Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oscar Nazi Award nominations: Foreign Film, Documentary

On the heels of this mornings announcement of the remaining Foreign Language Film contenders, I thought I'd toss up those nominated* for the Oscar Nazi Award in the same category, as well as Documentary.

Best Foreign Film:

A Prophet (Jacques Audiard)
This complex, patient, but thrilling prison drama is simply one of the year's best. Masterfully written and impeccably acted by all. It is magnificent storytelling of a terrific story.

Samson and Delilah (Warwick Thornton)
While even I struggled at first to think of this as a foreign "language" film (with so little dialogue and much of it English), I realized that the word "language" shouldn't necessarily apply. As a study of a dying culture and the voiceless children it has spawned, Samson and Delilah more than meets the criteria of a foreign film.

The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke)
In spite of its slow pace, emotional disconnect, and stylistic shortcomings, it is a thought-provoking piece that confidently trusts the mental stamina of its audience. Like it or not, it is art.

Just missed: Broken Embraces

Best Documentary:
The Cove (Louis Psihoyos)
It packs as many thrills, chills, gasps, tears, and cheers into two hours as any blockbuster fiction you'll see at the multiplex. And then some. It is film-making with purpose, delivering a powerful message and an inspiring call to arms. See it.

Food, Inc. (Robert Kenner)
A broad, ground-floor examination of the industrial food system, neatly organized and made with discipline. Not exactly eye-opening though.

*NOTE: As dubious as this sounds, these lineups are subject to change. Needless to say, I never get out to as many documentaries and foreign films each year as I should like, but I do make the effort to catch the Oscar-nominated titles. If something better should come along between now and Oscar night, I won't hesitate to bump off the likes of La Soga or The White Ribbon (which is hugely overrated in this Nazi's opinion).

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