Oscar Watch: 13th

The New York Film Festival has begun and that means a fresh round of Oscar Watch posts will be coming your way over the next couple of weeks. For the first time in the fest’s history, a documentary kicked off the proceedings and it’s a very high-profile one.

Ana DuVernay’s 13th (named after the 13th amendment) explores issues of race relations in America over history. This is the director’s first effort since Selma. Early critical reaction from its screening indicate this is a powerful and emotional experience. And most viewers won’t have to wait long at all to view it as it premieres on Netflix a week from today (Friday, October 7).

Since the announcement of the project, 13th has been seen as a front-runner for Best Documentary at the Oscars. The buzz emanating from the Big Apple confirms that status. A more unknown question is whether this documentary expands outside of that category and becomes a player in Best Picture. To do so, it’ll need to make history as no doc has ever received a nod in the biggest race of all.

So for those making their list for probable Best Pic nominees, it’s best to leave 13th out at the time being. Yet it proved yesterday that it’s the one to beat in the Documentary Feature category.

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