'Flee' Ties the Record for Most Oscar Nominations for a Documentary!

Jonas Poher Rasmussen's animated Danish film has a chance to become the winningest documentary ever.


Out of the many documentaries shortlisted for the 94th Academy Awards, only 10 were named as Oscar nominees this morning. But one of those titles, Jonas Poher Rasmussen‘s Flee, managed a spot in three separate categories!

This is the first time ever that a documentary has been nominated for Best Animated Feature. And so it’s the first time a documentary has been nominated in that category, Best International Feature, and Best Documentary Feature! It’s also the third year in a row and only third time ever that a documentary is recognized in the latter two categories.

Speaking of notable achievements, this is only the second time in history that a documentary has received three nominations at the Oscars. Woodstock was the first, in 1971, picking up nods for Best Documentary Feature, Best Sound, and Best Editing, winning the first of those. If Flee can win all three, it will be the winningest documentary in history.

In other trivia, Questlove‘s Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) managed to break the “curse” of the Critics Choice Documentary Awards. The winner of the Critics Choice for Best Documentary Feature the first five years of the CCDAs managed a snub from the Oscars. But Summer of Soul won there and could now win here.

Three of the other CCDA nominees for Best Documentary Feature are also now nominated here (Ascension, Attica, and Flee), while Writing with Fire is a fresh name among this year’s picks as it wasn’t recognized at the CCDAs or even in the main categories of the Cinema Eye Honors (it’s up for the audience award at the latter).

All of the filmmakers nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars are first-time contenders, even veteran director Stanley Nelson. And Ascension, Summer of Soul, and Writing with Fire are the first features from their directors — Jessica Kingon, Amir “Questlove” Thompson, and Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas, respectively. Nelson’s collaborator on Attica, Traci Curry, also made her feature directorial debut with the doc.

Said Kingdon in a press release statement:

“It’s been an unreal journey for our team and me to witness Ascension ending up where it is today. This honor is incredible and I’m so grateful to all the people without whom I couldn’t have done it. I hope this nomination will encourage the industry to reward more creative risk-taking, especially by women of color. Thank you MTV Documentary Films, the Academy, and all of Ascension’s supporters for believing in our film!”

And here’s a joint statement from Ghosh and Thomas:

“To have our debut feature documentary nominated by the Academy is such an honor, but it is truly the work of these brave journalists that deserves this spotlight. These incredible women persevere with their courage, resilience, and wit every day while reporting from some of the most challenging environments, in pursuit of truth, justice, and real change. With this recognition from the Academy and with our Independent Lens debut on PBS in March, we hope to not only honor these brave journalists but also bring to the world a story of inimitable hope and resilience.”

Here’s Nelson’s response, via Twitter:

“Thank you to the Academy and congratulations to my fellow nominees for Best Documentary Feature! I am very thankful to the wonderful team at Showtime for believing in the power of this story. It’s an immense honor to be nominated along with my fantastic collaborator, Traci Curry.”

And, uh, here’s Questlove’s initial reaction on Twitter:

The Queen of Basketball, which won the Critics Choice Documentary Award for Best Short Documentary is also now an Oscar nominee. This is the first time a CCDA short winner has gone on to an Oscar nomination. Previous CCDA winners had previously been Oscar-nominated beforehand. Audible is the only other overlapping short contender.

Here are the 2022 Oscar nominations for documentary features and shorts:

Best Documentary Feature
Summer of Soul
Writing with Fire

Best Documentary Short Subject
Lead Me Home
The Queen of Basketball
Three Songs for Benazir
When We Were Bullies

Best International Feature Film

Best Animated Feature Film

Find out which documentaries among the nominations win Oscars when the 94th Academy Awards are held on Sunday, March 27, 2022.

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.