As we reported a few days ago, "This Is It" may not compete in the next race for best documentary feature because it missed the deadline — it didn't play in a theater in New York and Los Angeles for seven days prior to Aug. 31.
However, "This Is It " may compete in other Oscar races this year, including best picture. Why not, eh? Reviews are strong. Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) calls it "extraordinary." Elysa Gardner of USA Today gave it three out of four stars, calling it "Equal parts thriller, off the wall, HIStory," adding that it "offers glimpses of Michael Jackson's bygone greatness, and poignant suggestions of what might have been."
But, alas, no documentary has ever been nominated in the past. Some quite famously tried and (disastrously) failed, including "Hoop Dreams" and "Fahrenheit 9/11." Michael Moore refused to enter "Fahrenheit 9/11" in the documentary category because he feared that its presence might dilute its chances of landing in the loftier category. That ploy revealed serious Oscar naivete, considering the two categories have vastly different voting systems. Nominees for best documentary feature are chosen by a relatively small screening committee, not the full academy electorate, which selects the best-picture lineup. In other words, it didn't run the risk of appearing twice on the average academy member's ballot, thus splitting its votes.
This year, there will be 10 nominees instead of the usual five, of course, so maybe this could be it for "This Is It"?
Photo credit: Sony