Four significant, critically hailed 2011 documentaries — Errol Morris‘s Tabloid, Werner Herzog‘s Into The Abyss, Andrew Rossi‘s Page One: Inside The N.Y. Times and Asif Kapadia‘s Sennadidn’t make the Academy’s shortlist, per today’s announcement. 124 docs had originally qualified, and 15 made the final cut.

A half-hour ago a publicist pal and I discussed why this or that film doesn’t make the cut, and he agreed with my observation that the doc committee often ignores docs made by big-name directors like Morris or Herzog. The committee presumes that the big-name docs “are getting or going to get a lot of attention or box-office anyway so what do they need us for?,” the publicist said.

Poor John Sloss must be really pissed heartbroken about Senna, which he’s been pushing hard for many months.

The 15 shortlisted docs, in alphabetical order:

Battle for Brooklyn (RUMER Inc.); Bill Cunningham New York (First Thought Films); Buck? (Cedar Creek Productions); Hell and Back Again (Roast Beef Productions Limited); If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (Marshall Curry Productions, LLC); Jane’s Journey (NEOS Film GmbH & Co. KG); The Loving Story (Augusta Films); Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (; Pina (Neue Road Movies GmbH); Project Nim (a.k.a. “the monkey movie” — Red Box Films); Semper Fi: Always Faithful (Tied to the Tracks Films, Inc.); Sing Your Song (S2BN Belafonte Productions, LLC); Undefeated (Spitfire Pictures); Under Fire: Journalists in Combat (JUF Pictures, Inc.); We Were Here (Weissman Projects, LLC)

Doc committee apparatchiks will eventually select the five nominees from among the 15 titles on the shortlist.

Generic: The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, 1.24.12, at 5:30 a.m. Pacific in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, 2.26.12, at the Kodak Theatre.