For some unknown reason I have carved out a little quest for myself: to watch each Academy Award winning Documentary Feature. This task may prove to be impossible as the award dates back to the 1940’s, but I feel like giving it a try. This is certainly not to suggest that I view the Academy Awards to be the premier rank of films. Instead, I am using the list of winners as a non-exclusive catalogue to search out what should hopefully be good documentary films. I have been interested in documentary films for sometime, but my recent apathy towards most North American fiction films has ignited a passion for well produced non-fiction films. A renewed interest in PBS’s Frontline and CBC’s The Passionate Eye have also pulled me into more doc’s. These programs have also reassured me that 97.9% of television serves as the most mis-used medium of our time. The documentary is an art form that is varied, while being both complex and simple. It exposes lives, problems, conflicts, dreams and allows a film maker to package these expositions as art, journalism, film, drama, and life all at the same time. In some cases the subtlety is what excels, in others the obvious. I enjoy not only comparing subjects, but also production styles, ways of portrayal, cinematography, and investigation techniques.
I have started a new page on the blog here, listing the documentaries watched as a part of this quest. Of course I will watch other doc’s, not just those to have won the Academy Award. However, for interests sake I’ll just be listing the Oscar winners (I do have other things to do besides keeping track of everything I see on a blog), and perhaps a few other notables. There is no time line for this quest, and no guarantee it will be seen through to the finish. More importantly, and in keeping with the direction of this blog, it is a means – as most things in life are generally means to something – to further conversation. So, I encourage you to check out the list, let me know which ones you would recommend, recommend others, ask for recommendations on those I’ve seen, and let your own thoughts and questions be known.