Doc Talk Podcast Debates Early 2024 Frontrunners In Race For Documentary Awards

Doc Talk Podcast Debates Early 2024 Frontrunners In Race For Documentary Awards

As we head into the latter half of 2024, some frontrunners are emerging among documentaries in the race for Oscar recognition.

On the latest edition of Deadline’s Doc Talk podcast, hosts John Ridley and Matt Carey assess the state of play at this (admittedly) early stage in awards season, with the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals yet to unveil potential contenders.

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One of the most intriguing storylines: the reemergence of Netflix, which fields its strongest slate in years, after going without an Oscar nomination in the Best Documentary Feature category for three years. The streamer’s lineup includes DaughtersMountain Queen: The Summits of Lhakpa SherpaPowerSkywalkers and The Remarkable Life of Ibelin.

MTV Documentary Films advances Black Box Diaries from director Shiori Itō, centered on the director’s attempt to get justice after she became the victim of an alleged sexual assault by a prominent Japanese journalist. National Geographic, coming off its Oscar nomination earlier this year for Bobi Wine: The People’s President, will return to contention with Sugarcane, an investigation into the residential school system in Canada where an untold number of Indigenous children were subjected to sexual abuse by clergy. The horrors didn’t end there; some girls impregnated by priests and other men of the cloth allegedly had their babies taken from them and killed in incinerators.

Ridley, an Oscar winner himself for writing 12 Years a Slave, and Carey debate whether celebrity-oriented stories will get their due from Oscar documentary branch voters. Among the hopefuls in that genre are Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story (from Warner Bros Discovery) and another hot title from Netflix, Will & Harper, about a road trip taken by actor Will Ferrell and his longtime friend, Harper Steele, who came out as trans years after they worked together at Saturday Night Live.


In recent years, lacking U.S. theatrical distribution hasn’t necessarily hurt the chances of some documentaries to earn recognition. That could offer hope to A Photographic Memory, from director Rachel Elizabeth Seed, and Porcelain War, directed by Brendan Bellomo and Slava Leontyev, which won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary at Sundance.

What else makes the Doc Talk list of top feature contenders and long shots? We invite you to listen to the fresh episode to find out.

Doc Talk podcast, a 2024 Webby Awards honoree, is a production of Deadline and John Ridley’s Nō Studios. Listen to the episode above or on major podcast platforms including SpotifyiHeart and Apple.

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