The Academy Awards have announced the 15 documentaries that comprise "the short list" of potential nominees for this year's Best Documentary Oscar—and happily enough, the list ain't bad. The most curious omission is The Devil And Daniel Johnston, a stunning Crumb-like portrait of savant artistry and personal strife, but the rest of the list is solid, with a stronger-the-usual emphasis on politically conscious work. The Al Gore global warming cine-lecture An Inconvenient Truth, the year's only breakthrough documentary hit, leads the nominations, which also includes no less than four films about Iraq: My Country, My Country, Iraq In Fragments, The Ground Truth, and The War Tapes. And that's not even counting the Dixie Chick's Shut Up & Sing, which is about the troubles that befall the band for merely criticizing the war. Other worthy contenders currently in theaters include Deliver Us From Evil, a devastating look at sexual abuse in the Catholic Church; Jesus Camp, an alarming exposé of Christian youth indoctrination that's received renewed attention for its footage of disgraced evangelical Ted Haggard; and Jonestown: The Life And Death Of People's Temple, an acclaimed history of the religious cult that left 900 dead in a mass suicide.

For a full list, go here. For a nice analysis by our friend Anthony Kaufman, go here.

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