The documentary category for this year’s, 89th Annual Academy Awards presentation on February 26 includes heart-wrenching, difficult and impressive films like “13th,” “I Am Not Your Negro,” and “Life Animated.”
On this week’s “Wine and Film, A perfect Pairing” podcast on reVolver Podcasts we give an overview of each, and discuss some favorites that were left out of the nominations. Gary has thoughts on each film below.
Listen to the show here, and click “Episode 34,” or subscribe via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music or IHeartRadio.
And, we would love for you to join The Cogills on February 22 at Studio Movie Grill/Royal Lane, Dallas location for an evening of wine and film, toasting the 2017 Oscars, benefiting The Dallas Film Society, tickets available here or via studiomoviegrill.com.
The evening will include a select number of incredible live auction items, including the same wines every celebrity will be drinking at this year’s “Oscars,” and All-Access Star Passes for this year’s Dallas International Film Festival, with proceeds benefiting the Dallas Film Society. We hope to see you there!
“O.J.:Made In America”
I watched Ezra Edelman’s remarkable five part series over multiple nights on television and I’m still scratching my head how it ended up an Academy Award nominee in theaters. Who am I to argue since it’s a stunning piece of work that examines in detail race relations in America, sports hero worship, a disturbing double murder, and a monumental trial swirling around the same sad football icon named in the title. This is your likely Oscar winner. It’s complex, complete and compelling.
Ava DuVernay, the director of “Selma,” has something to say and it’s important. She believes our current prison system is a modern day form of slavery and her case is well presented in, “13th,” titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution which outlawed slavery. I’m fascinated by her ability to connect the dots of mass incarceration and there is a righteous anger to her argument. DuVernay made me think, made me look at history, and made me face a problem I might have otherwise avoided. This is a powerful piece of work.
Owen Suskind was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and spent years not talking or communicating until his parents realized the best way to communicate with their son was through Disney animated characters. This bright young mind, his love for Disney animation, and his emergence into adulthood is the subject of this funny, beautiful film. Owen has a lot on his mind and director Roger Ross Williams helps him articulate his feelings into something we can all relate to. The late Robin Williams (voice of Genie in “Aladdin”) would have been proud.
“Fire At Sea”
A mix of lazy island life told through the eyes of a young boy living on Lampedusa in the Mediterranean Sea and the thousands of starving and dying immigrants who arrive on shore fleeing from North Africa. One minute the boy is crafting a homemade slingshot and the next minute a local compassionate doctor is trying to makes sense of the daily human misery. “Fire At Sea” is a slow moving, difficult work by Italian director Gianfranco Rosi with a chilling, heartbreaking ending.
“I Am Not Your Negro”
Literary giant James Baldwin died in 1987 leaving behind 30 pages from his unfinished novel, “Remember This House.” Samuel L. Jackson narrates Baldwin’s last words and the result is a powerful look at the authors take on race in America while reflecting on his personal relationships with Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcom X, all assassinated over a brief period of time. I have always been a fan of James Baldwin and “I Am Not Your Negro,” is one of the best films I have seen all year. Baldwin was a prolific guest on television talk shows in the 1960’s, and his on camera appearances in Raoul Peck’s film are simply stunning. Baldwin never minced words and never backed down, neither does this film.