“Summer of Soul (…Or, When Revolution Couldn’t Be Televised)” is the first music-centric film to land an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature since “Amy” in 2015. Despite that gap, the quest love-the doc directed will probably win the Oscar, just like “Amy”. The film won dozens of pre-Oscar awards, including the BAFTA, Critics Choice Documentary Award, and Independent Spirit Award, making it a clear favorite to take home the big prize.
The early and mid-2010s were a boon for music documentaries, beginning with “Searching for Sugar Man” (2012), about the singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez. The pattern continued with “20 Feet from Stardom” (2013), about the lives of various backing vocalists like Darlene Love. ‘Amy’ made it a trend two years later with her chronicle of the British singer’s strategic rise and fall Amy Winehouse. That same year, “What Happened, Miss Simone? on the life of nina simone, was also nominated. “Searching for Sugar Man,” “20 Feet from Stardom,” and “Amy” all won Best Documentary Feature Oscars in their respective years. In other words, every time there’s been a music documentary in the running over the past decade, it’s won.
TO SEE Want an Oscar? Be a late night bandleader whose movie has “Soul” in the title
“Summer of Soul” uses archival footage to contextualize its story, centering long-lost footage from the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. some Oscar pundits to consider a possible snub. Trends suggest that the academy’s documentary branch doesn’t like documentaries that use a lot of stock footage, given the omission of popular movies like “Apollo 11,” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and “Jane” in recent years. These films also swept away precursors like “Summer of Soul”, making it the next victim of snobbery. But the film still made it into the final lineup, where it now sits comfortably at the top.
According to the latest Gold Derby odds, “Summer of Soul” won Best Documentary Feature by a healthy margin. The film leads with more than double the number of winner predictions than “Flee,” which lands in a distant second place. The other three nominees, “Ascension,” “Attica,” and “Writing with Fire,” aren’t expected to vie for victory with “Summer of Soul” and “Flee” in the running, though stranger things have happened at Oscars.
TO PREDICT the 2022 Oscar winners before March 27
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