Film intelligence: Documenting the new Best Documentary Oscar rules

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. Every week, we read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]).

1. Documenting Big Changes for the Best Documentary Oscar

Every year the movies that do and do not get nominated for the Best Documentary Academy Award become a huge source of contention. In 2011, popular and acclaimed documentaries THE INTERRUPTERS, SENNA, and BEING ELMO — and JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER, cried ten thousand beleaguered Beliebers — all missed the doc Oscar shortlist. To rectify the situation, the Academy announced this week they are overhauling the nomination process for the Best Documentary category: among the changes, films will now need a one-week commercial release in New York and Los Angeles and a review from the New York Times or Los Angeles Times. Hopefully these changes will help the best and most important docs get the recognition they deserve and we’ll never hear about Oscar documentary controversies again. On the other hand, you never say never. [Indiewire]

2. The Cinema Eye Honors Get INTERRUPTed

In what I’m sure was just a hinky bit of coincidence with the Academy’s announcement, the documentary awards show The Cinema Eye Honors gave out their awards last night at a ceremony at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. Founded in 2007, The Cinema Eye Honors were created as a place to honor outstanding achievement in non-fiction filmmaking. This year the two biggest prizes — Best Nonfiction Feature and Best Director — went to the Oscar snubbed Steve James and his film, THE INTERRUPTERS. Other Cinema Eye winners included BUCK (Audience Choice Prize), SENNA (Best Editing), HELL AND BACK AGAIN (Best Cinematography), TABLOID (Best Score, Best Graphic Design), and THE ARBOR (Best Debut Film). JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER was, once again, cruelly overlooked. [TheWrap]

3. Subject of Sundance ’12 Movie Gets Defamous

In one week, THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES will be the first film to play the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, but it’s already the first film of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival to spark a lawsuit — one aimed at the festival itself. The Salt Lake Tribune‘s Sean Means reports that the subjects of the film, a documentary about a real estate mogul building an enormous mansion in the midst of the global financial collapse, are suing the Sundance Institute for defamation, based on the description of the documentary in the Sundance Film Guide. They’re seeking $75,000 in damages from the festival and another $75,000 from the film’s creators, director Lauren Greenfield and producer Frank Evers. I’d make a joke but I don’t want to get sued too. [The Salt Lake Tribune]

4. Yahoo to Stream Sundance ’12 Shorts
If you can’t make it to Sundance next week, you’re a loser and a failure. I kid! I kid because I won’t be there either and I desperately need to put my pain somewhere. Anyway, if, like me, you won’t be making it to Sundance, you’ll be able to join in the fun on your computer, where Yahoo! will be streaming 12 shorts from this year’s lineup on their new video site, Screen. The initiative is part of a massive marketing push by Yahoo! at Sundance that includes sponsored panels and ticket giveaways. But since we won’t be there, that doesn’t mean much to us now does it? :::bursts into uncontrollable tears::: [The New York Times]

5. When Your Mind’s Not Made Up, Check out the Trailer For ONCE on Broadway

It was a fairy tale journey for ONCE, the tiny Irish musical romance that dazzled festivalgoers at Sundance 2007, endeared itself to arthouse audiences around the world, and even won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for stars/composers Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Now the journey begins again, as ONCE is about to become a Broadway musical at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York City. The show, which features new music by Hansard and Irglová along with old favorites like “Falling Slowly,” stars Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti in the unnamed roles the duo made famous. Below you’ll find a trailer for the production, which opens in previews on February 28. I suspect you will not fall slowly. []