by Nathaniel R.
Have a nice weekend, fantastic Oscars. I thought it was time to finally put together the documentary features board now that we know about several of the potential biggies. How do we suddenly know them given that documentaries arrive every week with little indication as to whether they’ll be Emmy or Oscar fodder? The answer is three key factors that drive buzz…
The DOC NYC shortlist (who has the kind of predictive Oscar track record that suggests their board or committee or what have you very taste similar to Academy voters), Critics Choice Association nominees (who aren’t as predictive – and they probably hate it! – because they still err in favor of the general public; anything high-profile is what they embrace!). Finally, there is the long list of the International Documentary Association which is more intellectual and international to complete a complete picture of the “field”. Between the three honors, you can at least get a taste of the white that might come when the Academy reduces its 100+ options to 15.
As for Best Animated Feature, this race is both much clearer and potentially surprising. The potentially surprising part is “is that all there is?” umbrella. The first buzz suggests that Pinocchio by Guillermo Del Toro is heading for a sweep given that it has already started a proper Best Picture campaign (FYC ad above). But the fact that the animated Oscar looks like a certainty rather than a presumed “hype” is largely due to the lack of other possible winners. None of the other titles have any apparent “winning” heat…even the ones with devout fans. And what about the fact that the only distributors who feel they have strong nomination possibilities are Disney (Strange world, turning red, and maybe even Light year given Oscar’s insatiable appetite for toy story) and Netflix (stop motion movies like Wendell and savage and Pinochio, Cartoon Saloon is traditionally animated My Father’s Dragonas well as the popular CG adventure sea beast). These two companies certainly cannot occupy 100% of the nominations on their own!
Or can they? Or are we underestimating the A24s Marcel the shod shell (which we assume will be disqualified), visually exciting yet understated GKids Inu-Ohor the success of Dreamworks The villains. Until we get the Academy’s long list of eligible titles, we won’t know which international feature films have bothered to submit and four walls a theater in Los Angeles. As for the latter possibility, there’s certainly room for a quality surprise yet to be discovered in America. We are particularly curious to see if one of the nominees for the European Film Awards in this category bothered to submit to AMPAS.