Other option could be to write a script to go over all objects and change the matte flag based on selection.
Isolate selected is available only in the IPR as a debugging feature. Rendering only selected objects is currently not implemented but it's on my todo list.
If you have just a few objects to render, you can use operators to mask out the rest. Here's a small example scene: matte_op.zip
The Torus object has a boolean User Data parameter called 'selected'. The operator adds a matte shader to all polymeshes which does not have 'selected' enabled.
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