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The short list.

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11182008_manonwire.jpgThe collection of 15 docs on the Oscar shortlist unveiled yesterday look, all things considered, pretty good to me. Traditionally the award that’s caused the most hue and cry, with outrageous omissions and disqualifications, arcane rules and seemingly random (or at least radically out of touch) selections, the Best Documentary Feature prize could actually come down to a group of films that 1) are good and 2) more than a handful of people have at least heard of and had the opportunity to see.

“Man on Wire,” the most acclaimed documentary of the year, is probably also a favorite to win, should it make it down to the final five. Established filmmakers like Werner Herzog, Errol Morris and Steve James are on there next to festival circuit favorites like “In a Dream” and “They Killed Sister Dorothy.”

Left off — the two highest-grossing non-concert docs of the year, “Religulous” and “Expelled.” No one was likely expecting the latter to make the cut, and the former never received the kind of wholehearted critical embrace needed to make it seem more than Moore lite. Marina Zenovich’s “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” isn’t there, despite the press and acclaimed it’s received since its Sundance premiere. And, alas, neither is Margaret Brown’s “The Order of Myths,” which has my vote for best documentary and one of the better films of the year.

The list:

“At the Death House Door”
“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)”
“Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh”
“Encounters at the End of the World”
“The Garden”
“Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts”
“In a Dream”
“Made in America”
“Man on Wire”
“Pray the Devil Back to Hell”
“Standard Operating Procedure”
“They Killed Sister Dorothy”
“Trouble the Water”

[Photo: “Man on Wire,” Magnolia, 2008]

+ 15 Docs Continue in 2008 Oscar® Race (

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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