Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.
With the festivals finally ending and the dust settling on the Oscar Buzz, Flee and The Rescue stand out as the leaders in the Best Documentary race. While they definitely have their reasons to win at the Oscars, they also have a few qualities that may hold them back. After all, the documentary films that receive early awards buzz don’t always receive Academy Award nominations.
The Rescue is the story of a football team’s rescue from Thailand’s Taum Luang cave. The film made a storm at the Telluride Film Festival and showed the intensity of the rescue through legitimate reenactments. The reviews has been declaring that the performances were powerful, even though re-enactments can sometimes be looked upon poorly in the documentary world. This film is helmed by directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi who previously won Oscars for the much beloved Free Solo. However, could this be too soon for these filmmakers snatch up another Oscar. .
Since Sundance, Flee has been making a splash at numerous festivals with its original documentary style and powerful, yet unconventional story. This could make it stand out or could be its detriment. The film has the potential to be nominated for Best Documentary, Best International Film, Best Animated Film, and even Best Picture, while that could be a historic moment as no other film has come close to being nominated for all four. However, Academy voters might not want to nominate a film in all of those categories and through the categories cancelling each other out in all categories .
There are obviously other documentaries that are in talks to land nominations, but these two are receiving the most buzz and are the clear frontrunners. However, in the past few years, the early frontrunner in the documentary category suffers and does not even land a nomination. This is exemplified through Boys State, Dick Johnson is Dead, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Three Identical Strangers, and Apollo 11. Don’t be surprised if a lesser known documentary gets a nomination and a possible win.