MY OCTOPUS TEACHER
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
While swimming in the waters of the Great African Sea Forest, filmmaker and conservationist Craig Foster meets an unlikely teacher: a young octopus. After visiting her den every day for months, he eventually wins the animal’s trust, and as she shares the secrets of her world, Foster undergoes a transformation.
Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster
Being shown the intelligence of an animal can be awe-inspiring. You find yourself caring for a creature you never had any feelings toward before. In “My Octopus Teacher,” we are introduced to an octopus in False Bay, near Cape Town, South Africa. Filmmaker Craig Foster is “free-diving in a cold underwater kelp forest” when he comes across an odd sight: a ball of shells at the bottom of the sea. Suddenly, it unravels and reveals to be a common octopus. The documentary follows Foster for a year, around the average lifespan of an octopus, as he forms a relationship with it. He learns intricate details about the octopus’ everyday life and discovers just how intelligent of a creature they are. In observing the mollusc, he understands the value of his own life and looks at the bigger picture of his relationships.
Right off the bat, the cinematography of “My Octopus Teacher” puts it into a class of its own. None of the other nominees even come close. Also, the values taught in the documentary are significant and potentially life-changing. What the film lacks is timeliness. “Collective” and “Time” are both about current issues facing our society. While “My Octopus Teacher” brushes problems we may have and begs the question of why we would want to eat or hurt the population of such intelligent creatures, that’s a lesson for any day. It is more approachable than the other contenders, which could work to its benefit. Don’t count it out, but I probably wouldn’t be the most comfortable counting on it to win either.
|— 1st time Nominees —|
September 7, 2020
93RD ACADEMY AWARDS | OSCARS CHALLENGE
MARCH 25, 2021