Holy crap! As disappointed as I am in the Capote, Crash and Munich overhyping, I'm equally ecstatic about the "Best Documentary" nomination that went to Street Fight. I still haven't actually had time to "study" all the nominations, and I'll post more later, but seeing Street Fight listed blew my mind. Why? Because ... have you heard of it? Well, if you're a regular film blog reader (including this one), maybe you have. I've posted about it at least once, the last time nearly two months ago because I saw that Filmmaker Magazine Blog and David Poland had each mentioned it. I don't remember if I wrote about it earlier last summer, but this is the documentary that won the audience award at the Tribeca Film Festival last year and for which I wrote the notes for the catalog.
I know people are pissed this year because the Academy's ludicrous rules disqualified films like Grizzly Man (which I'm ashamed to say I still haven't yet seen), but Street Fight is the kind of film that could really be helped my an Oscar nomination. I believe it's the only film on the list that hasn't had any actual theatrical distribution. It's played on PBS' P.O.V. once (maybe more?), and hopefully they'll now reshow it or some micro-distributor will put it out there.
This is one of the best political documentaries I've seen in the last few years -- a phenomenal story following the 2002 Mayor's race in Newark, NJ, a race which is about to replay itself this May. Is it the best documentary of the year or even among the five nominees? I won't say that. I personally liked it more than Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and as cute as March of the Penguins might be, I find Street Fight way more interesting. I still need to see Murderball and Darwin's Nightmare, and I've heard amazing things about both. But Street Fight deserves this kind of notice, and luckily, those who vote for documentary have to actually verifiably sit through all five films, so it even has a chance to win. Good for you director Marshall Curry. And good on the Academy for finding a small and deserving film worthy of this kind of attention.