The International Documentary Association Awards may be commonly labelled a precursor in the doc Oscar race, though that's not strictly the case -- as an independent-minded group, they frequently follow a very different path to the Academy's documentary branch. Last year, for example, their top prizewinner "Nostalgia for the Light" didn't crack the Academy's longlist, while eventual Oscar winner "Undefeated" wasn't tapped by the IDA. Would that more race saw this kind of divergence of opinion.

All of which is to say that the IDA's nominations, announced this morning, aren't any kind of harbinger of Oscar glory, though some high-profile films made the cut in their top category, including "Searching for Sugar Man" (which caught Kris' fancy in the summer) "Queen of Versailles" and "Central Park Five" (which I reviewed out of the LFF last week).

All three have their champions, and are fancied by many to appear on the 15-title Oscar longlist next month. The Academy's controversial new voting system has seemingly been designed to favor such relatively popular titles, though we have no idea yet how it will play out. For its part, the IDA itself leaves a critical and/or commercial favorite off its list, which is why such films as "The Imposter" and Alex Gibney's "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God" (just laurelled in London) have nothing to worry about yet.

Rounding out the Best Documentary Feature category is "The Invisible War," a study of rape within the US military that won the Audience Award at Sundance, and the lone non-US film on the list, "Women With Cows" from Sweden.  

In the documentary short category, we have reigning Oscar champ "Saving Face," while fellow nominees "Kings Point," "Mondays at Racine" and "Open Heart" are all on the eight-film shortlist for this year's Oscar in the category.

Meanwhile, glamming up the lower categories -- well, maybe "glam" isn't the word -- are Martin Scorsese and Werner Herzog, nominated for the Limited Series award for "George Harrison: Living in the Material World" and "On Death Row" respectively.

The IDA Awards will take place at the DGA in Los Angeles on December 7. The full list of nominees:

Best Documentary Feature

"Central Park Five"
"The Invisible War"
"Queen of Versailles"
"Searching for Sugar Man"
"Women With Cows"

Best Documentary Short
"God is the Bigger Elvis"
"Kings Point"
"Mondays at Racine"
"Open Heart"
"Saving Face"

Best Continuing Series
"American Masters"
"Independent Lens"
"POV"

Best Limited Series
"Bomb Patrol Afghanistan"
"George Harrison: Living in the Material World"
"On Death Row"
"Slavery: A 21st Century Evil"
"The Weight of the Nation"

Student Documentary Award
"The A-Word"
"La Camioneta"
"Captive Radio"
"Julian"
"Meanwhile in Mamelodi"

ABC Videosource Award
"Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story"
"Central Park Five"
"The Family"
"Harvest of Empire"
"We Are Wisconsin"

Humanitas Award
"American Experience: The Amish"
"Bitter Seeds"
"Call Me Kuchu"
"Harvest of Empire"
"The Virgin, the Copts and Me"