Jonathan Demme)
Balseros (dirs: Carles Bosch, Jose Maria Domenech)
Bus 174 (dirs: Felipe Lacerda, Jose Padilha)
Capturing The Friedmans (dir: Andrew Jarecki)
The Fog Of War(dir: Errol Morris)
Heir To An Execution (dir: Ivy Meerapol)
My Architect (dir:Nathaniel Kahn)
My Flesh And Blood(dir: Jonathan Karsh)
DOCUMENTARYSHORT SUBJECT (2003 partial shortlist)
Chernobyl Heart (dir: Maryann DeLeo)
Ferry Tales (dir: Katja Esson)
Foo-Foo Dust (dirs: Gina Levy,Eric Johnson)
I Used To Be A Filmmaker (dir: JayRosenblatt)