Oscars Week – Truthful Thursday: Best Documentary (updated)

By Niall McArdle

It was Jean-Luc Godard who said “cinema is truth 24 frames-per-second.” When it comes to documentaries, that may well be the case, but even then there is subjectivity (most controversially in recent years from Michael Moore). The Documentary category is for me one of the more interesting, as it generally has the most variety.

I have yet to see any of the documentaries nominated this year. The nominees this year include films about art, covert operations, the Egyptian uprising, the music industry, and genocide.

UPDATE: there were very few surprises at this year’s Oscars, but Twenty Feet from Stardom winning Best Documentary was one. 

Some Oscar-winning documentaries worth seeing.

Bowling For Columbine. Michael Moore’s examination of the Columbine High School shooting, gun control and the Defence industry. Shocking, hilarious, controversial stuff (South Park‘s Matt Stone and Trey Parker want nothing to do with Moore). Moore’s Oscar-acceptance speech is one of the most politically-charged Thank Yous that you’ll ever see.

The Cove You’ll never look at Flipper the same way again.

Woodstock My favourite moment is when the reporter is chatting to the local police officer, who has some nice things to say about the hippy kids, how they all seem nice and well-mannered. When the reporter says, “isn’t that an odd thing for a cop to say?”, the man’s response is, “I’m not a cop, son, I’m the Chief of Police.”

The Times of Harvey Milk  Made in 1984. Just as important thirty years later.

Scared Straight!

Common Threads: Stories From The Quilt Made at the height of the AIDS panic in the 1980s.

When We Were Kings The chronicle of the Rumble in the Jungle. Essential viewing, even for non-boxing fans.

The Fog of War Errol Morris has made some of the most important and most interesting documentaries (The Thin Blue Line, Gates of Heaven, A Brief History of Time)

Man on Wire  Watch this and then read Let the Great World Spin

March of the Penguins It’s funny to watch this again after having seen this very funny Robot Chicken skit.

2 thoughts on “Oscars Week – Truthful Thursday: Best Documentary (updated)

  1. ‘Bowling for Columbine’ was riveting stuff, for sure. ‘Man on a Wire’ was hair-raising too. Like you, I haven’t seen the nominations, but I have read that ‘The Act of Killing’ is very good.
    regards, Pete.


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