By Dave Karger
Updated November 26, 2010 at 05:00 AM EST
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Another year, another set of controversial oversights by the Oscars’ documentary branch. On Nov. 18, the Academy announced the 15 films that will contend for next year’s five Best Documentary Feature slots. Although assumed front-runners like Waiting for ”Superman” (which follows several young students trying to win places at charter schools) and Inside Job (the Matt Damon-narrated exposé of the current financial crisis) made the cut, missing from the list were the acclaimed Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, the Facebook-fueled Catfish, and the too-cute-for-words Babies. An Academy spokeswoman, meanwhile, says that the Joaquin Phoenix doc I’m Still Here was not submitted for consideration; it’s conceivably still eligible for Best Picture. (Some of the semifinalists — Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Lottery, Restrepo, and William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe — are already available on DVD or via on demand.) Apart from the art-world tale Exit Through the Gift Shop, it’s a pretty intense group — no surprise considering the documentary branch overlooked Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story and the heavy metal saga Anvil! The Story of Anvil last year. Apparently, if you’re gunning for a Best Documentary Oscar nod these days, you’d better not be funny.

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