Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Documentary Feature

The competition: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Faces Places, Icarus, Last Men in Aleppo, Strong Island

Previous winners: OJ: Made in America, Amy, Citizenfour, Twenty Feet from Stardom, Searching for Sugar Man, Undefeated
My winner: Announcing shortly after the Oscars!

The facts: There aren’t many helpful statistics here aside from two important notes: “Last Men in Aleppo” spotlights the White Helmets, who were the subject of last year’s Oscar-winning documentary short, and “Strong Island” director Yance Ford is the first openly transgender Oscar nominee. Three of these films are available on Netflix which means they may have been more wildly seen, but there isn’t one hot-button frontrunner the same way there has been each of the past five years. This is the first time since 2013 that not a single one of these films was nominated for the PGA documentary prize, which went to “Jane.”

Who should win: I really loved “Faces Places.” Of the rest, “Icarus” was very interesting also, but none of them really compare. Fortunately, this is a very good list, and I think I might have been more engaged by “Last Men in Aleppo” if I hadn’t already seen last year’s “The White Helmets.” Though it was much more narrative-focused, “Strong Island” was strong, and “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” was the weakest of the bunch but still decent and worthwhile.

Who will win: I think that Faces Places is different from the rest and optimistic enough to take this prize, but it could be any of these.

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