‘Encounters at the end of the World’

Oscar nominees: Documentary

Why it’ll win: Werner Herzog’s trip to Antarctica represents another triumph in a long career divided between documentaries and features. It’s gorgeously shot, perfectly capturing the odd mystery of the land. (And there are hardly any cute penguins.) Herzog is revered among cinephiles, and the nomination reps an opportunity to finally bestow some love on the visionary filmmaker.

Maybe not: Herzog, an acquired taste, may not be beloved among noncinephiles. His prickly personality and doom-and-gloom monologues might be prescient, but they could be considered off-putting to the “Little Miss Sunshine” branch of the Acad.

Critical quote: “A supremely cranky and lyrical feat,” says the Christian Science Monitor’s Peter Rainer.

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