‘Central Park Five’ snubbed on Oscar documentary shortlist

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The Central Park Five

'The Central Park Five' originally debuted Friday, November 23 2012, in theaters. (Photo/Courtesy of Sundance Selects)

Despite considerable critical acclaim, Ken Burns’ film about the minority youths falsely accused in the rape of a Central Park jogger in the 1980s, The Central Park Five, has been left off the Academy Awards shortlist for best documentary.

An initial 126 submissions have been narrowed down to 15 potential nominees.

“I’m truly baffled by this; Not that none of the 15 films listed below aren’t worthy (I haven’t seen them all); but I can say that of those I have seen (more about half) on this list, I think The Central Park Five most certainly belongs, and I’d say is even stronger than some of them,” wrote Shadow and Act’s Tambay A. Obensen.

The film is something of a labor of love for Burns. His daughter Sarah and her husband all collaborated on the project, which has led to subpoenas for its footage in the ongoing lawsuit of the exonerated young men of the title.

“It was tremendous,” Burns told theGrio’s Todd Johnson of working with his daughter and son-in-law. “There was also our editor Michael Lodine and our coordinating producer Stephanie Jenkins. We felt like we became a family working on this project and bonded with the Central Park Five and we feel like we’re the ‘Central Park Ten.’

“Central Park is at first discomforting, then enraging, then illuminating,” writes David Denby in The New Yorker.