Welcome to For Your Consideration, the Collider show that breaks down awards season with hosts Scott Mantz, Perri Nemiroff and Jeff Sneider, who offer their Best Documentary Feature predictions. It has been a great year for documentaries, and it seems like the docs dominating the box office are also the ones out in front in terms of awards consideration. The category is shaping up to be a heated battle this year, so let’s dive right in.
Right now, it seems like the race is primarily between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Mister Rogers. The Academy loves its liberal heroes, so who better than a fiery female Supreme Court Justice and a man who embodied acceptance and kindness to represent the voting body, right? RBG and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? also happen to be among the year’s most acclaimed films, and Jeff can imagine people feeling good about themselves if and when they vote for either of those films? Neighbor director Morgan Neville actually joins the gang throughout this entire episode to weigh in on his fellow contenders. Meanwhile, RBG filmmakers Betsy West and Julie Cohen have been the toast of their peers this year, so they could prove very tough to beat — even for an Academy favorite like Neville.
Coming in close behind are Three Identical Strangers and Free Solo, both of which concern incredible true stories. Three Identical Strangers has wowed audiences with its jaw-dropping twists and turns ever since it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Tim Wardle does a great job with the structure of the film, unpeeling the story layer by layer to find the emotional core at its center. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin‘s Free Solo follows extreme athlete/insane person Alex Honnold as completes the first free solo climb of El Capitan’s 3,000-foot vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park. It’s a remarkable documentary featuring some breathtaking footage, but will Honnold’s perseverance be enough to compete with Ginsburg and Rogers? We’ll see…
As for that fifth slot, Jeff and Scott give the edge to Michael Moore‘s Fahrenheit 11/9, if only because of Moore’s high profile and the clear interest in the anti-Trump subject matter. But the guys admit that they may be blinded by Moore’s star power and his history at the Oscars. Perri thinks that Sandi Tan‘s filmmaking odyssey Shirkers stands a much better chance at securing a nomination, and she warns the guys not to write off Hulu’s Minding the Gap, either. Bing Liu‘s film follows three young men whose decade-long friendship is threatened by unexpected revelations as they attempt to escape volatile families in their Rust Belt hometown. The Academy’s documentary branch can be eclectic to say the least, so it’s possible that both Shirkers and Minding the Gap could surprise, knocking out one of the four presumed frontrunners.
In the end, Scott, Perri and Jeff come to a compromise regarding their predictions, so tune in to see where they settled. To keep up with all things For Your Consideration, follow the gang on Twitter and Instagram at @MovieMantz, @PNemiroff and @TheInSneider. Stay tuned next week for more awards talk, and we’ll FYC-ya later!