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‘Jane’: Why the Academy Dissed Brett Morgen’s Popular Goodall Documentary

‘Jane’: Why the Academy Dissed Brett Morgen’s Popular Goodall Documentary

“Jane,” Brett Morgen’s popular documentary about primatologist Jane Goodall, was so lauded and applauded that most Oscar experts predicted that it would land an Oscar nomination, if not win. Instead, it never made the cut.

This happens with the Academy documentary branch. While its voter ranks have expanded by more than 50 percent in the last three years, from 204 to 320 members, it’s still a relatively insular group with strong ideas about what makes a great documentary. They tend to be slow to recognize innovation. They long frowned on dramatic re-enactments, strong personalities, and rousing scores, overlooking early Michael Moore entry “Roger and Me” and Errol Morris’ “The Thin Blue Line,” finally rewarding them with Oscars for anti-gun screed “Bowling for Columbine” and the Robert McNamara profile “The Fog of War,” respectively.

Moore returned to the Oscar fray for “Sicko,” but Morris was never nominated again. The doc branch nominated

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