Aretha Franklin became one of the great American singer/songwriters over the course of her illustrious career. Her passing in August of this year became a large cultural event, shining a light on her amazing career. Love for the singer/songwriter is at an all-time high. Now a fitting tribute seems to be around the corner. The long-delayed documentary “Amazing Grace” will finally make its premiere.
According to Variety, director Alan Elliot and the Franklin Estate have reached an agreement to release his documentary “Amazing Grace” for an Oscar-qualifying run. The footage will draw from Franklin’s 1972 performances at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, shot by legendary director Sydney Pollack. Atlantic Records took the audio of the performance and released a record. Also titled “Amazing Grace,” the record became a huge hit. It went on to become the highest selling Gospel album ever and won Franklin a Grammy.
The concert documentary almost made its way to theaters in 2015. However, Franklin blocked the film’s release over the use of her physical appearance. In the years since Franklin and Elliot worked together to try to find a solution. Franklin noted that she actually enjoyed the film watching a cut of the footage on a DVD. After her passing, Elliot screened the film for her estate. They found the documentary to be a moving portrait of the musician and agreed it was time for its release.
Screenings for Academy Members are already underway. DOC NYC will show the film on Monday, November 12. They want a Best Documentary Feature nomination, and will also push for a Best Picture nomination. Some have urged Elliot to hold the documentary for next year, but after 46 years of waiting, it is no surprise they want to strike while the iron is hot.
What do you think of “Amazing Grace” entering the Oscar race? Can it make enough noise to break into the shortlist or even Best Documentary Feature? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
“Amazing Grace” will screen at DOC NYC on Monday. It will then screen at the Laemmle Monica Film Center and the Film Forum in the coming weeks. The film does not have distribution at the time of writing.
Be sure to check out the Official Oscar Predictions Page to see our documentary rankings among the contenders!