A nun, football coach and Marine going to Oscars
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- At least one person on the Oscars red carpet won't have to worry about what to wear: Mother Dolores Hart.
The 73-year-old nun, who left Hollywood in 1963 to join a monastery after starring in films with the likes of Elvis Presley and George Hamilton, is among the nominated documentary film subjects slated to attend Sunday's 84th annual Academy Awards. Hart, who will be sporting her nun's habit, is chronicled in the short film "God Is the Bigger Elvis."
Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson, the short's filmmakers, said at a panel discussion at the motion picture academy's Beverly Hills headquarters Wednesday that Mother Dolores, who is a voting member of the academy and attended the ceremony three times before she became a nun, will walk the red carpet outside the Hollywood and Highland Center on Sunday.
Other nominated documentary film subjects expected to attend the Oscars include Bill Courtney, the white coach of an all-black, inner-city high-school football team featured in "Undefeated," and Sgt. Nathan Harris, a Marine injured in Afghanistan whose emotional struggle to transition back to life in North Carolina is depicted in "Hell and Back Again."
"I would encourage you, if any of you win, to bring them to the stage," filmmaker and academy documentary branch officer Michael Moore, who moderated the panel discussion with the nominees, told the filmmakers. "I know you've been told not to, but as the governor of your branch, I will be there, and I'll block any security that tries to prevent it."
It wouldn't be the first time the "Fahrenheit 9/11" filmmaker bucked academy rules. When he won the best documentary feature trophy in 2002 for "Bowling for Columbine," Moore brought the other documentary films nominees on stage with him and was infamously met with boos and cheers when he used his acceptance speech to denounce President George Bush.
Among this year's features, "Hell and Back Again" by Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner and "Undefeated" by T.J. Martin and Dan Lindsay will face environmental epic "If a Tree Falls" by Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman; West Memphis Three installment "Paradise Lost 3" by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky; and 3-D choreography chronicle "Pina" by Wim Wenders.
The short film "God Is the Bigger Elvis" is up against the civil-rights profile "The Barber of Birmingham" by Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin; Iraq War account "Incident in New Baghdad" by James Spione; acid attack saga "Saving Face" by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy; and disaster portrait "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom" by Lucy Walker.
Several of the nominated filmmakers lamented during Wednesday's panel that documentaries are the lesser seen and lesser distributed films among those nominated for Oscars. Wenders, who presents the work of choreographer Pina Bausch in 3-D in "Pina," said the technological evolution is the "secret weapon" to making documentaries feel more cinematic.
"What we as documentary filmmakers try to do is take the audience into somebody's world," said Wenders. "When you see a person in front of you shot in 3-D, it's a different presence. It's a whole different thing. You can tell your stories in a way that immerse the audience like never before. I'm convinced this is the future of the documentary language."
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang/.
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