Free Solo's win may boost its fortunes at Academy Awards
The blockbuster documentary Free Solo has notched another victory heading into the Academy Awards, now less than two weeks away.
The film by E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary on Saturday in a ceremony at London's Royal Albert Hall. The triumph came over one of Free Solo's rivals at the Oscars, RBG, directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen. The other BAFTA contenders included McQueen, directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui; They Shall Not Grow Old, the 3D World War I documentary directed by Peter Jackson, and Three Identical Strangers from director Tim Wardle.
RBG's Cohen and West were gracious towards Free Solo's directors, tweeting their congratulations on the BAFTA win.
On Sunday night the locus of awards giving shifted to Los Angeles, for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards. Quincy, the documentary about the legendary Quincy Jones directed by his daughter Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks, won Best Music Film.
"The whole purpose of us wanting to make the film was really to give people the feeling of hanging out with my dad, like the kind of intimate hang that I personally want you to have. And, obviously, also track his incredible life and career," Rashida Jones told Nonfictionfilm.com.
Hicks added, "We wanted to make the definitive movie about Quincy and have it be in a length that is digestible for one sitting. In the next hundred years from now somebody could make a huge, long series about Quincy's life, like a 10-20 part series. But what we had was Quincy here, right now, to be celebrated and we can spend time with him and get to know him as a man."
Quincy won the Grammy over a field that included Life in 12 Bars, a documentary about Eric Clapton; Whitney, Kevin Macdonald's doc about Whitney Houston; Itzhak, a film about violinist Itzhak Perlman, and The King, director Eugene Jarecki's exploration of the cultural significance and legacy of Elvis Presley.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.