Netflix Wins Another Doc Oscar With Nature Movie ‘My Octopus Teacher’ – Deadline

My octopus teacher wrapped its tentacles around the Oscar for Best Documentary, securing a win for Netflix in that category for the second year in a row and the third time in the past four years.

It also brought a rare victory to an African film of any kind – producer and subject Craig Foster is South African, as is one of the two directors, Pippa Ehrlich; Director James Reed is British.

“We would like to thank Netflix for allowing us to share our story with the world, and then our amazing team Octopus, whose arms have extended across the planet, from South Africa to Amsterdam, to the UK and to the United States, ”said Ehrlich, accepting. the reward.

The film tells the story of filmmaker and naturalist Foster and the cephalopod he befriended while diving off the coast of South Africa daily for a year. He observed the female octopus in its habitat in the Great African Forest, forming an emotional bond with the creature during the majority of its 18 months of life. Foster witnessed how she outwitted prey and predators. Some of the most exciting and dramatic scenes take place as the octopus tries to escape the pajama sharks by trying to make him a meal.

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“In many ways, it’s really a personal little story that took place in a marine forest at the tip of Africa,” Ehrlich noted in his acceptance speech, “but on a more universal level, I hope it gave a glimpse of a different kind of relationship between human beings and the natural world. “

Craig Foster, producer and subject of My octopus teacher

In the film, Foster explains that the Maritime Forest was one of his favorite places to dive as a child, but as an adult he began to feel cut off from nature. It contributed to a personal crisis; he says the octopus bond has helped him reconnect with humans, including his family members.

“The boundaries between her and me seemed to dissolve,” Foster says in his friend’s film Octopus. “She was really teaching me how to become sensitive to others, especially wild creatures.”

At the start of Oscar season, the documentary didn’t seem like a favorite. Nominated documentaries Time and Camp Crip won numerous pre-Oscar awards, but the film came into force deeper into the year, racking up a DGA nomination for Ehrlich and Reed in March, then a late March win at the PGA Awards.

Craig Foster in 'My Octopus Teacher'

Netflix won the award for best documentary last year for American factory, and he won the same award in 2018 for Icarus. My octopus teacher beat another Netflix doc, Camp Crip, in the same way Time (Amazon Studios), Mole agent (Gravitas Ventures), and Collective (Photos of magnolia).

My octopus teacher also marks a rare victory in recent decades for a nature documentary. In the 1950s, nature documentaries dominated the winning list among non-fiction films, but the most recent nature film to win the Oscar for Best Documentary was from 2005. Penguins walk.

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