“We will do everything we can to make the most of this nomination,” delighted director Joshua Oppenheimer told me this morning during a phone call. Oppenheimer’s second Oscar nod, this time for The Look of Silence, was just announced. It was likely, but Oppenheimer tells me he hadn’t written a prepared statement because he’s superstitious.

Last night, I had just been sitting in the row behind him at the Cinema Eye Honors where he won best director and best feature, but the Oscars are taking his string of successes to another level. He had a hard time sleeping last night, he says.

This morning, he went on Skype with his producers in Denmark as well as his crew and subjects in Indonesia, so that they could watch the announcement together. Everyone was shouting and screaming as the news came in, and Oppenheimer immediately got to work on his written statement (assisted by handy ear plugs that he has because his husband is a regular snorer—what? Too much real information? It’s non-fiction!)

Oppenheimer said the nomination is “humbling” and that it’s an “honor to be on such a strong, impressive” list of films. The other nominees are:

Cartel Land
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Oppenheimer credits the success of his previous film, The Act of Killing (POV 2014), which is also about the genocide in Indonesia, and which also got a nomination, for helping to “replace decades of silence” in that country regarding the crimes that took place fifty years ago. Only recently has there been movement toward the possibility of truth, justice and reconciliation occurring for the victims and perpetrators in Indonesia. “Hopefully, with this film, that dream will become a reality,” he says.

Who’s going to win? Can Silence beat the other frontrunner, Amy? Oppenheimer demurs. He says he is going to focus on using the nomination to promote dialogue in Indonesia, as well as compel the United States to own up for its part in the genocide.

“When that is your project, you can’t spend time worrying about how your film measures up against another one that is completely different,” he says.

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Tom Roston
Tom Roston is a guest columnist for POV's documentary blog. He is a former Premiere magazine senior editor, who graduated from Brown University and started his career in journalism at The Nation and then Vanity Fair. Tom's freelance work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter and other publications. He has written several Kindle Singles, including the bestselling Kindle Singles Interview: Ken Burns. Tom's current list of favorite documentaries are: 1. Koyanisqaatsi by Godfrey Reggio; 2. Hoop Dreams by Steve James; 3.Stories We Tell by Sarah Polley; 4.Crumb by Terry Zwigoff; 5. Montage of Heck by Brett Morgen