The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has selected its shortlist of documentary features that will vie for an Oscar.
The 15 titles announced on Friday include "Pina," Wim Wenders' 3D tribute to late choreographer Pina Bausch; "Project Nim," the story of a 1970s behavioral project involving a chimpanzee; AIDS-themed chronicle "We Were Here" and "Buck," a portrait of the man who inspired "The Horse Whisperer."
A couple of war-themed films made the cut: "Hell and Back Again" and "Under Fire: Journalists in Combat," while "Semper Fi: Always Faithful" centers on a career military man who exposes a Marine Corps cover-up of an environmental crisis.
Among The highly regarded documentaries that didn't make the shortlist are Werner Herzog's look at capital punishment, "Into the Abyss," and Steve James's "The Interrupters," an exploration of grassroots attempts to curb urban violence.
For the preliminary round of voting, the Documentary Branch Screening Committee viewed 124 feature-length nonfiction films that qualified in the category. Documentary Branch members will select five nominees from the 15-title shortlist.
Nominations for the 84th Academy Awards will be announced on January 24. The awards ceremony is scheduled for February 26.
The Academy's documentary shortlist, in alphabetical order:
"Battle for Brooklyn"
"Bill Cunningham New York"
"Hell and Back Again"
"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front"
"The Loving Story"
"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"
"Semper Fi: Always Faithful"
"Sing Your Song"
"Under Fire: Journalists in Combat"
"We Were Here"