Documentary films get little love from Oscars and others

Like many others watching last night Oscars, I was interested in seeing which documentary film would take home the award. I normally try to see all five films prior to the show. Afterall, these are the best of the best. Unfortunately, I was only able to see three of the five films, one of those films, Paradise Lost 3, I caught on HBO. It wasn’t from a lack of effort on my part. I first tried Blockbuster, a company that purchases thousands of copies of a film like Bad Teacher and then will pick up four or five copies, if any, of a nominated documentary. They currently have only two of the nominated films available, each with a waiting list. I tried the iStore hoping I could download them to my iPad. Same story here. Just two of the five were available.

The three films I did see – Paradise Lost, Hell and Back Again, and If a Tree Falls (review coming)- were arguably better than some of the best picture nominated films. Midnight in Paris? Really?

So here we have five great documentaries that should be getting the widest possible audience, but instead they get less attention than Superbowl commercials. I don’t get it. People do watch documentaries. They should be as easy to access as any other film. I would galdly fork over my money to rent these films if given the opportunity.

Then to make matters worse, the films were barely mentioned at the awards show. Did they show any clips? All I recall seeing were still images from each film. There were some powerful stories in these films. Yet they were treated as if they were less important than sound editing or makeup. They spent more time on Robert Downey Jr.’s mock documentary The Presenter (which I thought was funny) than they did on the nominated films.

What do you think? Did you see all five nominated films? Do you feel that the five nominated films should have received more air time on last night’s Oscars?


  1. […] I wrote about my frustrations with the lack of support given to documentary films in the post Documentary films get little love from Oscars and others. So here we are now three years later and nothing has changed. Once again the documentary features […]

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