Friday, February 4, 2022

Oscar Predictions: Best Documentary

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 8th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in all categories.

Last year’s nominees: Collective, Crip Camp, The Mole Agent, My Octopus Teacher, Time

My choices: Coming soon!

This year’s locks: The Rescue, Attica

Very likely: Summer of Soul, Flee

Possible: Procession, The Velvet Underground, The First Wave, In the Same Breath, Ascension, Faya Dayi

Unlikely: President, Writing with Fire, Julia, Simple as Water, Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry

The rundown: This category has consistently featured shocking snubs each year, with “Boys State” the most glaring example last year. I was able to see all fifteen shortlisted films this year, and I’ll try not to let my personal impressions of the films impact my predictions. The Rescue seems like the best bet, and, of the music documentaries on the list, Summer of Soul is probably likeliest, while The Velvet Underground could show up and I have Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry in last place. Attica is very powerful and shouldn’t have trouble earning a nomination, while I’m not so sure about the chances for the church-focused Procession and the two COVID-centric films, The First Wave and In the Same Breath. Experimental documentaries like Ascension and Faya Dayi are possible, but it’s hard to know how they’ll be received. President and Writing with Fire are both strong choices that I hope go far but don’t expect will. Julia doesn’t have much buzz even though it features a popular subject, and, when it comes to portraits of refugees, I think Flee, which is also a top contender in the Best Animated Feature and Best International Feature races, has a much better shot than Simple as Water, though both could theoretically be recognized.

Forecasted winner: It might be “Flee,” but I’ll bet on The Rescue.

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