In case you've been following our Oscars Opinion Poll, you know that readers have to date voted Burma VJ in the lead as the winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary -- by a surprisingly large margin of about seven to one over the next best contender, The Cove. In fact the margin is so wide that one reader raises the question (in the comments section) of whether it's because the film is a fabulous work of art or because audiences are so moved by its subject and the cause -- the Burmese people's struggle for freedom -- the film supports.
That question is, of course, one that is essential for documentary filmmakers, critics, commentators and advocates. And, the answer should be pretty obvious: a truly superb documentary is a brilliantly conceived and brilliantly presented work of art that's about a compelling subject that's been brilliantly researched and is worthy of serious consideration.
According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, all of the five Oscar nominees are all that. But just two of them, Which Way Home and Food. Inc., have made their way on to the Independent Spirit Awards list of five nominees. And, The Cove, Burma VJ and Food, Inc., have already won Cinema Eye Awards for Best Documentary Feature, Best Editing and Best Graphics, respectively -- as well as other honors.
The Oscar winner will be announced on March 7, two days after the Independent Spirit Award winner is named on March 5. In the meanwhile, Burma VJ's lead in our Opinion Poll seems to be maintaining it's lead.
New Yorkers have the opportunity to see the film as a special feature of the Stranger Than Fiction Series at the IFC Center on Thursday, Feb 25 at 8 PM. After the screening there will be a Q&A with Democratic Voice of Burma members Khin Maung Win & Aye Chan Naing.
After you've seen the film, please let us know your answer to the question that reader asked about the current results of our Oscars Opinion Poll. You are, of course, also welcome to vote!