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Introduction

Diversity is the prevailing trend among the 12 docs shortlisted for Oscar consideration — as the vibrant form continues to evolve, it’s perhaps ever more difficult to judge one against another, experienced jurors are saying. Tonight’s IDA Awards recognize more of the year’s achievements in nonfiction.

This special report includes:

Impartial or impassioned?
Faced with a richly varied set of choices and a medium that’s evolving along with technology and the times, how do juries choose documentary winners?
How would you compare “‘Capturing the Friedmans,” for example, with “Winged Migration”?
Especially in a year that produced political docs aplenty (this year’s IDA nominees include “The Control Room,” “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “The Corporation”), does content rule or do craft and technique trump a compelling subject? Most jurors agree that an award-winning doc should be exceptional in both areas.

IDA gala fetes ‘Brothels,’ ‘9/11’
What a difference 20 years makes. The Intl. Documentary Assn.’s first award ceremony honored five films at a luncheon for 200. Tonight’s 20th annual gathering is a sold-out gala for 600 at the DGA Theater.
Award categories have more than doubled in the ensuing decades, and the nonprofit org comprises 2,500 members from 50 countries (half are from California).

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