Since the beginning of the race for Best Documentary Feature, it looked like The Act of Killing would take the Oscar. However, this category is one that often goes a different way from the consensus. Of course there have been times, like last year when Searching for Sugar Man, that the frontrunner actually wins. This year, however, there are several reasons why I think The Square can and will win the Oscar over frontrunner The Act of Killing.
1. It is a traditional documentary
Unlike The Act of Killing, which has structure that could be seen as experimental, The Square has a more traditional format. It does what a documentary is meant to do, document events. The Act of Killing instead recreates the events, which although innovative, could go over the heads of voters. In prior years, when a documentary branch would vote on the category, an experimental documentary like Man on Wire and Bowling for Columbine would pull of a win, but overall films like Undefeated and Searching for Sugar Man would win.
2. It follows an Urgent topic
The revolution in Egypt is one that is completely current and urgent. It feels close to many around the globe and in this country. The revolution is still fresh in everyone’s minds and is still ongoing. While this doesn’t always lead to success at the Oscars, it does mean that voters could feel the need to award the film.
3. It is both heartbreaking and honest
Unlike many, I feel as if this is a positive in this race. I understand that feel good documentaries like Man on Wire, Undefeated, and March of the Penguins have won, but so have documentaries like The Fog of War, An Inconvenient Truth, and Taxi to the Dark Side, which cover topics that are uncomfortable and brutally depicted.
4. The other nominees all have flaws
Often we discuss why a film will win, but we also have see why the other nominees won’t win. As I said before The Act of Killing is too experimental in its form, 20 Feet from Stardom is too light of a subject, Dirty Wars is too controversial and seemingly biased, and Cutie and the Boxer doesn’t seem to have the support necessary.
5. There are too many definite frontrunners this year
This is a category where the frontrunner often falls. This year, the Oscars seem to be coming to a consensus on most categories, but they obviously rarely, if ever, go as planned.
Check out my oscar predictions here!