Directors shortlist '9/11' for docu honor

Two years after shunning Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine,” the Directors Guild of America has tapped his “Fahrenheit 9/11″ as a finalist for its documentary award.

The other nominees are Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falnori for “The Story of the Weeping Camel”; Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski, “Born Into Brothels”; Ross McElwee, “Bright Leaves”; and Jehane Noujaim, “Control Room.”

Noujaim won the DGA docu award in 2001 for “Startup.com.” The other candidates are first-time nominees.

Kudos will be awarded Jan. 29 at the 57th annual DGA Awards dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

“Weeping Camel,” shot in the Gobi desert, and “Born Into Brothels,” lensed in Calcutta, are two of the dozen 2004 docs on the short list for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Moore, who won the docu Oscar in 2003 for “Columbine,” withdrew “Fahrenheit 9/11″ from the Academy’s docu category, although it can compete in the picture category.

The DGA and Acad are usually in lockstep on the award for top feature director, but mostly differ in the docu category. Last time the docu honorees matched was when Barbara Kopple won both awards for 1990’s “American Dream.”

In 2004, the guild presented the documentary trophy to Nathaniel Kahn for “My Architect”; the Academy opted for Errol Morris for “The Fog of War.”

“Fahrenheit 9/11″ has grossed $119 million, while “Control Room,” a behind-the-scenes look at the Al Jazeera network, has taken in $2.6 million. “Weeping Camel” has grossed $1.76 million; “Born Into Brothels,” $79,465; and tobacco farming project “Bright Leaves,” $63,511.

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