Oscar 2021: Best Documentaries–Attica, Directed by Stanley Nelson

Attica

STUDIO Showtime

DIRECTOR Stanley Nelson

TOP AWARDS National Board of Review top doc; 3 Critics Choice nominations

The events that took place at Attica between Sept. 9 and Sept. 13, 1971 — events that culminated in a team of armed figures retaking the prison and killing dozens of prisoners and hostages alike — have much of their context returned in Nelson’s feature.

The documentary contains interviews with prisoners, observers and family members of hostages and other figures connected to the prison.

Nelson’s talking heads convey the human stories of a peculiar situation–none of the prisoners mention the crime that led to their incarceration.

They express the atrocious conditions they were living under at Attica, and explain the reforms they were advocating, from improved medical care to fair disciplinary hearings.

They recall the betrayal of the deal the inmates thought they had made and the reasons it fell apart?