Flee made Oscar history this morning. The doc directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen scored three Oscar nominations, including Best Documentary Feature. Flee was also nominated in the categories for Best Animated Feature and Best International Feature as Denmark’s submission. No film has ever landed in all three categories, although Collective and Honeyland scored double nominations in the doc and international categories the last two years. Previously, Waltz with Bashir was in contention as an acclaimed animated doc, but missed nominations for both documentary and animated feature and landed a nomination only in the international category. Flee uses animation to tell the story of Amin, a gay Afghan refugee, while capturing the emotional authenticity of his journey and protecting his anonymity through animation. Both POV editor Marc Glassman and publisher Pat Mullen picked Flee as the year’s best documentary.
In the documentary race, Flee is joined by frontrunner Summer of Soul, directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. The archival doc about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival dominated the precursor races. Also nominated is veteran Stanley Nelson with his first Oscar citation for Attica, as well as Jessica Kingdon in her feature debut for Ascension, and Sushmit Gosh and Rintu Thomas’s dark horse Writing with Fire. Notable omissions include The Rescue by Jimmy Chin and E. Chai Vasarhelyi, which was widely expected to be nominated, but continued the doc branch’s trend of overlooking previous winners, while Robert Greene’s Procession was a favourite for many with its hybrid approach to healing.
In the short doc race, Canadian Ben Proudfoot scored a consecutive nomination with The Queen of Basketball after being nominated last year for A Concerto Is a Conversation. Docs were again shut out of the top category by the Academy and did not land nominations elsewhere in the arts and crafts categories. Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog led the overall list of nominees and scored citations in every category in which it was a contender.
The Oscar nominees for documentary are:
Ascension – Jessica Kingdon, Kira Simon-Kennedy and Nathan Truesdell
Attica – Stanley Nelson and Traci A. Curry
Flee – Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen and Charlotte De La Gournerie
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) – Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein
Writing with Fire – Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh
DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Audible – Matt Ogens and Geoff McLean
Lead Me Home – Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk
The Queen of Basketball – Ben Proudfoot
Three Songs for Benazir – Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei
When We Were Bullies – Jay Rosenblatt