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‘Super Size Me’ among Oscar doc hopefuls

Other contenders, ‘Riding Giants,’ ‘Tupac,’ ‘Born into Brothels’
/ Source: The Associated Press

The fast-food indictment “Super Size Me” is among 12 films competing for best documentary at the Academy Awards.

Other documentaries on the list of contenders released Tuesday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences include “Tupac: Resurrection,” an examination of the life of slain rapper Tupac Shakur; the surfing chronicle “Riding Giants,” the first documentary ever to open the Sundance Film Festival; and “Born Into Brothels,” a look at the harsh lives of children of Calcutta prostitutes, which won Sundance’s audience award for favorite documentary last January.

“Super Size Me” hilariously traces director Morgan Spurlock’s physical and emotional deterioration during a month he spent on an all-McDonald’s diet.

The film is one of the highest-grossing documentaries ever with $11.5 million at the domestic box office. “Super Size Me” ranked behind “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which grossed $120 million, as the No. 2 documentary of 2004.

“Fahrenheit 9/11” creator Michael Moore, who won the documentary Oscar with 2002’s “Bowling for Columbine,” decided against submitting his latest film for that category. Instead, Moore is promoting “Fahrenheit 9/11,” his assault on President Bush’s actions regarding the Sept. 11 attacks, as a best-picture candidate.

The other films in the running for the five documentary Oscar nominations are “Home of the Brave,” about slain civil-rights activist Viola Liuzzo; “Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train,” a portrait of the historian and activist; “In the Realms of the Unreal,” a look at the life of outsider artist and janitor Henry Darger; and “The Ritchie Boys,” which tells the story of German Jews who trained as an elite U.S. intelligence unit in World War II.

Also: “The Story of the Weeping Camel,” about a crisis over a camel calf belonging to a family of Mongolian nomads; “Tell Them Who You Are,” filmmaker Mark Wexler’s examination of his relationship with his father, Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Bound for Glory”); “Touching the Void,” blending interviews and dramatic re-creations to tell the survival story of mountaineers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates on an ill-fated climb in Peru; and “Twist of Faith,” about a man confronting past sexual abuse by a priest.

The 12 films were chosen by the academy’s documentary branch, which also will select the five nominees. The academy’s full membership of about 5,800 is eligible to vote for the winner.

Oscar nominations will be announced Jan. 25, and the awards ceremony is Feb. 27.