The 2011 Oscar race seems to be shaping up among the King of England, two nerds, and Rooster Cogburn. "The King's Speech," about George VI's struggle to overcome a stammer, led all nominations with 12. The nerds won eight nominations each for "The Social Network," the story of the founder of Facebook, and "Inception," about a man who hacks into other people's dreams. "The Fighter" followed with seven.
Documentaries became a box office factor with the rise of such films as "Hoop Dreams" and "Roger & Me." Before then, there were hit music documentaries like "Woodstock" but most other nonfiction films could expect short runs in few theaters before dutiful audiences. What a small but growing minority of Friday night moviegoers is beginning to discover is that there's a good chance the movie they might enjoy most at the multiplex is a doc.
In alphabetical order, these were the best documentaries I saw in 2010:
The four top jury prizes at Sundance 2010 were awarded Saturday night to Debra Granik's "Winter's Bone" for best U. S. drama, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's “Restrepo” for U. S. documentary, David Michôd's “Animal Kingdom” for world drama, and Mads Brügger's “The Red Chapel" for world documentary. A special jury prize went to Mark Ruffalo's “Sympathy For Delicious.”