Leading up to the 90th Academy Awards on March 4th, we’re diving into as many of the nominated films as possible to look at their chances for taking home the Oscar. Today we’re looking at Strong Island, which is nominated for Best Documentary Feature.
Strong Island centers on the murder of William Ford, the brother of the film’s director Yance Ford. William, a teacher in New York City, was killed by a white mechanic in 1992. An all-white jury decided not to indict his killer after he claimed self-defense. The film covers all the details of the case and the fall-out for the Ford family. The death of William and unfair trial tore the family apart for years.
A phenomenal documentary, Strong Island is informative and important to today’s social unrest. Those elements are the most important when looking at this category. The Academy still has a bad habit of awarding the Oscar to the “sexy” choice, a documentary with the highest recognition and a big star attached.
But this year there isn’t a star attached to any of the documentaries nominated. Which means the films are fighting purely based on material and word of mouth. The one aspect that may help bump Strong Island is it’s director Yance Ford.
Yance is the first openly transgender man nominated for an Academy Award. He’s also the first openly transgender director nominated for an Oscar. If he wins it could be a huge step for the Academy. Which makes me think Strong Island may have the edge here. This is the type of thing that the Academy likes to push. This will usher in a widening of the diversity amongst winners. Especially in the past few years, the Academy has been trying to be more inclusive. As of now that gives Ford and Strong Island the edge.
Strong Island is currently available on Netflix. Be sure to keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler for all of our Oscar coverage. The Oscars air on ABC on March 4th at 8pm ET.