Oscar nominees: Documentary
Why it’ll win: Renowned cinematographer Ellen Kuras spent 23 years following a Laotian family’s life in Brooklyn after the Vietnam War. It’s a labor of love that’s gripping, lyrical and beautifully scored by Oscar winner Howard Shore. The 2008 Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee is also up for a Film Independent Spirit Award this year.Maybe not: Critics have found Kuras’ collagelike film unfocused. Even its admirers admit that its detached style can try one’s patience. Critical quote: “(It is) quiet, contemplative and impressionistic, which makes the story it has to tell all the more powerful,” says A.O. Scott of the New York Times.