Joan Rivers -- A Piece of Work

  • Movie

Another year, another outrageous oversight from the documentary branch of the Academy. Today AMPAS announced the 15 films that will contend for next year’s five Best Documentary Feature slots, and although there are several worthy films included (Waiting for “Superman”, Inside Job, Exit Through the Gift Shop, and The Tillman Story among them), missing from the list was the acclaimed exposé Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, one of the sweetest and most fascinating films, unscripted or otherwise, of the year. Also MIA: The Facebook-fueled Catfish, the transgender family tale Prodigal Sons, and the political eye-opener 8: The Mormon Proposition. Given its strong reviews, I was surprised Lucy Walker’s Countdown to Zero wasn’t included, though her Sundance prize-winner, Waste Land, did make the cut. (For the record, an Academy spokeswoman tells me that the Joaquin Phoenix doc I’m Still Here was not submitted for consideration in this category.)

As steamed as I am about the exclusion of Joan Rivers, I shouldn’t be too surprised. The same branch failed to put Bill Maher’s Religulous on its shortlist two years ago. I guess the moral of the story here is: If you’re gunning for a Best Documentary Oscar nod these days, you better not be funny.

Here’s the full list of semi-finalists:

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

Enemies of the People

Exit through the Gift Shop


Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould

Inside Job

The Lottery

Precious Life

Quest for Honor


This Way of Life

The Tillman Story

Waiting for “Superman”

Waste Land

William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe

More on Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work:

Joan Rivers -- A Piece of Work
  • Movie