Sunday, November 10, 2019

'One Child Nation,' 'American Factory,' 'The Kingmaker,' and 'Knock Down The House' lead Best Polical Documentary nominees at the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards

I told my readers to "stay tuned" at the end of For World Freedom Day, Vox and DW News look back at the fall of the Berlin Wall as "I plan on following up on my promise to cover this year's edition of the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards that I made in 'I Am Not Your Negro' wins Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards."  Here are the nominations for films about politics and government, beginning with relevant excerpts from the press release from the Critics' Choice Association.
The Biggest Little Farm leads this year with seven nominations, including Best Documentary Feature, John Chester for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Narration, and Best Science/Nature Documentary.
While this is not explicitly a movie about politics and government, it is one that I have a professional interest in.  Unlike "The End of Suburbia," which I've already replaced with "Treasures of the Earth: Power," and "An Inconvenient Truth," which I've already decided to replace with "Chasing Coral" when it comes out on DVD, "Food, Inc." is still holding up well despite being a decade old.  That written, it, too, will become obsolete one day, so I plan on watching "The Biggest Little Farm" as a possible replacement.  Welcome to blogging as professional development.

Now for the movies that really are about politics and government.
Recognized with six nominations each are Apollo 11 and They Shall Not Grow Old.

The nominations for Apollo 11 are Best Documentary Feature, Todd Douglas Miller for Best Director, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Archival Documentary, and Best Science/Nature Documentary,

The nominations for They Shall Not Grow Old are Best Documentary Feature, Peter Jackson for Best Director, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Archival Documentary, and Most Innovative Documentary.
While the Critics' Choice Association did not consider either "Apollo 11" or "They Shall Not Grow Old" as political documentaries, both are about functions of government, space exploration and the military.  In addition, they are competing directly against each other in five categories, making it a match-up between the third highest grossing political documentary of 2018 and the highest grossing documentary of 2019 (so far).  Of course, I'm rooting for "Apollo 11," especially in the Best Science/Nature Documentary category, although I think it faces stiff competition, especially from "The Biggest Little Farm."  I'm hoping both "Apollo 11" and "The Biggest Little Farm" earn Oscar nominations.  "They Shall Not Grow Old" is not eligible, as it missed the filing deadline for last year's awards and is a 2018 film.

Now for the films the Critics' Choice Association actually considered political.
One Child Nation received five nominations including Best Documentary Feature, Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang for Best Director, Best Editing, Best Narration, and Best Political Documentary.
Since I've written about China's now-abandoned One Child Policy, which I revisted for World Population Day, I'm very interested in this documentary.  So are my students, at least one of whom has reported on it for extra credit.  Based on the number of nominations, it's the nominal favorite for Best Political Documentary, although it faces strong competition from "American Factory," which the next passage lists.
Recognized with four nominations each are The Cave, Honeyland, American Factory, Aquarela, and Sea of Shadows.

The nominations for The Cave are Best Documentary Feature, Feras Fayyad for Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Score. In addition, the film received an honor for Dr. Amani Ballor for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary.

The nominations for Honeyland are Best Documentary, Best Cinematography, Best First Documentary Feature, and Best Science/Nature Documentary. In addition, the film received an honor for Hatidze Muratova for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary.

The nominations for American Factory are Best Documentary Feature, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert for Best Director, Best Editing, and Best Political Documentary.

The nominations for Aquarela are Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Science/Nature Documentary, and Most Innovative Documentary.

The nominations for Sea of Shadows are Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Score, and Best Science/Nature Documentary.
Wikipedia describes "American Factory."
"American a 2019 American documentary film directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, about Chinese company Fuyao’s factory in Moraine, a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, that occupies Moraine Assembly, a shuttered General Motors plant.
David Edelstein of New York Magazine wrote: "It’s a great, expansive, deeply humanist work, angry but empathetic to its core. It gestures toward the end of the working world we know – and to the rise of the machines." Eric Kohn at IndieWire wrote that it's "A fascinating tragicomedy about the incompatibility of American and Chinese industries."
So it's not just a film about China, but about how the U.S.-China relationship plays out for the American worker.  The CoDominion strikes again!

Now for the all the nominees for Best Political Documentary, followed by the rest of their nominations and my opinion of their chances.

American Factory (Netflix)

The Edge of Democracy (Netflix)

Hail Satan? (Magnolia)

The Kingmaker (Showtime)

Knock Down the House (Netflix)

One Child Nation (Amazon Studios)
Since I've already written about American Factory and One Child Nation, which I think are the favorites, I'll move on to the rest of the nominees.  The two that have the most nominations after the two leaders are also the two others with nominations for Best Documentary Feature, "The Kingmaker" about Imelda Marcos and "Knock Down the House" about AOC and three other women running for Congress in 2018.  Both have already earned honors for Most Compelling Living Subjects of a Documentary, Madame Marcos for "The Kingmaker" and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin for "Knock Down The House."  In addition to their nominations for Best Political Documentary both have nominations for Best Documentary Feature, while "The Kingmaker" earned a nomination for Best Biographical Documentary.

I'm glad to see my prediction for "Knock Down the House that "I'll see this movie nominated for a Best Political the 2018 Critics' Choice" came true.  While I don't think it will win, it's the one I'm rooting for.

As for the other nominees in this category, "The Edge of Democracy" also has two nominations, the other being for Best Narration.  Finally, "Hail Satan?" has only the one nomination in this category.  Congratulations to all the nominees and honorees in this category, even Madame Marcos.  Maybe you and Sarah Palin can compare notes on shoes.

That's it for the nominees for today's Sunday entertainment feature.  I plan on posting about the winners, which will be announced later today, either Saturday or Sunday, depending on whether I find anything useful to say about the winners of the People's Choice Awards.  In the meantime, stay tuned for this year's edition of a drum corps Veterans Day.

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