November 15, 2005

“March of the Penguins” on Oscar list

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The March of the Penguins" and
"Mad Hot Ballroom," two documentaries that drew impressive
lines at box offices, are among 15 documentaries that made the
cut for Oscar consideration, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts
and Sciences said on Tuesday.

The 15 were chosen by the Academy's Documentary Branch
Screening Committee from 82 films. The list will be narrowed to
five when Oscar nominations are announced on January 31. The
78th annual Oscars will be presented on March 5.

The French-made "March of the Penguins," a nature tale that
humanizes the life of penguins, became a U.S. box office
phenomenon by grossing $77 million in domestic ticket sales,
second only to 2004's "Fahrenheit 9/11," the all-time top
grossing documentary with $119 million in domestic receipts.

"Mad Hot Ballroom," a heartwarming tale of New York City
schoolchildren competing in a dance contest, earned critical
raves plus $8 million in ticket grosses. Critics have called
2005 an exceptional year for documentaries, thanks in part to
the success of "Penguins" and "Ballroom."

Among the 13 other films making the short list are "After
Innocence," about three convicted men freed by DNA evidence,
"The Boys of Baraka," about 12-year-olds from Baltimore going
to school in Kenya, "Darwin's Nightmare" about fishing for a
predatory fish in a lake in Tanzania, "The Devil and Daniel
Johnston," about a tormented musical genius, and "Enron: The
Smartest Guys in the Room," about the collapse of the company.

Also on the list are "Favela Rising," about slums outside
of Rio de Janeiro, "Murderball," a film about quadriplegics who
play a form of wheelchair rugby, "Occupation: Dreamland" about
the Iraqi war, "On Native Soil: The Documentary of the 9/11
Commission report," "Rize" about a Los Angeles dance movement,
"Street Fight," about one man's campaign to become mayor of
Newark, "39 Pounds of Love," about a man unable to move any
part of his body and "Unknown White Male" about a man who woke
up with total amnesia