Monday, February 27, 2023

'Navalny,' 'All the Beauty and the Bloodshed,' and 'A House Made of Splinters' — three political and social issue documentaries nominated at the Oscars

I ended 'Fire of Love' and 'All That Breathes' — two Oscar-nominated documentaries I'm recommending to my students with a preview of coming attractions.
The other three Documentary Feature nominees at the Academy Awards are political and social issue documentaries and I plan on getting to them in a future installment. That's when I'll finish my handicapping of the nominees and maybe even make a prediction. Stay tuned.
In reverse alphabetical order, the three nominees are "Navalny," "All the Beauty and the Bloodshed," and "A House Made of Splinters." This also happens to be order of their likelihood of winning, so I begin with CNN telling its viewers to Watch the trailer for award-winning film ‘Navalny”.

The fly-on-the-wall documentary follows Russian opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, through his political rise, attempted assassination and search to uncover the truth.
This is longest and most complete trailer I found on YouTube. That it's by CNN and promoting an HBO Documentary is not an accident. To paraphrase what I wrote in CNN defends Big Bird after Ted Cruz calls one of the character's tweets 'Propaganda,' a pandemic update, CNN is promoting one of the parent company's productions. Doing so is in its interest, which, in this case, helps the public interest by supporting democracy (and opposing Putin). Still, my readers should keep that relationship in mind when watching the clip above. It's not just news value that's driving it.

Gold Derby interviewed Daniel Roher ('Navalny' director): 'The way that this film came together was such a fever dream' after the movie won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary.

Daniel Roher ('Navalny' director): 'The way that this film came together was such a fever dream.' The Russian opposition leader Alexei recovered from an assassination attempt and was arrested upon returning to Moscow. Gold Derby's Tony Ruiz hosts this webchat.
In addition to the BAFTA, "Navalny" just won the PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures and won Best Political Documentary and the Bronze Medal at the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards beating the next nominee, "All the Beauty and the Bloodshed." Watch ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED - Official Trailer from Neon.

Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is an epic, emotional and interconnected story about internationally renowned artist and activist Nan Goldin told through her slideshows, intimate interviews, ground-breaking photography, and rare footage of her personal fight to hold the Sackler family accountable for the overdose crisis.
I wrote the following footnote to the previous entry about the Documentary Feature nominees about this film.
Oscar nominee "All the Beauty and the Bloodshed" is about the Sackler family, who are at the center of the opioid crisis, and might just be worth mentioning to my Human Structure and Function class. That way, all my students this semester will have recommended films to watch for extra credit.
I did recommend this to my Human Structure and Function class, although this is more about the activism than the effects of opioids on the human body. In that regard, it's like the last documentary I recommended to the students in that course, "Icarus," which made a political point at Putin's expense. That last phrase is one of the reasons I expect it will lose to "Navalny," which also makes a political point at Putin's expense. The other is that Laura Poitras has already won an Academy Award for "Citizenfour," which also won an Emmy. I'm surprised was even nominated, as I wrote in 'Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution' at the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards, "The Documentary Branch normally does not [nominate] films by previous winners." They like to spread the recognition around.

Anti-Putin and pro-Ukraine sentiment also helped "A House Made of Splinters." Watch its official trailer.

A sobering window into the little lives and high hopes of three children seeking refuge at a temporary shelter in eastern Ukraine.
That's a moving story, but "Navalny" makes a more direct point against Putin. "Navalny" is also more recognized, so I think it's favored.

To determine how favored, I'm turning to Gold Derby, where nine experts, including my two favorites Joyce Eng and Christopher Rosen, have it winning. Eight experts currently have "Fire of Love," six have picked "All the Beauty and the Bloodshed," and one lone expert thinks the Oscar will go to "All That Breathes." Looks like it will be close among the top three choices.

Stay tuned for more awards show coverage.

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