Oscar Watch – Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

The Tribeca Film Festival, cofounded by Robert De Niro and celebrating its 20th year, kicked off this weekend with the premiere of one of 2021’s highest profile documentaries. Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain recounts the life and tragic 2018 death of its chef, author, TV host, and renowned traveler title subject. The film comes from Morgan Neville and he’s had a hit or miss relationship with Oscar voters.

Neville’s 20 Feet from Stardom from 2013, which told the tale of background singers working for musical legends, won Best Documentary Feature at the big show. His two follow-ups were both acclaimed and each missed the final five nominated selections from the Academy. 2015’s Best of Enemies, focused on the relationship between political commentators William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal, was shortlisted for the category but didn’t hear its name called on nomination morning. In 2018, one of the biggest snubs was Won’t You Be My Neighbor? not garnering attention.The director’s bio about the legendary Mister Rogers was a box office smash as far as docs are concerned. It was considered a shoo-in for a nod with a chance to win. Yet that never materialized.

Early reviews for Roadrunner indicate that Neville has fashioned another engrossing look at a familiar television presence. However, trying to guess what the Academy’s branch of documentary voters will do is consistently a tricky proposition. Expect this pic to be on the radar screen for inclusion, but whether it makes the cut is uncertain. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

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