Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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The Joyful Nominations. Which were yours?

by Nathaniel R

img srcIt's part two of our Team Experience Oscar Nomination response... and then we can move on to both Oscar chart fun and back to cinema proper. The latter some of you will surely be itching for if you're not all-the-way obsessed with Oscar minutiae.

This morning we shed final tears for the snubs and now, the nominations that brought us the most joy in the acting categories and elsewhere.


CHRIS FEIL: Agnès Varda is finally a competitive Oscar nominee, which is doubly rewarding considering Faces Places will likely be her final film. (We love you too, JR.) With Jane out of the way she may even be the frontrunner, giving her Honorary Oscar a friend on its shelf - a lovely thought considering Faces Places is partly an ode to partnership.

GLENN DUNKS: Rachel Morrison becoming the first nominated woman in Achievement in Cinematography is pretty great and a major win for Netflix considering most people would have seen it on their smaller screens...

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FYC: Five Best Documentary Tech Achievements of 2017

A special edition of the Doc Corner column by Glenn Dunks this week...

Documentaries are unsurprisingly scantly recognised outside of their own category. Steve James’ Hoop Dreams scored a still one-of-a-kind nomination for Best Editing in 1994, and the Best Original Song category has become a place for aging rock stars (and J. Ralph!) to get recognition for their work in documentaries. Yet outside of these rare occurrences, documentaries are almost never considered to be in genuine contention.

Considering the volume of documentaries being produced (170 eligible titles in 2017 alone!), it shouldn’t be unreasonably to expect that many are pushing the documentary medium to places that would have been unfathomable two decades prior. Those changes can be through form thanks to technological advancements giving filmmakers an ability to make docs as technically proficient as anything else no matter the budget. Or they can come through structure and narrative, allowing contemporary audiences that are hip to new ways of telling stories to experience something through the wonders of streaming that would have once struggled in experimental arthouses of downtown Manhattan.

So in lieu of a personal Oscar doc ballot (mine would include only one from the 15-wide shortlist), here are five For Your Considerations for achievements outside of the Documentary Feature category itself...

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DOC NYC Announce Their 15 Oscar Potentials

by Glenn Dunks

Every year the mammoth New York based documentary film festival DOC NYC announces a program of films titled the “Short List”. These are films they describe as "[feeling] like worthy contenders for the Oscar short list based on festival accolades, reviews, box office”, culled from a longer list by means of “evaluating what titles appear to have momentum.”

The DOC NYC festival casts a very wide net for their selections with an annual line-up including films that have already screened in theatrical release or on television. Because of this, they’re able to claim to have played the last six winners of the Best Documentary Oscar. And in the four years since they began the Short List, the only Oscar nominee to not feature in the Short List program is Virunga. It’s an impressive statistic if not a somewhat deflating one knowing that this year’s nominees are likely somewhere to be found in this list of 15. But that's the Oscar prognastication game for you and we all love to play along so it's worth mentioning.

THE FINAL YEAR (Greg Barker)

There’s still about two months until the Academy release their own shortlist of 15 from the estimated 130 titles that will be submitted. But for now, let’s take a look at what DOC NYC are hedging their bets on...

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New Directors / New Films: Strong Island

New Directors / New Films which runs March 15th through the 26th is a festival of emerging international filmmakers here in NYC each year. We'll be covering a few titles including this unravelling of a Long Island murder in Glenn's weekly documentary spotlight.

Strong Island

“There’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place. And that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time: what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say exhume those bodies – exhume those stories.”

I thought of these words from Viola Davis’ Academy Awards speech last week while writing about the ABC queer rights miniseries When We Rise; thinking of all the men and women lost over the years to AIDS and what they could have done and who they could have been. I did not expect to be thinking of them yet again so quickly, but here we are. I thought of Viola’s words while watching Strong Island because exhume is exactly what first-time filmmaker Yance Ford has done with this film about the death of his older, 19-year-old brother, William, at the hands of a white man who the courts sort little interest in seeking justice for.

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