Opening in limited fashion this weekend is one of the year’s more hotly anticipated documentaries – Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Focused on the life of Mister Rogers, whose public access children’s program spanned decades and inspired generations of youngsters, it premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival to wide acclaim. Its Rotten Tomatoes score sits at 97% currently.
The Oscar pedigree for it is evident as its director Morgan Neville won Best Documentary Feature in 2014 for 20 Feet From Stardom. Neighbor, like the recent RBG, is the rare doc that has legitimate box office breakout potential due its familiar subject matter. That said, the documentary branch of the Academy is an unpredictable lot. Last year’s Jane, for instance, covered a much appreciated figure, was looked at as a front-runner in some circles, and ended up without a nomination.
Yet don’t surprised to find this on the short list of inclusions come next year. Interestingly, the story of Rogers could find itself in the Oscar mix for two years in a row. 2019 brings You Are My Friend, a biopic starring Tom Hanks as the sweater clad host.
My Oscar Watch posts will continue…