On the GC Daily, David reprinted Iraq in Fragments director John Sinno's open letter to the Academy irked about both the Oscar ceremony - and Seinfeld's jocular intro for the doc nominees - and the Academy's change in the rules for documentary Oscar consideration.
Open Letter (on GC Daily) >>
It's the latter, more than Jerry Seinfeld, that particularly worries me. Requiring documentaries to have played theatrically in 75% more cities than previously will make it nigh impossible for most of them to get a fair shake for an Oscar. What happened to the idea that the Oscars could help promote a deserving film, rather than making it a popularity contest for the few films that are fortunate enough to receive distribution? This is an unfortunate decision with broad ramifications, and, like Sinno, I hope the Academy reconsiders it.
As for Seinfeld introducing the category, I wondered how documentarians would take it - particularly those who were nominated this year. While his comments, to me, were humorous by themselves, they did seem a little callous - ranging from off topic to dismissive (though calling all the nominees "depressing" wasn't really that inaccurate, it dismisses their ability to move and change anyone who views them). However, I wouldn't blame Seinfeld; that's what he does. Blame the Academy for having a comic introduce what may the most sober of categories compared, as Sinno points out, with how respectful the intros were for most of the other categories.
But again, this is less bothersome than is the Academy's decision to up the number of theatrical runs a doc needs in order to qualify. Up the Academy, I say.