At first glance there are two surprising commissions from the list: Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" and the indie hit "The September Issue." Awards Campaign has confirmed that Overture Films submitted "Capitalism," but like last year's "Religulous" it didn't make the cut.
Other notables missing include "Tyson," "We Live In Public" (which won this year's Sundance Grand Jury Documentary Award), Disney's "Earth," Chris Rock's "Good Hair" and, thank god, "Anvil! The Story of Anvil."
In the meantime, here is a breakdown of the 15 finalists as announced by the Academy.
The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company:
• “The Beaches of Agnes,” Agnès Varda, director (Cine-Tamaris)
• “Burma VJ,” Anders Ostergaard, director (Magic Hour Films)
• “The Cove,” Louie Psihoyos, director (Oceanic Preservation Society)
• “Every Little Step,” James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo, directors (Endgame Entertainment)
• “Facing Ali,” Pete McCormack, director (Network Films Inc.)
• “Food, Inc.,” Robert Kenner, director (Robert Kenner Films)
• “Garbage Dreams,” Mai Iskander, director (Iskander Films, Inc.)
• “Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders,” Mark N. Hopkins, director (Red Floor Pictures LLC)
• “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers,” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, directors (Kovno Communications)
• “Mugabe and the White African,” Andrew Thompson and Lucy Bailey, directors (Arturi Films Limited)
• “Sergio,” Greg Barker, director (Passion Pictures and Silverbridge Productions)
• “Soundtrack for a Revolution,” Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, directors (Freedom Song Productions)
• “Under Our Skin,” Andy Abrahams Wilson, director (Open Eye Pictures)
• “Valentino The Last Emperor,” Matt Tyrnauer, director (Acolyte Films)
• “Which Way Home,” Rebecca Cammisa, director (Mr. Mudd)
The Documentary Branch Screening Committee viewed all the eligible documentaries for the preliminary round of voting. Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles on the shortlist.
The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.