Best Documentaries of 2005

Quick, can you name last year's Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature? (Answer under "read more," below). In the wake of all the media hype over popular feature films, documentaries usually get short shrift. Oh sure, you'll recognize March of the Penguins when this year's nominations are announced Tuesday morning, but that's largely because the sub-zero chick-rearing practices of the Emperor penguin featured prominently in America's perennial culture war last year. But many other excellent documentaries from 2005 (including Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man, left, one of the best-reviewed films of the year) won't be among the nominees either, whether due to a lack of interest on the part of an obscure group of Academy voters or equally obscure Academy rules....

On top of that, even Oscar winners can't be sure of a distribution deal. So what's a documentary film lover to do? For starters, try Video Librarian's list of the 25 best documentaries reviewed in the magazine or online during 2005. AADL owns many of them. We also occasionally purchase past Oscar winners in the documentary feature and documentary short subject categories (when available), so browse the online Academy Awards database and check our catalog for specific titles.

Last year's Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature was Born into Brothels.